MCA arranged and Perkasa nailed it! Compulsive attention seeker, Ibrahim Ali, and his gang of senseless and at times comical Perkasa members had caused another ruckus. This time, they had forked out almost RM10k only to court another controversy because the money was distributed in white envelopes. Netizens had criticized the act as an insult to the Chinese because the only time a white envelope is used is during bereavement.
MCA Seputeh division committee member Collin Tiew, who had arranged for more than 50 people to attend the Perkasa's CNY open house, claimed that he was victimized after he was criticized for playing a part in the Perkasa's event.
Tiew claimed that he did not know Ibrahim Ali before the event was surprisingly asked to help translate Ibrahim's speech during the event. Tiew said he was upset with the white packet but did nothing to advice or stop Ibrahim Ali from distributing them during the event.
Yes, unbelievable! My experience of working with so many politicians told me that a lack of integrity is common.
This incident is another proof that MCA has lost the plot. The party has been on the offensive against Dap for working with Pas to install an Islamic nation but the party has no qualm working with the racist and ultra Perkasa.
Perkasa's stand on a number of issues which included wild and baseless allegations against the Chinese community and Christians has angered many people, especially the Chinese community but the party which has been vocal against Pas and the latter's ambition to install the Hudud law.
The party has been critical against Dap working with Pas in Pakatan but has largely kept very quiet when section of UMNO and Pas have been mooting a unification of the Malay political forces. If MCA is vary of Pas, it should have reacted with the same contempt against UMNO's intention to work with Pas. Can MCA assure us that the UMNO-Pas partnership does not have an Islamic state ambition and Hudud will not be implemented?
What MCA needed is consistency and a political backbone if the party is serious of rebounding as a political force to be reckoned with. Playing with the fear of the community against the Hudud law is ill conceived and poorly executed.
Hudud does not hurt the innocent. We are being badly affected by immense corruption, racists and ultra politicians, journalists and academics which have no qualm or respect for Malaysia's multiracial society and fabric.
If MCA truly represents the Chinese community, it should have gone down to the ground to listen to the community grouses, fear and needs and not trying to play with communal and religious fire. It should be brave enough to tell those unscrupulous politicians in its coalition to stop abuse of power, corruption and poor governance.
An MCA trying to instill fear to push the community to vote them may eventually face the full brunt for its own lack of political acumen. Who cares if MCA ended up with no representation in the government if the party is good for nothing?
SO, THE Umno-linked Perkasa’s insult of giving away “white funeral ang pows” to the Chinese community during the Chinese Lunar Dragon Year has attracted the attention of our 1Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
A delegation of about 10 members of the PKR-linked NGO Jingga 13 were met by the NFC's corporate communications manager Khaidir Jamal outside its office, but he refused to accept the memorandum.
He said the company's executive chairperson Mohamad Salleh Ismail (left) had given instructions not to accept the memo as he did not want to affect the ongoing police investigations.
Speaking to reporters later, Jingga 13 coordinator Fariz Musa, who led the delegation, expressed disappointment over the refusal.
"We want transparency because it involves public funds. Therefore we are disappointed that we couldn't hand over the memo," he said.
“We understand and we have already informed the police, but at the same time NFC’s management had responded through the media and through a briefing organised by NGOs to explain that the money was not misused.
“Yes, he can deny, but we want proof... to account for every sen that you used with the credit card,” he said.
The issue emerged on Jan 16, when PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli alleged that four family members of Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil had swiped RM593,500 in credit card expenses, paid for by NFC.
The four are Shahrizat’s husband Mohamad Salleh, son Wan Shahrinur Izmir (chief executive officer), another son Wan Shahinur Izran (executive director), and daughter Wan Izzana Fatimah.
Wan Shahrinur Izmir had denied the allegations, saying that those were for business expenses.
His corporation was previously given a RM250 million soft loan by the government for a project to develop the cattle industry.
Last week, Malay pressure group Perkasa had challenged Wan Shahrinur Izmir to lodge a police report against Rafizi for making false allegations if he was innocent.
