Sunday, July 12, 2009

Najib's 100 days in office but he fails to address peoples issues!

At the gathering to mark his 100 days in office, PM Najib has announced a slew of " goodies" .

People like " goodies" and he can expect his approval ratings to go higher than the 65% achieved recently.

But if Najib wants to truly bring about changes, he has to implement more and real changes and not just populist measures or goodies.

For example, I did not see his promise that a Royal Commission of Inquiry will be set up into the PKFZ issue. Should the people be satisfied with just the release of the recent PKFZ Report?

Neither did he promise that he will permanently solve the highway toll rate problem. Should the people be happy with the discount announced? Is this all his government can do ?

There was no promise that his government will abolish draconian laws like the ISA, OSA and the Printing and Press Act.

There are many more promises which the PM has not addressed.

The " what he did not promise"list can go on but what is important is that the people who have voted for change in the last general election must be able to see what the PM did not promise rather than what he has promised.

The nation and the people definitely deserve more than the slew of goodies announced.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Perhaps PM Najib should consider conduting a referendum on PPSMI for primary and secondary schools

The government's decision to reverse the PPSMI for both primary and secondary schools have attracted mixed reactions.

The feedback I have received shows that generally, the reversal for primary schools is accepted by the people , especially educationists who have long insisted that
primary school subjects are best taught in the students' mother tongue.

However, there seems to be some parents of urban schools who prefer that the status quo be maintained for the primary schools, if given a choice.

For the secondary schools, the number of urban parents who support the status quo be maintained for the secondary schools is quite overwhelming.

I am therefore not surprised that in the poll conducted by the former PM Tun Mahathir , majority have voted against the PPSMI reversal. Majority of his blog readers are urban parents or voters..

It will be interesting had Tun"s poll been separated into two sections, one for primary schools and another for secondary schools.

Tun Mahathir has asked his readers to answer yes or no to the question-- do you support the government's decision to teach Maths and Science in BM?

Based on his poll result, Tun has said that it seems that the government is not listening to the voice of the people.

May be PM Najib should seriously consider holding a referendum on the two questions:

1. Should PPSMI be reversed for primary schools?

2. Should PPSMI be reversed for secondary schools?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Any political consideration in the two year delay of abolition of PPSMI?

Yesterday's Cabinet decision to reverse the PPSMI ( Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Inggeris) policy is not a surprise to many.

Many NGO’s and political parties as well as Chinese, Tamil and Malay educationists and oppositionists had warned before the PPSMI was implemented that it would not be able to achieve its declared objective of improving the standard of English of our students.

Time has proven the policy critics right.

Faced with the fact that the ill conceived PPSMI has failed its objective , the Cabinet was left with no choice but to reverse it.

Like many, I am a little surprised though that the reversal will include the secondary schools.

Many have thought the Cabinet will abolish the PPSMI for the primary schools only.

However, a question that many have asked today is , if PPSMI has made guinea pigs of our students and that the government has admitted it is a failed policy, then why is there a delay of 2 years in reversing it?

Why cant the reversal take effect next year?

Is there any political consideration in the two year delay? Is the general election a factor of consideration?

The Education Minister should know that not many will be convinced by his explanation that the reversal requires a " soft landing".

For a plane that has crashed , no on will talk about soft landing. For a policy that has failed, isn't immediate reversal the answer?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Meeting with the Kg.Buah Pala villagers

Tuesday 8thJuly09
With him being unfairly and inaccurately accused by some people that he is not willing to personally meet the villagers, I have voiced my opinion that the Penang Chief Minister should meet the villagers.

I am glad that a meeting will be held between the residents and the Penang Chief Minister tomorrow morning.

It is the fervent hope of the Indian community and the Pakatan Rakyat supporters that a constructive solution can be achieved.

Tommorrow's meeting has proven very clearly that Guan Eng is not a Chief Minister who will run away from the problem, unlike the Prime Minister who washes his hands so quickly and Tan Sri Koh Tsu Kookn who so irresponsibly passes the buck to Guan Eng.

At about 5pm on Tuesday 7thJuly YB Sivanesan , Sdr Sudagar a local Penang NGO rep and I met the villagers at the Kg.Buah Pala. During the discussion held we were told by the villagers that they want to stay put in the village and they want the state to assist them in this respect. We also made an extensive on hand tour of the village.

