Friday, September 24, 2010

Stop Building Hindu Temples

I read recently that Selangor State Government is planning to rebuilt the controversial Kampung Jawa Hindu Temple which was demolished in 2007. It must be acknowledged that the demolition has lead to the Hindraf demonstration and is also one of the main emotional reason why Indian Malaysians chose to vote for Pakatan Rakyat in the 2008 General Elections.

Recent sentiments suggest that Indians have been slowly returning their support to Najib, rather than MIC and the fact that Pakatan Rakyat have not done much for the Indians has prompted some Indian leaders to take some race centric actions to shore up the support for Pakatan Rakyat as well as promote themselves as champions of the Malaysian Indians.

One of the easiest way to fool Malaysian Indians and get their support is to do any good for their Hindu Temples. Even if you are a well known crook or gangster, temple committees will welcome you with open arms as long as you donate to new temple building or maintaining temples.

Selangor Executive Councillor, Xavier Jayakumar knows this well and has taken full advantage. The generous Selangor state government reportedly allocated RM 4million grants to be distributed specifically to Hindu Temples in Selangor.

With cash in hand, there is no other easier way to shore up support and also promote oneself. Xavier, armed with a cheque book has been to every nook and corner of the state, visiting every other temple he could find and donate specific amount depending on the size of population and temple in a specific area. He has reportedly even provided grants to illegal temples in certain locations just to please the Indians.

Wherever he goes, he never fails to invite all 3 major Tamil newspapers with him. His face can be seen in all major Tamil dailies on a daily basis (this is no exaggeration). His face is even more popular and recognizable as compared to other BN or Pakatan leaders.

There are questions though over his conduct. If he is sincere enough in assisting the temples, he could have just allocated the RM 4million accordingly and distribute it at one go in his office or perhaps a function attended by MB Khalid and other Exco members. Why the need to go to every other temples and ensure that the whole press entourage is there with him if not for the reason of regular publicity.

Coming back to the proposed rebuilding of Kampung Jawa temple, there are many questions to be answered before the state government embark on building yet another Hindu temple in Selangor.

Personally, I do not agree with using tax payers money ( I am a rate payer in Selangor) to provide grants to temples for building of new temples or even for the purpose of maintenance.

As we all are well aware, the number of Hindu Temples in Malaysia far outnumber the mosques and churches or Chinese temples, though the population percentage of Hindus are less than 1.5 million.

It must be noted that unlike other religions, it is not a must for Hindus to go temples to pray. It is more of a objective of community bonding, therefore there is no need for temples to be built everywhere.

In Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, the number of temples is far more than sufficient and majority are hardly patronized unless there are some so-called religious events or festivals. You don’t have to go far, just drive along Jalan Ipoh where there are at least 5 temples or go to Batu Caves where there are at least 15 other temples of various sizes apart from the humungous Batu Caves temple.

Questions For The State Government

The first question a responsible government should ask is, aren’t there far too many temples in the state.

Why there are new temples continue to be built or rebuilt when there are sufficient temples readily available to the so-called pious Indians to pray.

Why should government allow new temples to be built if the temple committee have no funds or rather no clues on how the finance the building.

Why taxpayers money is being spent annually to upkeep the temples? Why built the temples in the first place if the temple committee or local residents has no clue on how to finance the upkeep of the temple.

Why aren’t the so-called devotees of the temples contributing to the upkeep of the temples. This is the usual case everywhere where, Indians want temples within the vicinity but refuses to even contribute RM 10 every month.

Don’t we know that contributing funds to temples will only result in temple committee and local residents becoming complacent and end up begging the government every year?

Why is there a need to rebuilt Kampung Jawa temple. Has the residents in the vicinity been deprived of opportunity to fulfill their religious obligations due to unavailability of temples?? Obviously the answer is no.

Is Xavier Jayakumar trying to stir up Indian or rather Hindu emotions and be their ultimate champion by rebuilding the kampong Jawa temple?

Has Selangor state government reviewed the existence of both legal and illegal temples in the state?

Has the state government acted against illegal temples in the state and taken some action to remove those temples?

Or are the State government and Jayakumar waiting for landowner of the illegal temples to raise eviction notices before they jump in to defend the temples, find altenative site and eventually turn themselves into the heroes of the Hindu community is the affected areas?

Where would the grants for the temples end up? It would be usually used completely for the temple annual celebrations, with no other benefits for the community. In another words, it will end as a sheer waste of money finished for a one day event. If they can conduct the annual celebrations without state government’s assistance before, why would they need it now?

Despite calls to utilize temples as community centres with activities for youth and children, very few temples do so. If this is the case, why should tax payers money is spent for the benefit of few temple committee members to spend and finish the funds for the annual celebrations?

Use the funds for Long Term Productive Purposes

The state government could well focus on uplifting the economic condition of the Indian community.

The RM 4 million could be well spent on assisting the community by providing loans for small businesses, single mothers and more importantly on youth whether in the form of scholarship or even technical training for secondary school drop outs.

Imagine how many students or youth could benefit from the RM 4 million annually? Imagine how many families could benefit in the long term if one of their family members are accorded scholarship or more importantly technical training.

Why can’t the state government and a learned Exco think wisely and act prudently with tax payers funds and use it for productive purposes which would provide long terms positive returns to the community.

Pakatan Rakyat and it’s Indian representatives continue to play the same BN tune and use the same strategies, which is to fool the community by playing religious sentiments without any long term benefits to the upliftment of the community.

Hindus and Indians needs leaders to inspire them to do the right thing, which is to focus on improving their educations levels of their children , attain necessary skills suitable at current times and viable businesses.

Indian leaders should scold, cajole and inspire Indians to invest in education and not on temples and unnecessary religious and non-religious events and celebrations that does not bring about any benefits to the Hindus.

It is a well known fact that Indians spends thousands on weddings, cultural events and celebrations but don’t even subscribe to any newspaper or books at home.

Has the hundred of years of building temples and worshipping them resulted in Hindus living above poverty line with reasonable living standards and known to be a respectable community?

The answer is obviously no? Hindraf blames BN, Pakatan also blames BN for the poverty and marginalisation of Indians. Why not blame the Hindu gods for not bringing about any improvement to the socio-economic well being of the community despite building thousands of temples and worshipping them for more than hundred years??

My anwer is simple, God do not help anyone who does not help themselves. Therefore Mr Jayakumar, do Selangor need more temples?

Monday, September 13, 2010

One School For All - Remains A Distant Dream

With all the recent talk about, race, racist remarks, race based policies, racist politicians racist teachers, perkasa etc, one thing is quite clear, this debate will never end and only likely to tone down for a while until some groups or cetain individuals feel that they are losing popularity and want to be in the limelight again.

Not much is going to change, not in my lifetime, I guess. The only option or hope that we have to minimise this unnecessary friction between communities lies with our children. The current Malaysian adults, who mainly grew up and went to school mainly with their own kind are unlikely to change. They are so used to their own race, they don’t care and they do not have the time to understand other races, their cultures, habits, needs and wants. By the time they are released to mingle with other races, either in the universities or workplace, their minds is already tuned to look at things from their own racial perspective.

The only hope of bridging all the races closer is to start with the young and get them to go to the same school. Close all vernacular schools; there is no other way or no other options. 1Malaysia will remain sounding hollow if nothing is done to get all Malaysian children together which also means, integrating or merging Tamil, Chinese and National schools.

Whenever this suggestion of ‘One School For All’ is brought up, there are always opposition by various groups claiming that it is against the constitution to question the existence of vernacular schools. The Constitution is not caste in stone and there should not be any attempt to stop discussion on certain articles of the constitution that may be outdated and unsuitable for the future of this country and education in certainly one of them.

Recent debate between Nurul Izzah Anwar and Perkasa’ Ibrahim Ali ended with the latter highlighting that provisions of special privileges are not debatable. The same happened when MCA said that it is against the constitution to question the existence of Chinese or Tamil Schools.