Meanwhile, in a statement today, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang challenged the four MCA cabinet ministers to raise the matter, which MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek said has been “poorly handled (by Shahrizat)”, in the next cabinet meeting.
Taking issue with the Chinese-based party, Lim said that if MCA is laying the blame on Shahrizat, then their cabinet representatives should not have kept quiet in the many months since the scandal broke.
“Are the four MCA ministers brave enough to raise in the cabinet the fact that Malaysians have no faith in either the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to get to the bottom of the RM330 million ‘cattle condo’ and that the only credible and acceptable solution is the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a full-fledged inquiry?’ he asked.
The four ministers are Health Minister Dr Liow Tiong Lai, Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha, Housing and Local Government Minister Chor Chee Heung and Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen.
Chua had in an interview with the Malaysian Insider said Shahrizat is not a junior member of cabinet and should have dealt with the issue better, while Premier Najib Abdul Razak’s silence makes it appear like he is protecting the women, family and community development minister.
“I have been made a ‘victim’ for bringing some 50 people to attend Perkasa's Chinese New Year open house in Kampung Baru on Sunday.”
Even though he knew it was organised by the Malay rights NGO Perkasa, he thought it was just a regular Chinese New Year visit and did not expect the function to turn controversial, Tiew (left) claimed yesterday.
"It was not my intention (to offend anyone), If my action has hurt the people's feelings, I would like to apologise to the Chinese community," he added.
Perkasa at its open house on Sunday stirred controversy after its chief Ibrahim Ali handed out ang pow in envelopes of white, a colour reserved for funerals in Chinese culture.
Tiew, who is also MCA Sri Desa branch chief, raised the ire of netizens for his presence at that event.
Tiew defends his speech
Defending his action, Tiew said he attended the event in his capacity as chairperson of a welfare association, not as an MCA member.
Asked why he had gone up on stage during the event and praised Perkasa, Liew claimed he was merely translating Ibrahim's speech for the Chinese audience.
"I had attended another open house and arrived half-way through Ibrahim's speech and the MC (master of ceremony) suddenly asked me to translate Ibrahim's speech.
"I do not endorse what he said, I merely translated it," he said.
When it was pointed out to Tiew that he had spoken first in Malay before repeating in Cantonese, Tiew said he did so because he found it necessary since Perkasa was the event organiser.
'I've never met Ibrahim before'
Tiew added that he had never met Ibrahim until yesterday and had only known the Perkasa chief from the newspapers.
If Ibrahim's event on Sunday had a personal agenda, then he owed an apology to the Chinese community, said Tiew.
Because of the white ang pow incident, even his family has become a target of criticism, he said, adding that he, too, was personally upset by the white ang pow packets and was outraged by Ibrahim's ignorance of Chinese culture.
"When the 1Malaysia concept is said to be just a slogan, he (Ibrahim) is an example of this," he said.
Asked if he regretted attending yesterday event, Tiew replied: "If Ibrahim Ali did this for his personal agenda, then I regret it... I am being condemned, I'm a victim of this incident.”
Abusing the 1Malaysia tagline to suit its agenda, BN has decided to engage in money politics way ahead of the looming 13th general election.
The recipients of this RM500 handout have been sold to BN’s so-called generosity. If reports from the mainstream media are anything to go by, those who have benefited from the handout are singing praises of BN and its leadership under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
This one-off handout to those earning RM3,000 and below has been cleverly devised to win the rakyat’s hearts and is at best a brainwashing process better known as “Beli Rakyat 1Malaysia” (buying over the people).
Where BR1M is concerned, BN is confident that the RM2.6 billion allocated will do the trick in appeasing the 5.2 million eligible heads of households.
BN politicans who are desperately trying to remain in the good books of Najib are working overtime to instigate the rakyat to continue glorifying the federal government. They keep drumming into the people the myth that only BN can deliver and there is no reason why the rakyat should not vote for it come the 13th general election.
The truth reveals otherwise. The BR1M or 1Malaysia People’s Aid is without a doubt a gimmick deployed by BN to assure it remains a favourite among Malaysians. Abusing the 1Malaysia tagline to suit its agenda, BN has decided to engage in money politics way ahead of the looming 13th general election.
While the BN leaders can continue denying it as hard as they want, the fact remains that 1Malaysia and all things related to it are at best a ploy to hoodwink the people into believing BN cares and deserves to continue lording over this country.
For one, the timing of the BR1M is questionable – with the election around the corner, there is every reason to suspect the shenanigans being played by the BN. And the BR1M forms were given out at no cost and snapped up in no time.
With the hike in prices of goods and cost of living on the rise, the rakyat appreciates any support from the government to reduce their financial burden.
BN, however, is not interested in offloading the monetary woes of those in need of aid; instead, the BR1M is the government’s way of holding the people to ransom, of making them feel indebted to it, which is not what a sincere and compassionate government should resort to.
Yes, any money is better than none but is the stingy RM500 sufficient to work wonders in the lives of the needy rakyat?
Let us not forget that the lay person has to put up with a stifling bureaucracy and never-ending corruption from the public sector. The country’s drop in ranking in the recent international corruption index is proof that corruption is very much alive and kicking in Malaysia.
1Malaysia a propaganda, not philosophy
Prior to wooing the rakyat through BR1M, Najib dangled carrots on several occasions; there is the Klinik 1Malaysia, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M), Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1M) and Kedai Ikan 1Malaysia, and goods and services offered at subsidised cost.
The latest attraction is the Sara 1Malaysia, an investment scheme managed by Permodalan Nasional Bhd and sister company Amanah Saham Nasional.
It helps those earning RM3,000 and below to invest and allow their money to grow in five years. The objective is to increase disposable income and encourage savings among the lower income group.
The rakyat is thankful for the various aid made available to them by the BN government. The issue here concerns the government’s agenda, which is to “buy” the people’s unconditional loyalty.
The many 1Malaysia schemes being championed by BN are also its way of raising the stakes after opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat introduced initiatives to assist the rakyat.
In Penang, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng took steps to eradicate hardcore poverty and in Selangor, both Pakatan-administered states, efforts like the Mesra Usia Emas, Tawas and Jom Shopping were much welcomed.
Not about to end up as a sore loser, BN wasted no time in trying to emerge as the real champion of the people, struggling so hard to live up to its slogan of “People First, Performance Now”.
The worry here is that unlike Pakatan which funded its schemes through budget surpluses, BN’s massive budget deficits keep increasing and so are the national debts.
Resorting to the Employees Provident Fund and banks as its cash crops is in no way going to help BN win the rakyat’s trust.
Anymore handouts, BN?
It is said that the BR1M payments are being made in time for the general election. This means that BN is hoping the rakyat will remain loyal to it after the RM500 “bribe” it gave them and not bat an eyelid when casting their vote.
Is BN planning anymore handouts to excite the people? Or is it satisified and secure in the knowledge that the rakyat is committed to BN, having enjoyed a variety of cash handouts doled out by it?
Whatever the case, clearly, the various 1Malaysia schemes are all politically motivated and an act of despair.
If the government is sincere in helping the rakyat, it should not blow its own trumpet by using the mainstream media to seek glory.
Maybe BN subscribes to what Napoleon Bonaparte, the French emperor, had said: “The hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no fatherland, financiers are without patriotism and without decency, their sole object is gain.”
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.
According to the prime minister, the incident can be used as a social experience.
KUALA LUMPUR: The use of white envelopes along with the customary “ang pow” red packets at Perkasa’s Chinese New Year gathering last Sunday has nothing to do with the government, said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
He said leader of the NGO, Ibrahim Ali, is an independent member of parliament. Perkasa is a Malay right-wing group.
“As such, the while packet distributed at the Chinese New Year function should not be construed to be acceptance by the government,” Najib said in a posting on his Chinese-language “Ah Jib Gor” Facebook page.
“I think that as long as we can have a better understanding of Chinese culture and promote sensitivity to cultural taboos, such controversial events can be avoided.
“We all know that ‘ang pow’ means a red envelope, dominated by red rather than other colours,” he said, adding that the incident can be used as a social experience.
Yesterday, Perkasa was asked to apologise for insulting the Chinese community by using white envelopes as “ang pow” packets at its first Chinese New Year “open house”. White envelopes are reserved for funerals in Chinese custom.
Gerakan vice-president Mah Siew Keong had said that giving cash in white envelopes during Chinese New Year, which is meant to be a prosperous and joyful festival, showed that Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali is “greatly insensitive and insincere”.
MCA Youth secretary-general Chai Kim Sen had said that Perkasa’s action was disrespectful to Chinese culture and custom.
He said Ibrahim should act in the people’s interests and understand the multi-cultural society and the taboos and prohibitions of each ethnic group and religion.
Perkasa deputy president Abdul Rahman Bakar had explained that due to the large turnout at the open house at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru, the red “ang pow” packets ran out and white envelopes were used instead.
Seriously, do you think Perkasa has even an iota of intelligence to organise a CNY do to counter the skepticism of the non-Malay community in Malaysia.
Perkasa is nothing but a bunch of field soldiers at the helm of Dr Mahathir, the leader of the 3M to rock the boat for Najib Tun Razak.
Even a ordinary citizen like me, knows that an ang pow is never given in any other colour other than red for the Chinese community, what more for seasoned politicians who keep licking the asses of the people when they need their voters.
This is a clever plot initiated to taint Najib, for he is seen to condone and be blessed with the antics of Perkasa for the benefit of the 3M.
Dr M is not just an ordinary personality, this is the guy who wielded the iron shield to protect only his interest and his agenda.
Perkasa is nothing but a tool for Dr M as we now see the statement by the MCA Youth secretary-general Chai Kim Sen in detesting the act of Perkasa in handing out white envelopes for CNY, courtesy of Najib.
Najib should be wary as the knives are out there in the form of Dr M, as the enemy within his own Umno will ensure his demise.
The power struggle of the Umno political hegemony is not new, then it was window dressed, these days, it is pretty obvious as seen in this episode.
Perkasa unlike Hindraf, a movement of people’s conscience is a toothless tiger without Dr M, yet the friction is to place the pawns in their right places to achieve only what Dr M wants.
That is the trade of this man and his field soldiers. There is no loyalty or conscience, only loyalty is power to the great Dr M’s agenda.
Ketidak kelihatan korupsi itu kerana Malaysia bekas jajahan Inggeris.
Beliau membandingkan dengan Indonesia yang menurutnya berlaku secara terang-terangan.
“(Di Malaysia) tahap korupsi itu tinggi tapi tidak kelihatan, itu hebatnya kita,” kata pemimpin pembangkang itu Malaysia itu dalam pidato kebudayaan dengan tema ‘Kepemimpinan dalam Dinamika Perubahan Ekonomi Politik’ di Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), Cikini, Jakarta Pusat, semalam.
Menurut Anwar, ketidak kelihatan korupsi itu kerana Malaysia bekas jajahan Inggeris.
“Inggeris ini tahapnya hebat,” tambah Anwar seperti dilapur detiknews.com.
Di Indonesia, kata beliau korupsi dipengaruhi oleh penjajahnya Belanda.
Belanda dikenal sebagai negara yang keras sehingga korupsi Indonesia tidak lagi terlihat seperti di Malaysia.
‘Atas meja, bawah meja’
“(Di Indonesia) di atas meja di bawah meja jalan,” ujar Anwar yang menyebabkan hadirin tertawa.
Anwar mendakwa, cara korupsi di Indonesia itu tidak dapat diterapkan di Malaysia.
“Sebab, hal itu akan dianggap sesuatu yang curang, tidak beradab, serta dianggap pengkhianatan.
“Tapi kalau disimpan masuk ke akaun di London atau di Switzeland itu ada kecanggihan caranya,” kata beliau.
Anwar bagaimanapun, menegaskan korupsi sangat tidak bermoral.
