Month: May 2014

The True And Fair View

Ahmad Maslan (Chief of Communication for UMNO Malaysia) regarding the candidates for the upcoming Teluk Intan by-elections, said that Mah Siew Keong would beat Dyana Sofya 5-0. Ahmad Maslan (henceforth AM) brought up 5 points as to why Mah (BN’s candidate) is the better choice

Firstly AM compared them in terms of education. As per Bernama, Mah has “a Bachelor of Science from the London School of Economic and Master’s degree from City University London, as well as a law degree from University of East London.” It is also a fact that Dyana only has a diploma in law from UiTM

Clearly such a comparison would be in immense favour of Mah. However, it is important to note that Dyana is merely 27 years old while Mah is 52 (almost twice her age). Dyana should not be looked down upon simply because she has a meagre diploma compared to Mah’s four bachelor degrees

By the time Dyana is 52, she may even have a better qualification than Mah. Education is not a fair playing ground considering the vast difference in their age

AM’s second and third point was regarding experience. He said that Mah was the Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) for Pasir Bedamar as well as a two-term Member of Parliament for Teluk Intan.

AM conveniently forgot to mention that Mah lost twice at Teluk Intan, while Dyana is yet to lose. Primarily because she has never contested prior to Teluk Intan.

Yet again, this is not a very fair comparison as Dyana has only been in DAP for around 3 years and this is her debut whereas Mah is a political veteran and has had his fair shares of victories and defeats

One cannot say Mah is a better candidate simply because he has experience. Everyone needs to start somewhere! In due time, Dyana may be a better representative of the people. Only time will tell such things

AM forgot the crucial age factor when he mentioned that Mah was once “ketua Gerakan Teluk Intan, pimpinan gerakan Perak, setiausaha agung parti, ketua pemuda dan sekarang presiden parti. Dyana ahli biasa DAP.” Was Mah all that at the age of 27? Nope

As to position, Dyana is Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary. You know who else held a similar position? Teressa Kok. She’s the MP who won Seputeh with a 51,552 vote majority in the 13th General Election.

Undeniably it doesnt mean the same would happen to Dyana’s political career, but it does make the mind wonder if Lim Kit Siang has a knack for identifying politicians with a bright career ahead of them

The fourth point is about Mah being backed by “menteri besar, perdana menteri, menteri, agensi kerajaan pusat dan negeri.” How true is that? Mah failed to bring revolutionary changes to Teluk Intan despite being the MP there for two terms

Was it because he wasn’t adequately backed then? What has changed? Are things different now that Mah is president of Gerakan?

While it is true that BN makes up the federal government, forms the state government in Perak, and thus would logically pull strings to help those on their side, Dyana has something Mah doesn’t. B-R-A-V-E-R-Y. Dyana was brave enough to contest in a Chinese majority seat, whereas all this while, Mah has been contesting in Chinese majority seats

Although the odds are stacked against Dyana, I believe she would do her best to bring positive changes if she wins Teluk Intan. Mainly because she has a point to prove and a lot of critics to put to shame.

Point 5 seems like the killer as it would seem that Mah has the home ground advantage while Dyana is viewed as an “outsider.” However, in the past, M Manogaran and the late Seah Leong Peng both defeated Mah at Teluk Intan. Perhaps it is time to face the reality that being born at a place doesn’t mean one a definite winner and/or a better wakil rakyat 

Furthermore, Lim Kit Siang in his blog post rebutted this point by saying, “NOT being local did not prevent two Perak born former MCA presidents – Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Ong Ka Ting – from serving as MPs in Johor for most of their political lives.”

Regardless of the outcome, this will go down in history as one of the most bizarre by-elections thanks to the candidates, their parties, as well as all the dirty politics and cheap promises made

*You can always read this at The Malaysian Insider

Understandable But Unacceptable

Recently, Khairy Jamaluddin (who is also the UMNO Youth Chief) criticised the actions of the UMNO Youth members who stormed the Penang State Assembly seeking for RSN Rayer who infamously uttered “UMNO Celaka.”

In the exact statement, Khairy Jamaluddin (henceforth KJ) also said that the actions of the members were ‘understandable’ as they were “extremely upset”

Prima facie, it would appear as if KJ’s statement is an oxymoron. On one hand he criticises the actions undertaken, yet on the other hand, he says it is understandable. This of course led to many netizens including accusing KJ of being a political chameleon

Netizens say that KJ said it to please the public and yet maintain support from the members of his party. KJ’s criticising of the actions by the mob would mean he believes the conduct of the thugs was unacceptable

Upon further inspection, what KJ said isn’t oxymoronic. All it takes is a proper analogy and what KJ said would make perfect sense

For example, where a young girl has been murdered in cold blood and the father exacts revenge by killing the perpetrator, many would regard his actions as understandable but unacceptable

It is understandable because the father loves his daughter and the actions of the murderer took her away from him forever. Even the courts would sympathize with the father in such a situation

However, the courts cannot disregard the fact he has murdered another person. The taking of another person’s life is morally and legally wrong no matter what the reason. As such, the father will still be tried for murder

What the courts can do is to use the murder of the daughter as a mitigating factor in which the father may be handed a lighter sentence or whatnot. The father may even be given a suspended sentence if the court thinks it is just and equitable taking into account the circumstances of the case!