We have since then, relayed the above request to the Chief Minister of Penang.

We are given to understand that they were also 5 malay families residing in the village. But all of them have since moved out, as they had accepted compensation from the developer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Najib washes his hands!

I have never seriously believed that Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon will take responsibility for the Kg Buah Pala issue and make amends by raising the matter in the Cabinet.

So I was not exactly surprised when he said that it was the present Penang state government which must solve the villagers ' predicament.

I was a little surprised though to learn from the news yesterday that the Prime Minister had so quickly washed his hands of the Kg Buah Pala issue.

When asked by the reporters on request by the Penang state government, Najib had said that it was a state matter which should be settled at state level.

How quickly he has washed his hands off the issue, even before Penang Chief Minister's letter requesting Federal intervention has reached him.

I thought the least Najib would have done was to say that the Federal government will study the issue or direct his KPI Minister to propose a solution .

After all, he should know that the former Penang state government led by Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon was the culprit of the problem.

Could the Prime Minister really wash his responsibly of a problem which was caused by a former BN Chief Minister who is now his KPI minister?

Monday, July 6, 2009

The reality of political involvement

An intresting write up by By Baradan Kuppusamy
KARAK, July 5 — While many of her compatriots in DAP celebrated their party's best ever electoral results last March, Kamache Dorai Rajoo counted the cost of her 145-vote loss in the Sabai state seat, and made a life-changing decision.
She decided to leave her husband behind in Kuantan and uprooted the rest of her family — her mother and two children — to this small town at the foothills of Genting Highlands. The 39-year-old would stay back to fight for a chance to be elected by the people of this small town.
More than a year later — she now has a permanent service centre she mans with party volunteers — many locals are behaving like her constituents and flock to her office for help.
With the help of her 68-year-old mother Mariyamal, whom she sees as her biggest inspiration in life, Kamache continues her campaign to get elected.
Although a one street town, Kamache's new home has a Chinese new village, a KFC and MacDonald’s outlet and two police stations one at each end of the town, reminiscence of the days when it was a communist hotbed.
Her husband is putting up in Kuantan where he works as a senior supervisor with an oil palm mill belonging to Sime Darby and although he has applied for a transfer to Karak he has little chance of getting it, says Kamache.
She is determined to stay in Karak despite the odds.
“In Kuantan only my husband needs me but here in Karak the many people need me,” she said.
“They face numerous problems and see me as their Wakil Rakyat and come to me for help even though I lost,” Kamache said. “I can’t let them down.”
“I intend to stay here for good even though it is a struggle to stay afloat,” said Kamache in fluent English.
The 10th in a family of 11 children, Kamache studied in a Tamil school, picked up English working as a receptionist, was a ground staff for a German airline and is currently doing a masters in English with the Open University.
But it has all been downhill since she uprooted from Kuantan and set up camp in Karak in the Sabai constituency with about 10,000 voters.
She gave up a lucrative job teaching English that paid about RM8, 000 a month when she moved to Karak.
“I persuaded my husband to let me go as I was determined. After drifting in life I have found my vocation in life. Politics, serving the people, fighting for justice...these are what I want to do,” she said.
“One day I would want to take a seat in Parliament. This is my dream,” she said. For the moment it is a uphill battle.
After landing in Karak she looked for a job and has yet to land one.
She rents a house in Karak for RM500 a month and her service centre cost RM350 a month.
Unlike in Kuantan where she taught tuition for a handsome fee, in Karak she is teaching English for free as part of the DAP's service to the constituents.
Without a steady job or business Kamache is finding it tough to pay the rent. Her savings is fast depleting.
Her mother is helping out from her pension along with her husband who earns about RM4,000 a month.
He also pays the monthly instalment for their house in Kuantan and for a Chevrolet 1.8 Optra that was bought during the good times in Kuantan.
“I can last another month or two but after that only a miracle can save us,” she said.
To make ends meet the family drastically scaled down their lifestyles.
Her daughter Venosha, 15, has given up on school tuition and Indian classical dance lessons. Before they were chauffeured to school now they take the school bus.
The credit cards have been shelved and a upcoming trip to Budapest, on July 14, for a eight-day political training stint has also been cancelled.
