Tuesday, November 11, 2008

5 Minutes With M.Kulasegaran

By Kharleez Zubin November 07, 2008 Categories: 5-Minute Interview

For the rest of his life, Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran, will vividly remember Nov 5, 2008.That was the day he was entangled in a heated exchange that saw Pasir Salak MP, Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, calling him a b******.

Tajuddin lost his cool when Kulasegaran said many Indians in Pasir Salak "benci YB lah" (hate you).

Kulasegaran retracted his statement and used ‘tak suka" instead of hate, but this still did not go down with Tajuddin, who claimed that while he had retracted the b****** word, Kulasegaran was not sincere when he retracted the word "benci’’.

How are you taking the incident on Wednesday?
I have said my piece in Parliament. But being a human being, you feel bad when someone uses that word on you. I am shocked, and even surprised a person of his standing can utter such a thing.

Will you forgive him for saying such a thing?
He must apologise inside or outside Parliament. He didn’t apologise. He only retracted his remark when ordered to do so by Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Tajuddin’s contention is that you provoked him, saying the Indian community in Pasir Salak hate him and did not vote for him in the last general election ... ?
Is it justified for anyone, especially a parliamentarian, to use such uncouth language even under provocation? All I said was not all voters in Pasir Salak voted for him. If they did, he would have had a landslide victory.

Your comments on the government putting on hold the minimum wage proposal you are pushing for all sectors because of the global economic situation?
Now, the economic situation is the excuse. Why was this proposal not considered during good times? The minister and his deputy have been giving inconsistent statements on this issue. Conditions are not right and this and that. Do you really need a favourable time to do a good thing?

How will this help in reducing our dependence on foreign labour, especially in the construction sector?
The absence of minimum wage legislation encourages a free flow of foreign workers. When you set a minimum wage, employers must prove to the Immigration Department that they are unable to get locals. Without this legislation, the locals are deprived of a decent salary and a job. You can’t blame the locals for not taking up low paying jobs. This vacuum is filled by foreigner workers.

What is your next move?
The labour caucus. We have been pushing for the setting up of this mechanism for some time now and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Deaprtment Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has agreed to launch it in Parliament on Nov 18.

What is the scope of the caucus?
Among the matters the caucus will look into is the setting up of a fund for retrenched workers. Also, it will set in place mechanisms to safeguard foreign workers who are not paid salaries, overworked and abused.
Read more!

No comments: