Archive for July, 2014

30
Jul
14

Beng Hock’s family launches book, says the fight continues

The family of Teoh Beng Hock vowed yesterday to step up the fight for justice over his death during a book launch in remembrance of the late political aide.

The 63-page “Surat Dari Syurga” (“Letters from Heaven”) tells the story of Beng Hock’s life, beginning from his schooling days until his death five years ago at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission building in Shah Alam.

Beng Hock’s sister Lee Lan said they will continue fighting for her late brother.

“We will not give up and keep on fighting in the future to uphold justice,” she said.

Lee Lan admitted that seeking justice for Beng Hock was challenging, saying that she was not putting her hopes on the government to fulfil its duties.

“People say that the courts will not give us justice. If they wanted to, they would have earlier on,” she said during the launch last night.

But, she vowed to fight for the cause and will continue pressuring the authorities to bring those responsible for his death to book.

“We will not give up, we will fight until the person responsible for his death is punished,” she said.

National laureate Datuk A Samad Said, and other social activists, where present at the launch. Samad recited poem penned especially for Beng Hock.

Dr Wong Chin Huat, a fellow at the Penang Institute, said custodial deaths in Malaysia were alarming.

He called for justice to be given to these victims, adding that Beng Hock was an example of the ruling party’s treatment towards those of different political views.

“No one can be tortured because of difference in political agenda. But this incident has, at least, made us like a family,” he said.

The Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy was set up yesterday, in memory of the DAP officer who died mysteriously in 2009.

It will be an avenue for victims of political persecution, torture and custodial deaths to seek assistance and to help families of victims in seeking redress.

Beng Hock, the political aide of Seri Kembangan state assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in July 2009.

He was found dead an hour later on the rooftop of a building adjacent to the building of the commission.

The High Court two years later in a revision upheld the coroner’s open verdict in the inquest to find out the circumstances leading to his death.

The coroner and the High Court found there were pre-fall injuries on Beng Hock’s neck but concluded that it was insufficient to point towards assault.

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Beng Hock’s family launches book, says the fight continues
BY MD IZWAN
17 July 2014

28
Jul
14

Fight for Science, Maths in English in Malaysian schools not over

Fight for Science, Maths in English in Malaysian schools not over, says parent group leader

For six years now, Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim has been pushing Putrajaya to bring back Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) in schools.

Although the PPSMI was replaced in 2009 by the “To Uphold Bahasa Malaysia and To Strengthen the English Language” (MBMMBI) policy, Noor Azimah insisted that her struggle is far from over.

Instead, the 53-year-old chairman of the Parent Action Group for Education (Page) said it was the right time now to re-visit PPSMI and introduce it in schools once again.

“No, I don’t think our struggle is over. In fact, I think it’s time we revive it. The policy was abolished and replaced with MBMMBI because the government thought it was more important to enhance English proficiency first before implementing the PPSMI,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

“You have the first cohort of PPSMI students who are now in Standard 4. The MBMMBI, especially the English side, must be doing well, otherwise we would hear of poor feedback from parents and schools.

“So with that, if it is really a success, then we should look again at re-introducing PPSMI in 2017 – when these kids go into form 1.

Noor Azimah, a mother of four and a former accountant, pointed out that the first batch of PPSMI students (those who began learning Science and Maths in English from Form 1 in 2003) are coming out as teachers this year.

“This was confirmed by the ministry to me but they are keeping quiet about it at the moment. This batch of teachers believe they are an asset to the country and I think so too.

“We have to capitalise on this. Before this, they said they had no teachers to teach the subjects in English. Moving forward, I think we have to look at building teachers who are products of PPSMI,” she added.

These teachers, she suggested, should be posted to schools where Science and Maths were taught in English.

“Otherwise, it is just a wasted effort.”

Page was formed in 2008 out of a need to represent the parents, whose voices were not heard while the government was contemplating reverting to Bahasa Malaysia in the teaching of Science and Maths.

“It was at the second roundtable discussion (on whether to continue with PPSMI) that I realised that the parents’ voices were not being heard. There were individual parents at the roundtable but there was no proper structure to represent parents,” she added.

“And we felt that the National Parent-Teacher Association Collaborative Council had failed to represent us well in something that was so crucial.”

She admitted that the announcement to abolish PPSMI in 2009 was a blow to Page, which had presented findings on the advantages of continuing with PPSMI to the Education Ministry.

“We were invited by the ministry to present on why Science and Maths should be taught in English and we almost received a standing ovation,” she said.

“But sadly, we are very good at coming up with policies but not in implementation. Like any policy, you have to wait at least 13 years for it to work. Six years is not enough.”

Such was their disappointment when the PPSMI was abolished that Noor Azimah and half of the Page committee members pulled their children out of national schools and enrolled them in private and international schools.

She placed her son in a private school while a daughter, who is in Form 5, is still in a national school. Her two older children are in university.

Noor Azimah, who had been accused of being anti-nationalist and a traitor to the national language, warned that Malaysia was losing out to other countries in English proficiency.

“There was a rally in 2009 where they said that the sovereignty of the national language was being attacked because of PPSMI.

“But in 2010, the Kuala Lumpur High Court decided that the PPSMI did not contravene the Education Act, was not against Section 153 of the Federal Constitution or the National Language Act,” she said.

“Over the years, we realised that we have lost out in English. So I think that the argument that we are relegating the national language to second place cannot be used anymore.

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Fight for Science, Maths in English in Malaysian schools not over, says parent group leader
BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
12 July 2014 – TMI

26
Jul
14

Sabah’s security problems are a consequence of Dr Mahathir’s ICs handout

A Sabah leader has put the blame on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) over the a series of intrusions into the Borneon state, pointing out the security problems were the result of giving identity cards to illegal immigrants during his administration.

Angkatan Perubahan Sabah president Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing said there is a large number of illegal immigrants in state and a total control of the state’s east coast will not resolve security threats.

“Who gave them ICs in the first place? It was Dr Mahathir,” he said in referring to the former prime minister who helmed the government for 22 years until 2003.

“The security problem faced by Sabahans now is a direct product of the policy of the government, especially during Dr Mahathir time, in giving ICs illegally to the illegal immigrants,” he said in a statement today.

Sabah had experienced a series of intrusions, the latest being the security breach on Pulau Mabul, off Semporna, which led to the death of one policeman and the kidnap of another.

Wilfred said the proof of this was part of the information provided to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) which was set up in September 2012 to probe problems related to illegal immigrants in the state, including the issuance of Malaysian documents to Muslim illegal immigrants under a scheme known as Project IC.

The Commission called 211 witnesses to the proceedings and had submitted its findings to the Yang di-Pertuan Agon, although the report has yet to be made public despite calls from the Opposition.

“This is a case as in the Malay proverb ‘Pisau makan tuan’. The people who suffer are not the people in Peninsular Malaysia, but Sabahans.

“With the presence of the large numbers of illegal immigrants in Sabah a total control of the east coast Sabah will not totally solve the security threat. They are everywhere in Sabah and they can strike anywhere at any time,” he said.

The Tamparuli assemblyman shot down Dr Mahathir’s suggestion to resettle people living in water villages to prevent further intrusion, saying that the former prime minister does not understand the Borneon state’s cultural and social sensitivities.

He said the former premier’s proposal would impact the livelihoods and the way of life of the people who had resided in water villages their entire lives.

“The suggestion by Dr Mahathir to demolish all water villages in Sabah is not only impractical, but also very costly.

“From his statement, it is clear that Dr Mahathir does not have a clear understanding of the cultural and social situation in Sabah, especially with regards to those people residing in the water villages which exist throughout Sabah”.

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Sabah’s security problems are a consequence of Dr Mahathir’s ICs handout
BY EILEEN NG
17 July 2014 – TMI

24
Jul
14

Real poverty in Malaysia – 22.6%

Real Poverty
(Source:
SIA Infographics: Incidence of Poverty
24 April 201 – Rakyat Times)

20
Jul
14

Dr M’s ridiculous demand that govt reimburses Proton

Dr Mahathir wants govt to reimburse Proton

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is chairman of Proton Holdings Bhd, wants the government to reimburse the struggling carmaker, saying that the company, despite being privately-owned by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, needs some form of financial support.

“We (Proton) have been spending our own money, and we have been spending our money for a long time. I think (Proton) should be reimbursed [for] what we have spent because it affects our income,” he told reporters after launching “Drive for Gaza” here yesterday.

Dr Mahathir did not reveal the value that Proton should be reimbursed, but said the company had used “billions of ringgit” of its own money.

Asked if Proton was facing funding issues, especially in its research and development (R&D) of new car models, Dr Mahathir evaded the question by saying that money from the government that is meant for R&D is not only for Proton, but “for everybody”.

“But Proton is an automotive company. Our R&D costs a lot of money. We hope that the government will extend to us some support.
“At the moment, we are not receiving [their] money but we are spending our money,” he added, noting that R&D is not cheap and that it could run into billions of ringgit.

The recently appointed head-honcho clarified that Proton was not out to ask for money to support its business; rather it is for its R&D activities.

Dr Mahathir established Proton in 1983 but had taken on an advisory rolensince his retirement in 2003.

Asked if Proton deserves financial assistance since it has been privatised, Mahathir said he does not think it is an issue as he pointed out that the governments of other countries like South Korea and Japan also support their private sector.

The government will in turn gain from the money that it collects as taxes from the private sector, he added.

“You know, this country began to buy more cars after we introduced Proton. The government’s revenue for a period of 10 years was RM18 billion because Proton came into the market,” he reiterated.

Reports have circulated that Proton was seeking development funds of up to RM3 billion from the government, which Proton later denied. Proton was bought over by Syed Mokhtar in 2012.

…more
Dr Mahathir wants govt to reimburse Proton
Cynthia Blemin
18 July 2014 – The Edge Financial Daily

19
Jul
14

Reveal findings of royal commission on illegals, Sabah reps tell Putrajaya

Sabah opposition lawmakers today demanded that Putrajaya make public the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report on illegal immigrants in the state that was submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong two months ago.

They said that the restructuring of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscomm), as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak this morning, was not enough without a solution to the problem of illegal immigrants in the state.

“We want Najib to make known the content of the RCI report to the public. We have been waiting for two months,” Bingkor assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) told The Malaysian Insider.

Kitingan, who is also Sabah Star party chief, said the RCI would be meaningless without action and a solution to the “Project IC” problem.

He said Naib’s announcement today to restructure Esscomm would also be futile if the influx of illegals was not addressed.

“In fact, it is the federal government who have made us insecure by helping Muslims in the Southern Philippines with weapons, shelter and Malaysian identity cards in exchange for their votes,” he said.

Kitingan added that Putrajaya was only using Sabah as their political playground in order to control the state and its resources.

Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Seri Wilfred M. Bumburing said he would push for the report to be tabled in the Sabah State Legislative Assembly next week.

“The people of Sabah have a right to know about the sudden and dramatic increase in the population and what the government plans to do to resolve this perennial problem,” he said.

The Angkatan Perubahan Sabah president said he was aware of security issues which may warrant some facts not to be disclosed in its totality.

“Generally we want to know whether or not the problem of foreigners having been issued with MyKad through questionable methods will be resolved.

“And the problem of state and national security, sovereignty and true independence for Sabahans in the context of Malaysia will be honoured and upheld,” he added.

Bumburing, who was Upko deputy president but left the Barisan Nasional component party just before the 13th general election, said he was very certain that the memorandum he had presented to the Home Ministry was true and justified.

The former Tuaran MP had called for the home ministry to nullify all MyKad issued dubiously.

DAP Sabah vice-chairman Chan Foong Hin also urged the prime minister to release the findings of the RCI immediately and table it for debate in the coming parliament session and Sabah state assembly sitting.

Chan said the restructuring of Esscom alone would not guarantee Sabahans their safety.


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Reveal findings of royal commission on illegals, Sabah reps tell Putrajaya
BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
8 July 2014 – TMI

18
Jul
14

Overseas students routinely harassed for joining ‘seditious’ events, says PSD scholar

Students on government scholarships in Australia are regularly “intimidated” and “threatened” not to participate in events that the Public Service Department (PSD) deems seditious, a Malaysian overseas scholar said today.

Aslam Abd Jalil, who was issued a show-cause letter last week from the PSD, said these “seditious” activities were usually critical discussions, such as the “Race, Religion and Royalty” forum in which he took part on April 22.

“Students are constantly warned in person or via email not to get involved in any event that is ‘seditious’, according to their interpretation,” Aslam, a final-year student at the Australian International University (ANU), told The Malaysian Insider.

Last Wednesday, the PSD office in Sydney, Australia, sent Aslam a letter asking him to explain his participation in the “Race, Religion and Royalty” forum, organised by the Malaysian Interest Group and ANU Malaysian Students’ Organisation.