Recent incidents also revealed that after 53 years, Many Malaysians are not fluent in the national language. I also noticed that many champions of Ketuanan Rakyat, Malaysian Malaysia and 1Malaysia are not fluent in the national language which beg a question, are they taught properly in the Tamil and Chinese schools? I notice the same with some of our sportsman who struggles to deliver a sentence when interviewed.

Apart from language fluency, we have politicians, political analyst, academics criticizing various forms of racism in schools and government departments including recent incidents involving teachers in the national school. But no one (except for few like Mukhriz Mahathir) appears to be brave enough to suggest that children of all races should go to the same school.

Intergration of all schools will certainly result in proportionate number of non-malay educationist and administrators in the single school stream. This itself would be a balancing factor and minimise occurrences of racism in schools. Apart from this, best practice of all these schools can be shared and chances are, quality of the merged schools will be better than before. Government can then finance all schools equitably.

The other issue is of course the language medium.

To defend their schools, vernacular school champion’s claims children are better taught in their own mother tongue. To support their theory, they came up with various studies which is skewed to favor the existence of vernacular schools. Chinese and Tamil schools champions claims that they would lose their identity when suggestions of sekolah Wawasan arose during the Mahathir years. What identity? Inability to speak Bahasa Malaysia?

If they have genuinely and seriously believe their own theory of children should be taught in their own mother tongue, they should have chased away close to 70,000 non-Chinese students who goes to Chinese Schools. Or at least, they should not encourage such enrollment in the first place.

Without the need for any academic studies, there is an excellent example nearby in Singapore, where the population breakdown is similar to Malaysia. There are no Chinese or Tamil Schools and everyone goes to the same school. Everyone is made or rather forced to learn their own mother tongue but more importantly the rest of the subjects are taught in English. This real and live example alone is sufficient to debunk the theory of our local vernacular champions that the young must be taught in their mother tongue.

Apart from this ridiculous theory, these champions appears to hide the facts that Mandarin and Tamil is not the mother tongue of significant population of non-Malays in the country. For example why not MIC champion the need for Punjabi, Malayalam or Telugu Schools, as these ethnic groups combined are as big as the ethnic Tamils in the country

While we cannot reason with MCA and MIC on the suggested abolishment of vernacular schools, it’s rather sad that the so-called government in waiting, Pakatan Rakyat fully supports vernacular schools. Pakatan Rakyat was also rallied against the teaching of Science and Maths in English. Do we want to hand the reigns of the country and future of our children to this non-forward thinking coalition? Who else can we depend on when it is for sure that BN is unlikely to change the status quo.

It appears that no one wants to think practically when it comes to national intergration. Malaysians with certain agenda have become too smart, they come up with various studies to prove that they are right at all cost. They resist change which is not in their favour or does not fit their agenda though it might benefit the society at large.

Practically, looking at the Singapore example, have anyone lost their identity, forget their mother tongue or their culture or even religion by going to the same school? Have race relations gone from bad to worse in Singapore when they started to go to the same school?

Whoever who thinks so must be some well read but poorly educated morons and looks like they are well represented in BN, Pakatan Rakyat and various race based NGOs and education groups.

If I am a prominent blogger or politician, I would have, in two or three days, be charged for sedition for questioning the constitution. Opponents to the 'One School for all' cannot and will not even bother to debate merits of of the proposal and will always cowardly hide behind the seditions act will calls to defend the constitution.

Friday, September 3, 2010

DAP's Double Standards

DAP to lodge complain with MCMC over doctored picture

By Yoges Palaniappan (Malaysian Insider)
September 03, 2010
GEORGE TOWN, Sept 3 — DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said today the party would send a letter to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) next week to complain about the doctored photograph purportedly showing party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng slaughtering a cow.
Pua said the photograph was a slander against Lim, the chief minister of Penang.
Lim has denied being involved in the slaughtering of the cow, calling it an attempt to defame him.
Pua said MCMC has the power to act on the issue.
“Recently, MCMC prosecuted a blogger for a satirical post although the posting clearly indicated that it was only a work of fiction,” he said, referring to blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman who was charged in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court yesterday with posting the article “TNB to sue WWF over Earth Hour”.
Irwan, popularly known as Hassan Skodeng, was accused of sending false comments in the article on the blog with the intention to offend others.
Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said the doctored photograph was a bigger crime and it deserved serious attention from the MCMC.