"I tried to raise money for the trip but there’s just not enough,” Kamache said with a trace of regret.
On the personal front, her health is not balmy.
Her asthma has started to act up with the cooler and wetter weather in Karak and in addition she suffers from a live long battle with psoriasis, a skin disease which is suppressed by taking steroids. “Why do you think I always wear longs sleaves,” she joked adding “I have spent over RM200,000 in my life for a permanent cure but without success.”
The amazing thing is that it never crossed her mind to give it all up and go back to the secure and comfortable life she had in Kuantan.
“I am not a quitter and besides I am needed here. There are so many issues and problems I have taken up. I cannot just walk away,” Kamache said.
“I have fought all my life. I have survived one personal crisis after another. I don’t plan to give up,” Kamache said. “I can’t abandon the people here.” It was not always like this with her.
Although the family started poor on her father’s small income as a civil servant, she managed to get educated up to A-levels first in Ipoh and later in Jelapang where they moved on her father’s retirement in 1989.
They lived in a squatter settlement outside town.
“I worked in numerous places — at a hotel in Langkawi, as ground stewardess and as receptionist in Klang,” she said.
Her political initiation came one day in 1990 when she attended a forum on the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Meru, near Klang.
“That forum changed my outlook about myself and the world,” she said.
“That’s when I realised one had to look beyond self and one had to speak up against injustice.”
That realisation made her take an active interest in human rights issues and get involved in the struggle for freedom of minorities.
It was during this period that she got involved in the setting of the Tamil Foundation, an NGO that promoted Tamil education and culture.
Through this activity Kamache met activists lawyers like P. Pasupathy, M. Manoharan (currently Tamil Foundation chairman and Teluk Intan MP) and M. Kulasegaran (MP Ipoh Barat).
In the run up to the March 8 general election the DAP was keen to promote Indian women to stand for election as the party had never fielded one before.
Naturally Kamache, with her speaking talents and experience with grassroots rights activities was a natural choice.
“I was reluctant but was persuaded to take the plunge by YB Kula,” Kamache said. She was presented to the DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and secretary general Lim Guan Eng and they were agreeable for Kamache to contest in the Sabai state seat.
“I arrived with my two children and my mother one day before parliament was dissolved (on Feb 13, 2008),” she said. “This was the first time I had stepped foot in Karak.”
The four of them slept on the floor of the DAP office in Karak for the next 25 days running a chaotic campaign with the help of the local DAP leaders against the well oiled campaign by BN candidate Datuk M Davendran.
On polling day she swept the urban votes but lost the bulk of the votes in Felda Serting. Overall she lost by a narrow 145 votes. “I cried for days, my mother cried, by children cried, DAP party workers cried. We were so close and yet we were defeated,” Kamache said recalling the agony of defeat.
Three days after the defeat she met her husband and told him she had made up her mind to return to Karak, set up office and serve the people and fight on.
Her husband agreed.
Her financial woes are just one of the many battles she faces.
She fights the bureaucracy, headquartered in Bentong about 30 minutes from Karak, for everything — health services to garbage collection, problems with birth certificates and provision of basic amenities.
“I don’t have time even to read the newspapers,” she said adding she is “vaguely” aware about the issues in Buah Pala village in Penang. “I have my hands full here.”
“Unlike before the DAP has to fight on several fronts now. We fight for all Malaysians. We are not perfect but we stay the course,” she said.

1 Malaysia, 1 Kg.Buah Pala or 1 Malaysia, no kg. Buah Pala?

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has said that he will write to the Prime Minister to ask him to intervene, by acquiring the Kg Buah Pala land and compensate the developer.

I believe this is one good way that the Kg Buah Pala issue can be resolved and the village can be preserved as an Indian heritage village. That is why I have suggested this, as an option to be put to and decided by the villagers themselves.

It is obvious that the culprit of the problem, Dr Koh Tsu Koon , will not make amends and at least raise the matter in the Cabinet.

The fact that he did not even bother to stand up to reply or rebut me when I had questioned him in Parliament proves his lack of sense of reasonability on a issue which was created by the Administration headed by him.

However, now that the Prime Minister will be given an official letter by the Penang state government, Najib is provided with an opportunity to show the nation
whether it will be " 1 Malaysia, 1 Kg Buah Pala" or " 1 Malaysia, No Kg Buah Pala".

Lets see what it will be from the Prime Minister who can resolve the issue with " a stroke of the pen".