Aslam said the PSD accused him of “being seditious in a way that may harm Malaysia and the interests of my educational institution” – an accusation with which he firmly disagreed.
“I strongly believe that I am entitled to academic freedom as well as freedom of speech and expression in the democratic process,” he said, citing ANU’s “Academic Freedom and Protected Disclosure; the ‘ANU Enterprise Agreement 2013-2016”, Article 10 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution and Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He said as a panellist of the forum alongside DAP lawmaker Tony Pua and academic Dr John Funston, he had advocated reforms in Malaysia to stop religious hatred and discrimination as well as to uphold the Constitution and respect for the rule of law.

“Apart from that, I also called for more political freedom to be given to students and youth so that our voices can be heard.

“Based on my speech and answers during the question-and-answer session, I can see no basis to accuse me of being seditious, let alone ‘harming’ ANU, Malaysia, Australia or the world,” said Aslam.

He said he had even made a conscious attempt to be politically neutral so as not to promote nor defame any political party, nor propagate extremism.

Aslam added that this was not the first time he had received such a letter. His involvement in a forum last year prompted officials to visit a relative’s house in Malaysia for an explanation.

“Not satisfied by my explanation and without due consultation, two Special Branch officers came to my aunt’s house in Penang with the intention of meeting my parents to discuss ‘scholarship matters’,” said Aslam.

“I think this was a blatant attempt at intimidation and breach of my privacy and that of my immediate family, especially as it was timed to occur during my exam period.”

He said the “intimidation attempt” was on top of the phone calls that he received from Malaysian authorities in Australia questioning him about his involvement in “controversial events or forums”.

“As Malaysian government scholars, we really want to utilise the taxpayers’ money by not only striving to get qualifications, but also to learn and experience the democratic principles and values in Australia so that we can improve our country when we return to Malaysia.”

He said part of what the students learned in Australia was to be critical of what was happening around them, including in Malaysia.

“Discussions and forums are the means for us to voice our opinions in a civilised and intellectually stimulating way and are actively encouraged within the Australian education system.

“Great ideas can be gathered and practical solutions can be achieved through this process,” said Aslam.

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Overseas students routinely harassed for joining ‘seditious’ events, says PSD scholar
BY ANISAH SHUKRY
24 June 2014 – TMI

17
Jul
14

Global economic report damns PM Najib for lacking will to reform

A global economic report has painted a gloomy outlook for Malaysia, predicting failure for the second phase of Putrajaya’s economic transformation plan due to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lack of will but added the prime minister remained secure in his job as there is no worthy successor.

There are no serious challengers to Najib’s presidency in Umno until party polls are held in 2018, the Asianomics Country Report said in its latest update for international investors.

Asianomics Ltd was founded by Dr Jim Walker, a leading economist in Asia, for investors to get alternative perspectives, expose underlying economic realities and provide unconflicted macroeconomic research and strategic investment advice, according to the company’s website.

The report said Najib is hanging on as the PM only because potential challengers such as Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is “too volatile personally to be qualified for the job”, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is just “the rather dull son of former Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn” and Khairy Jamaluddin is too young for the job.

It added that Najib’s position was also deemed safe because of a growing split in the opposition headed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who appeared to be distracted by an impending jail sentence for sodomy.

“A weakened prime minister heads up a political party called by one cynic ‘a universe of its own’ whose most ambitious goal appears to be for its members to continue to loot the treasury through rent-seeking, while the opposition troika pulls in different directions as its leader (Anwar Ibrahim) contemplates a potential five-year jail term that would finish his political career.

“It is not a pretty picture for a once-promising country,” the Asianomics Country Report said.

And yet, the report stated, the prime minister has displayed a puzzling inability to take action; content, it seems, just to stay in power after his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition kept the government after GE13.

But it said there could be some trouble as the Sultan of Johor has begun flexing his muscles in the economic sector, setting a worrying precedent for the other eight sultanates in the Southeast Asian nation of 13 states.

The report noted that the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) had kept the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) on track, but the next phase of the transformation programme is doomed due to the PM’s flailing leadership.

In other words, the report said, there appeared to be a likelihood for continued drift with the prospects of badly needed, innovative economic and social policies simply not on the cards.

It noted that the lack of leadership was made more obvious when Najib allowed former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to interfere and straighten issues out for him as well as for allowing neo-feudalism to creep in.

“Najib’s lack of political will is already bearing down on policy execution to the detriment of the economy going forward… Prime Minister Najib has lost momentum; so too has policy execution,” said the Asianomics Country Report.

The report noted that despite an increased transparency on the award of smaller projects under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), other bigger projects continue to be awarded behind closed doors.

Najib was also lambasted for having “swung to the side of the Umno hardliners in appeasing ethnic Malays”, causing Pemandu to be “the biggest victim of his lack of gumption”.