This reminds me of the incident 2 years ago when doctored pictures of Najib with Altantuya appeared on the net. It was found later that the pictures were doctored by PKR’s honourable Party Strategist, Tian Chua. DAP then did not make any noise or even reprimanded PKR to take action against Tian Chua. In the act of fairness, DAP style , they did not report the matter to MCMC.

There are hundreds of embarrassing or even naughty doctored pictures of both BN and opposition leaders in the net, why report only this and why now?. Tony Pua says that doctoring pictures is far bigger crime, so will an enlightened Tony Pua report the same on pictures doctored by Tian Chua?

The same selective methods has been employed by DAP in the support letter scandal. They appears just to take action at party level but refuses to report what they know from the scandal to the police or MACC. Why only sack the Klang councilor, why not DAP urge police or MACC to press charges against the councilor. Would they have behaved the same way if it would have been a BN councilor?

Read another glowing news on DAP today,

Letterhead saga: DAP sacks branch head, suspends deputy
By Clara Chooi
September 03, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The Selangor letterhead saga continued today when the DAP expelled branch chairman Yap Hock Siew and slapped a two-year suspension order on his deputy, Ong Chai Huat, for allegedly using a support letter for personal gain.
DAP disciplinary committee chairman Tan Kok Wai made the announcement in a statement today, explaining that the duo had been found guilty of breaching party discipline.
“Both Yap and Ong were found to have committed direct conflict of interest which is in breach of party discipline when the former issued a letter of support under the letterhead of the Pandamaran Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) in favour of a business where both are partners,” he said in the statement.
Tan noted that Yap and Ong were both chairman and vice-chairman of the Pasar Pandamaran DAP branch respectively at the time of their alleged wrongdoing.
“They have 14 days from the date of the disciplinary action to appeal in writing against the decision to the party’s central executive committee,” he added.
Last month, the state government suspended Yap from his position as Pandamaran new village head for attempting to use the support letter to obtain a contract from the Klang Municipal Council for his company.
Both Yap and Ong were accused of having applied for a contract to maintain and clean river floodgates.
Yap had also admitted to issuing the support letter, but with the endorsement of Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu, who has also come under fire for his involvement in the issue.
He was reported to have said that he had used the company to get the job for the Pandamaran JKKK to help pay the utility bills for village facilities.
The DAP had earlier let off Liu with a “severe reprimand” for failing to run his office professionally during the first letterhead scandal involving Klang councillor Tee Boon Hock.
Tee was accused of forging Liu’s signature to issue support letters to obtain contracts worth over RM1 million for 16 companies, one of which is co-owned by his son Chin Chin.
Tee has since been expelled from DAP and sacked as a councillor and Liu was found partially responsible for the actions of his former aide.
Since then, there has been mounting pressure from many DAP leaders calling for Liu’s resignation.

Why DAP did not refer this case to Police or MACC? Isn’t this a clear case of abuse of power, corruption or even criminal breach of trust (CBT). Isn’t this no different from UMNO’s various disciplinary action against those guilty of money politics?

I was about to end this before I read this

Why is that when something goes wrong with BN, they are first ones to rush to MACC or Police to lodge reports but when it involves their own members, internal investigation by disciplinary committee is sufficient. Is the disciplinary committee independent in the first place?

The same ‘sweeping things under the carpet’ strategy is used by Pakatan Government in Selangor. MB Khalid’s refusal to report the find of a spy camera in his office to the Police shows that they are afraid of their own shadows. MB Khalid, like DAP, says that they would undertake internal investigations before going to Police. How independent and transparent are these committees, as they used the blame BN for forming committees after committees for the same purpose.

I used to have some respect for DAP, especially their relentless and consistent drive towards exposing BN’s wrong doings. But now, I see them as no different from the BN and worse, never though they could be this bad after all those preaching of CAT.