Menurutnya, mengkritik pemerintah bukan lagi sesuatu yang cukup dalam membanteras korupsi, melainkan ketegasan pemimpinlah yang menentukan.
“Maka kita ambil keputusan, kita menentukan bahawa pemimpin itu harus lebih tegas,” tambah Anwar.
Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum says that under the common law, Native Customary Rights (NCR) pre-existed any statutes and land laws.
KOTA KINABALU: Corruption and abuse of power in the Sabah Native Courts is so bad that even Chinese nationals from Hong Kong and Taiwan have managed to become “natives” in the state, according to Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum.
“There are citizens from Hong Kong and Taiwan who have been given the status of native (anak negeri). Judges of the Native Courts gave them the ‘Sijil Anak Negeri’. There are cases, it is a fact.
“Sorry to those Native Courts,” he revealed in his keynote address at a symposium on Sabah Native Rights: Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward held at Universiti Malaysia Sabah yesterday.
In the audience were several native court judges.
Malanjum said some rich non-natives married native girls and used the native spouse to buy native title lands that should only pass among natives.
“They married the native, but the real owner (of the native title) is a non-native,” he said.
Malanjum called on Sabah leaders, especially native leaders, to reflect on the problems plaguing natives.
‘NCR pre-existed any land laws’
He said more can be done by the state government to protect the rights of the natives.
“One thing the authority can consider is to establish a Land Tribunal to hear land-related cases and not throw to courts every land-related case. The Court relies on evidence as in Evidence Act and it is not easy to provide evidence in court on native customary lands.
“(However) a tribunal does not strictly follow the Evidence Act, perhaps the government should consider establishing a tribunal,” Malanjum said citing as an example the Waitangi Tribunal in New Zealand.
The senior judge made it clear that his talk should not be construed as a view from the bench but from him as an ordinary citizen and leader of Pusaka (Pusat Sumber Adat dan Mediasi Anak Negeri Sabah) which he founded with a group of lawyers and which co-organised the two-day symposium with UMS’ School of Social Science.
Malanjum said Pusaka was founded to document the traditional customary laws or “adat” of the various indigenous societies of Sabah, handed down from their forebears and which had become the basis of their culture.
He also pointed out that under the common law, Native Customary Rights (NCR) pre-existed any statutes and land laws.
“The accepted court pronouncement is that native do not own land but is part and parcel of the land,” he said.
Malanjum also explained that while Section 5 of Sabah Land Ordinance stipulated that “the whole land of Sabah belongs to the government”, the court’s position when it comes to dispute between native land owner and the authority is guided by the principle that “the government is in a fiduciary position to protect the interest of the natives.”
“Whenever the court deliberates on cases that potentially will erode NCR, the court shall weigh the ‘adverse effect’ on the natives…,” he said explaining how the laws of the country, as in other countries like Canada and South Africa, are set to respect and protect native rights.
As long as Barisan Nasional rules Sabah, there is no assurance that it won't drown Tambatuon with a new dam.
KOTA BELUD: The only way to stop the building of the proposed RM500 million Tambatuon Dam is to end Barisan Nasional rule in Sabah. This was the advise Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) gave the frustrated Tambatuon villagers.
According to SAPP supreme council member Peter Marajin, it was no longer logical for the villagers to hold onto any promises made by Kota Belud MP Rahman Dahlan.
“We cannot hold onto any of the pledges made by BN leader on not to go ahead with the controversial dam.
“Even the Kota Belud MP’s own words are not an assurance it will not be built.
“It maybe not this year, but they will surely build it later, maybe in 2013. We never know with their (BN) kind of words,” said Maraji.
“What Rahman said was the dam would not be built without the consent of the villagers.
“In fact he has been asking the villagers to reconsider their opposition to the half-a-billion ringgit dam,” Marajin, who is from Kadamaian, said.
He said the villagers had also expressed their disappointment with their village head Amin Goling who had allegedly gone along with Rahman.
Marajin said Amin’s premature support for Rahman’s statement was aimed at confusing and hoodwinking the villagers into believing the BN government is now not going ahead with dam, which is not true.