“Najib’s position has not been helped by the re-emergence of Mahathir who has maintained influence among Umno’s hardliners and the civil service’s retired elite, who still have a say in civil service appointments through the Civil Commissions Board.”

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Global economic report damns PM Najib for lacking will to reform
BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
9 July 2014 – TMI

16
Jul
14

You don’t save Malaysia by threatening Malaysians

Here is a lesson from the World Cup: a coach resigns from his job when he takes responsibility for his team’s poor performance or when he feels he does not have the ability to take the team further.

Perhaps Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic) should take the second option, because he does sound clueless about how to “save” Malaysia. He does not even have a whiff of an idea on how to pull the country back from the brink or even the honesty to say why race and religion have become so combustible in recent months.

Instead he is bleating about the possibility of another riot if racial and religious tensions are not kept in check. And playing the dangerous and irresponsible game of assigning blame to one community: non-Muslims.

It seems that every few days, one Umno politician or someone from their subsidiaries – Perkasa and Isma – is warning about a repeat of the May 13, 1969, riot which saw racial violence.

And they are doing so not because they truly care for Malaysia or for what has been built over 57 years, but because it is part of their strategy to intimidate, scare and threaten those who have stopped following them meekly like sheep.

In an interview with Umno mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia, Muhyiddin said: “As deputy prime minister, every night before I sleep, I think about how to manage the country. Someone sent me a text message (asking) what will happen to the Malays, why is Islam being insulted and other similar issues.

“These things are definitely happening and it is worrying. We must all return to the right path. Let religion as well as our culture and customs be our strength.”

He said Malaysians must appreciate the peace they had enjoyed and cautioned them against fighting among themselves.

Sound advice. But Muhyiddin should do more than just talk, more so to a publication that has done a splendid job of stoking racial and religious strife.

It seems odd that he suggests the onset of racial riots given that the “individuals” and “groups” that have had their Constitutional rights taken away or restricted are still seeking redress through the system.

For example, the Christians who lost their right to use the word Allah are still hoping for a resolution through proper channels. They have not gone to the streets or set up terror groups.

Similarly, opposition politicians who have been convicted or charged with offences under the Sedition Act are fighting for their freedom through the legal system, despite the odds being stacked against them. They have not set up a government in exile or gone outside the system.

Even the non-Muslim families fighting body-snatching or conversion cases are seeking their day of justice in court, and not through civil disobedience or violence.

The only individuals threatening and constantly talking about riots and bloodshed are those belonging to Umno, Perkasa and Isma. They do so because the alternative is too difficult for them. The alternative entails speaking sensibly, acting justly and behaving with grace and humility.

Malaysia needs someone who can heal the country and speak and act justly. Wish Muhyiddin ponders these facts before he goes to sleep every night. – July 5, 2014.

…more
You don’t save Malaysia by threatening Malaysians
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
5 July 2014 – TMI

15
Jul
14

Form 3 students made ‘guinea pigs’ in confusing new assessment, says DAP lawmaker

Putrajaya is using nearly half-a-million Form 3 students currently taking the Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) assessment as “guinea pigs”, charged a DAP lawmaker, saying that the lack of proper information had caused confusion.

Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming (pic) said he had received numerous complaints from parents and the affected students who are currently being assessed under this new system for the History and Geography subjects, where they are required to do case studies and write essays based on a set topic.

The students, together with teachers, were unsure and confused over what was required of them, he said.

The PT3 was introduced in March this year to replace the exam driven Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination, although the Education Ministry had announced in February 2011 that the PMR exams would be abolished.

The Examination Board will supervise the PT3 exams that are set by the schools, based on guidelines by the Board.

Ong said between March and now, there was very little time to brief students, parents and the 63,000 Form 3 teachers in 2,376 secondary schools about PT3 requirements.

“This has left teachers, parents and students utterly confused about PT3 – how it differs from PMR, how it will be used to stream students after Form 3, how it will avoid bias in terms of setting of questions and marking of papers at the school level.

“Both Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh have to stop making our Form 3 PT3 students guinea pigs and ensure proper implementation of PT3,” he said, referring to the Education Minister and Education Minister II respectively at a press conference at the DAP headquarters. – July 7, 2014.

…more
Form 3 students made ‘guinea pigs’ in confusing new assessment, says DAP lawmaker
BY EILEEN NG
7 July 2014 – TMI





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The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
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Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah

 

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We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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