Imagine what would DAP and Pakatan will do if they manage to take over Putrajaya!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Little India & Selfish Traders

I lived in brickfields for a while in the early nineties, paying RM 850 for a condominium at Palm Courts, a hefty sum back then. At that time, only professionals and well to do can afford to purchase a unit, costing RM 180K at Palm Courts.

Presently, Palm Courts is no longer a place Malaysians would like to either buy or stay as it has turned out to be a mini Andhra Pradesh (a state in Indian, just above Tamil Nadu), full of Telugu Indians mainly from Hyderabad. They are mainly IT professionals working in many MSC companies in KL, Teknologi Park and Cyberjaya.

However the condition of the place does not look anything like resided by professionals. It is poorly managed and there some ongoing disputes between the residents, owners and the Joint Management Body.

It used to be good to live in Brickfield, it’s proximity to KL, the central trains station, availability of cheap Indian, Chinese and Malay food and other amenities.

The current ongoing plans to renew, reorganise and develop Brickfields as a Little India of KL had many residents and traders up in arms with Federal Territory Ministry and DBKL. They are, if reports are found to be true, instigated by other quarters with vested political agenda.

The ministry has gone ahead to implement one way traffic dispersal system on Jalan Tun Sambanthan without building a suitable car park, claims the traders and residents. Visitors and patrons of shops also complained on lack of parking and also frequent summons by traffic police.

Although there are daily traffic jams caused by various roadworks along the main road , it does not really take long to reach either end of Brickfields as the traffic keeps moving. Traffic situation have actually improved over the days as people becomes more familiar.

Let me tell them something (which is applicable to other Malaysians as well). In my 17 years of visiting Brickfields for various reasons, I never had any problems parking there, either near the YMCA area or near Sri Kota and never in my lifetime have I ever parked at non parking area, double parked or parked at the road side. It just takes some driving around to find a parking lot at the back alleys.

These complaints of lack of parking are just lame excuses by traders and visitors. It’s no different from other KLites, who, if possible want a parking lot right inside the shops. They are just plain lazy to find a parking lot and walk to their intended shops.

The traders also claim that business had dropped by 80% recently. I doubt if this is true. They maybe affected but not as much as claimed. My recent visit proves that even if some of the stalls were relocated, loyal customers will still make an effort to find them, as I did. If business had dropped by 80%, most of them would have closed shop, but what I found at the temporary stall area is to the contrary. They just as busy as before.

The residents and traders cannot deny that, If compared to 90s, Brickfields, they have benefited tremendously from the development of KL Sentral, establishment of two 5 star hotels and also various up market condominiums and apartments. Currently there is another shopping centre coming up right in front of KL Sentral and few more upmarket buildings and residencies.

In my recent visit there, I found that hundreds or even thousand of office workers crossing the Jalan Tun Sambhanthan during lunch. Tell me that the business there has not increased many folds as compared to before and that property prices and rental rates had increased in tandem.

The government should just ignore these protests and move on with the project. The fact remains that most of the traders don’t live there, and more importantly, many of them do not pay much tax. If we chose to listen to them for the fear of losing votes, this project will never be completed as selfish traders and residents will continue to protest as they only look after their interest and theirs alone. These are some ungrateful traders who don’t wish to think about long terms benefits and returns of this project.

At times, while it’s good to engage key stakeholders for their inputs, there are times where these sessions turn into long drawn unnecessary championing of interest of some undeserving parties. There should be a breaking point and government must just move on. The residents and trader just need to bear with the inconvenience, not for long as this is a fast track project.

Without this redevelopment, Brickfields will look no different than the filthy and dusty streets of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The traders Association, instead of wasting time protesting, could well undertake initiatives to ensure their member traders commit to keep Brickfields clean.

The should focus on how to make their shops and stalls look clean and professionally maintained to improve the overall image of Brickfields. There is no point of spending millions to improve the infrastructure and amenities there if the traders and shops insist of maintaining their shops the old fashioned Indian way and more so when it is hardly maintained, aesthetically.