“My observation was further corroborated with the Tambatuon villagers now insisting on a black and white assurance if indeed BN is not going ahead with the dam,” said Marajin.
The Tambatuon dam has become a flashpoint of opinions here with the majority of the Dusun Tindal villagers against it.
In fact they have taken ritual vows over slaughtered buffaloes and chickens that they would defend their kampung with their blood if machines start coming to Tambatuon which many claimed to be a beautiful village.
They have also put signboards and other warnings at the entrance to their kampung that they are against the proposed dam and those who perpetrate to promote its building would be dealt with accordingly.
The Kadamaian PBS assemblyman, Herbert Timbon Lagadan, stands alone among his community over the Tambatuon dam.
He has become a target for criticism for his open support of the dam which he claimed would benefit not only the Tambatuon folks but the whole district as it supplies both electricity and water to paddy farms.
Marajin, not mincing his words, said “to cancel the dam, just cancel BN, lock, stock and barrel with Umno allies PBS and UPKO!”
Bersih co-chairman A Samad Said may be 76-years-old, but he's not 'leaving' without letting Malaysians know that they 'must fight for their country'.
Samad, who is now the co-chairperson of Bersih coalition, believes that there is no sound enough reason why Malaysians living and working abroad should be deprived of their most fundamental right.
“All Malaysians abroad should fight for that (their right to vote) from where they are.
“They should insist that their voices be recorded, that they have a right to vote and they must vote.
“If their right to vote is denied than as Malaysian citizens, they can deny the elections.
“I can’t stand intimidation, fraud, dishonesty. I think everyone, every Malaysian should go and fight against this so they can get the kind of country they want.
“You want to see a change? Then vote and insist on it.
“If I don’t remind them to do this, I’m not carrying out my responsibilities,” he told FMT recently.
Pak Samad, as he is fondly known to many Malaysians, went on to add that the question of difficulty should not take precedence over what needs to be done.
He said it was the duty of every Malaysian abroad to fight for their right to vote.
‘Overseas Malaysians must demand rights’
He said Malaysians abroad should let their respective embassy representatives know of their right and desire to vote.
The right to vote for overseas Malaysians was one of the eight demands that Bersih 2.0 made to the Election Commission. The EC however has not weighed this yet.
Pak Samad said it was not enough that in-country Malaysians fight on behalf of their brethren abroad for the right to vote.
“Malaysians (abroad) too must be willing to take steps towards making this a reality.
“They can change things. If all Malaysians abroad don’t fight for this, what are they doing outside there?
“I’m not saying it’s their sole responsibility to make this happen, but they should be accountable for the positive changes this country can achieve.
“If they allow the country to go on like this for another five decades in the hands of Barisan National, what will happen then?
“We are not talking about another five years of the government being in power, it’s five decades. It’s time. It’s the right time,” he said vehemently.
‘Everyone must band together’
At the height of the massive Bersih rally, Pak Samad became a national phenomenon when he lost his slippers in the crowd and walked barefoot all the way to the gates of the palace.
At 76, Pak Samad is ready to die but not before he has said his piece.
When presented with the notion that many of the Malaysians abroad feel apathy towards their right to vote and are disillusioned by vote-buying, Pak Samad had this reply: “Irrespective of these things, you still have to vote. It is your right.
“If everyone bands together, it will work.
“Don’t allow the government to use racial, religious issues against us. Don’t allow them to say they are enriching the country. They are not enriching the country.
“Why aren’t these Malaysians doing anything? If things go on like this, we can be on the verge of bankruptcy.
“So if we don’t do what we can, don’t blame (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) or Nazri Aziz, or (Dr) Chua Soi Lek.
“We should blame ourselves. We must fight, otherwise don’t complain,” he said.
It must be noted that a test case filed by six Malaysians working in Britain to have the right to cast their ballots abroad failed when it was over-ruled by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 6.
The court dismissed their application by ruling that the Election Commission was following the rules in not allowing them to cast their ballots abroad.
The six had wanted the court to compel the EC to register them as absent voters and amend its regulation within two weeks to allow all Malaysians to vote overseas.
Sikap ini adalah manifestasi dari lesunya daya fikir dan intelek kepimpinan mereka dalam menghadapi realiti politik semasa dunia yang mengamalkan budaya telus dan terbuka.
PETALING JAYA: Cara berfikir pemimpin-pemimpin Umno amat purba kerana mereka gentar untuk berbicara secara bersemuka mengenai hak rakyat, demikian ditegaskan Ketua Penerangan PKR, Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty.
“Jelas, Umno belum berhenti dari muslihatnya terus memperbodoh dan menindas minda rakyat. Dengan ini, kuasa memerintah negara terus kekal di tangan dan pelbagai penyelewengan mudah diteruskan tanpa sekatan.
“Apa yang kita pasti, sikap ini adalah manifestasi dari lesunya daya fikir dan intelek kepimpinan mereka dalam menghadapi realiti politik semasa dunia yang mengamalkan budaya telus dan terbuka,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan media.
Beliau mengulas perkara ini berhubung sikap Perdana Menteri dan juga Presiden Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yang berkali-kali enggan menyahut cabaran Ketua Pembangkang dan juga pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat untuk berdebat.
Anwar secara terbuka mengajak Najib berdebat mengenai beberapa isu kritikal semasa – politik, ekonomi dan kebajikan rakyat - yang sedang hangat diperkatakan kini.
Dr Manuty berkata, alasan yang diberikan begitu memual dan menjengkelkan. Sikap ini menampakkan betapa purbanya cara berfikir kepimpinan parti ini dan betapa gentarnya Umno untuk berbicara secara bersemuka mengenai hak rakyat.
Debat – amalan tradisi pemimpin
Sesungguhnya kata beliau, PKR ingin menegaskan pendirian bahawa debat antara pemimpin adalah tradisi mana-mana kepimpinan silam bagi semua tamadun. Di dalam Al Quran sendiri Allah SWT menjelaskan:
“Serulah ke jalan Tuhanmu (wahai Muhammad) dengan hikmat kebijaksanaan dan nasihat pengajaran yang baik, dan berdebatlah dengan mereka (yang engkau serukan itu) dengan cara yang lebih baik; sesungguhnya Tuhanmu Dia lah jua yang lebih mengetahui akan orang yang sesat dari jalanNya, dan Dia lah jua yang lebih mengetahui akan orang-orang yang mendapat hidayah petunjuk.” (An-Nahl: 125).
Beliau menegaskan pada hakikatnya, budaya debat adalah amalan lumrah para ilmuan dan kepimpinan silam. Melaluinya, kebenaran akan lebih terserlah dan “insight” baru dapat dicernakan demi kepentingan negara dan rakyat.
Lebih penting katanya, rakyat diberi peluang menilai secara empirikal dan adil akan ketrampilan dan keikhlasan kepimpinan yang akan diberikan amanah mengurus negara pada masa depan. Inilah demokrasi sebenar yang dituntut oleh rakyat.
“Kita pun merasa aneh mengapa pula Najib tidak punyai keberanian menyahut cabaran ini sedangkan, beliau sendiri dikatakan selalu mempamirkan gaya pidato yang tidak kurang hebatnya semasa berucap di khalayak umum di mana-mana.
“Beliau sebenar lebih beruntung kerana dikelilingi ratusan pegawai dan pembantu yang bersiap siaga dengan bekalan idea dan maklumat jika diperlukan.
“PKR merasa kesal akan betapa hina dan rendahnya pandangan Umno-BN terhadap rakyat Malaysia yang bersifat majmuk ini,” tegas beliau.
A national coordinator also believes that Hindraf's struggle was slowly returning to its mainstream position since joining the ABU bandwagon.
It’s solely a grassroots movement fighting for the rights, interests and benefits of ethnic Indians, especially the working class, said Hindraf national coordinator W Sambulingam.
Speaking at a Hindraf – ABU (Anything But Umno) forum in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan, last night, he said that the movement’s main agenda was to coerce the government to recognise and uphold ethnic Indian citizenry rights.
He said Hindraf wanted the Umno-helmed federal government to end its racist policies discriminating ethnic Indians.
“We are not questioning what the government is giving others
“We are only asking the government to give what is rightfully ours,” Sambulingam clarified to FMT on his speech.
Some 700 people attended the forum, with Indians making up about a third of them, while the rest were dominantly Malays.
Also present were ABU leader Haris Ibrahim, Solidarity of Malaysian Youth (SAMM) chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin @ Chegubard and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.
Sambulingam said that one main Hindraf demand was for the government to give land for Tamil schools and gazette them all as fully-aided schools.
Among other demands are affordable housing, business and employment opportunities for the needy and deserving working class Indians.
Back in mainstream politics
He said Hindraf would definitely field candidates to contest the next general election as it was “high time for Hindraf to provide a strong voice for the voiceless.”
Gauging the growing support among Indians and non-Indians to Hindraf vis-à-vis close ties with ABU, Sambulingam believes that the movement was back on track after seeing a lean isolated spell for the past two years.
After the heydays of 2007 – 2008 period, combination of self-inflicted tactical blunders and concerted demonisation by others have sidelined and outcast Hindraf from mainstream political activism.
But since joining the ABU bandwagon, Hindraf believes that its struggle was slowly but surely returning to its rightful mainstream position.
Even the violent disruption caused by some thugs on Hindraf – ABU forum in Klang on Jan 21 failed to deter Hindraf activists.
“Now the Malays and others can accept Hindraf’s views and demands on Indian issues.
“Hindraf’s struggle is definitely back on mainstream agenda.
“We will now intensify it with support of other ethnic brothers,” Sambulingam told FMT.
I was invited to attend a meeting and a Press Conference organised by Datin Azimah Rahim's PAGE (Parents' Action Group for Education) which seeks to ask the Government NOT to abolish the PPSMI (the teaching of Maths and Science in English). The Government has said that the PPSMI will be abolished for the school year beginning January 2012.
Pakatan Rakyat pledges to be a caring federal government if it comes into power.
GEORGE TOWN: Pakatan Rakyat will abolish toll collections in the North-South highway and on Penang Bridge and it will also hand out RM1,000 annually to senior citizens, if it captures Putrajaya in the next general election.
These pledges, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Pakatan will never “run away from”.
He said people can put their faith in Pakatan’s promises.
“If we capture Putrajaya, we will immediately abolish the North-South Highway toll.
“We will also abolish toll collections on Penang Bridge.
“We will not run away from our promises,” Lim told a cheering crowd at a Chinese New Year open house co-hosted by Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer and Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh.
Also present were state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh and Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun.
Karpal was however, absent due to a prior engagement.
Lim said while Pakatan will abolish toll collections on road which were already enjoying huge profits, it will retain concessions in other areas.
Lim, who is Penang Chief Minister, pointed out that PLUS had collected RM24.3. billion in toll collections on the North-South Highway, which was built on a RM6 billion budget.
“Cut-throat” BN government
Lim said given that PLUS had raked in a RM18.3 billion profit, it was now time to abolish it.
He slammed the Barisan Nasional federal government’s plans to increase current toll rates and continue its collections for years to come.
He said the people must be ready for change to stop the ‘cut throat’ toll collections of BN and PLUS.
Lim called on the people to vote for Pakatan if they wanted to want tolls to be abolished.
“BN said it cannot be done. Yes it cannot be done if it is BN.
“But under Pakatan, it can be done,” he promised.
Lim, who is Bagan MP, said Pakatan would also gift RM1,000 cash yearly to all senior citizens, regardless of their race, religion or political backgrounds.
He said Pakatan would not discriminate against senior citizens, even if they were from Gerakan or MCA.
“We will even hand out the cash to Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon if he wants it too,” Lim said.
He also said that Penang aims to be the cleanest, greenest and safest state in the country and his government would work hard to achieve the goals.
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