Ergo, it is possible for an action to be unacceptable but understandable. This doesn’t mean I condone the actions of the mob as I clearly stated my stance in “Reactions and Overreactions.”

What I’m merely trying to point out is that maybe KJ isnt a political chameleon after all. It isn’t fair to judge and condemn him without first critically assessing the logic behind his statement(s)

Abolishing “Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan”

This has been a topic of much scrutiny among Malaysians. Some blame sekolah jenis kebangsaan’s (SJK) as the cause of racism in Malaysia. They say something along the lines of, “if everyone (referring to the students) went to national schools, there would be no racism”

That could not be further from the truth. Firstly, Malaysians of all races can attend SJKs. It is not limited to just the Chinese. An article by The Star on the 18th of May 2014 highlighted SJK Chung Shan in Bayan Lepas which has many non-Chinese pupils.

“Of the school’s 209 pupils, 77 are Malay and 20 others are of Indian and other origins.” 46.4% of the school is made up of non-chinese students, thus dispelling any lies about SJKs only being for students of a specific racial origin

One may argue that SJK(C) Chung Shan is merely a one-off case. However, year after year we read about more parents being open to Chinese schools.

Earlier this year it was also reported that Malays made up half of the pupils in a Chinese school. So far I haven’t come across any news which alleges a Chinese school refused to accept non-chinese students

Moving on, SJKs do not spread hate. Pupils are not indoctrinated with “anti-Malay” or “anti-Islam” sentiments. If the SJKs did, would non-chinese parents still send their kids to the school?

In 2013, an article by The Malaysian Insider mentioned that Form Five student Wan Ashikin Ismail, who attends a Chinese vernacular school, said her best friends were Chinese and they conversed in Mandarin. The student also said, “I am not treated differently by students or teachers.” There’s no hint of favouritism or discrimination

Back SJK(C) Chung Shan, “School principal Eng Phaik Kim said they (the pupils) had been taught to interact with each other to showcase the diverse cultural mix in Malaysia.” Contrary to popular belief, SJKs foster national unity just as much as Sekolah Kebangsaan’s do

Moreover, “the perception that Chinese primary schools have stricter discipline, placed a heavier emphasis on academic excellence and the economic rise of China have also persuaded growing numbers of non-Chinese parents to choose Chinese primary schools.”

One of the pre-requisites to a good career is a good education. As such, which parent wouldn’t want to send their kid to a school which has a good track record? If Chinese schools can provide good education, Malaysian parents wouldn’t mind it.  

Lastly, SJKs merely want to preserve their mother tongue & culture. As BM is the national language, we (Malaysians) do not need to worry about it ever disintegrating. The same however, can’t be said about Tamil and Mandarin

Now that we have established the fact that SJKs are not sowing racist ideology into the minds of schoolchildren, is being sensitive to the needs of our compatriots too much to ask? All they want is preservation of the language and their culture

Of course if one day the perks of SJKs can be incorporated into our national schools, there wouldn’t be a need for vernacular schools, thus leading to its abolishment. Until such a time, respect the status quo

Oh The Irony

I could not help but chuckle when I read the article about our Prime Minister telling the youths to steer clear of extremist teachings in his speech at the launch of the National Youth Day
celebration. It is very rich coming from the very guy who advocated the 1Malaysia concept and vowed to embark on national reconciliation after the 13th General Elections yet was as silent as a mouse when citizens of the country were called trespassers

His silence during Malaysia’s trying times is tantamount to implied consent to what has been said by extremist groups. Any right minded person who truly believes what he says would have made a stand. Our PM claims to be a moderate, but what he’s doing doesn’t seem to substantiate it?

It was also ironic that only a few days after this speech, members from the UMNO Youth Wing wrecked havoc by storming in the Penang state assembly building. The first analogy that comes to mind is about the mother crab teaching its son to walk straight.

Of course it is arguable that it was a provoked reaction, and it is not practical for a leader to be responsible for the actions of his members. Words were the provocation yet physical violence was the reaction. It would be an understatement to say it was a bit disproportionate

If the party members were on a frolic of their own, the leader should reprimand them. Publicly condemn their actions and suspend them for bringing shame to the party. It is the least one can do to mitigate the damage caused

Although our PM encouraged youths to stay away from extremist teachings, the contrary seems to be happening. Such unacceptable behaviour must be eradicated from our society or we may lose everything we have built up over the years!

However, it is a consolation that the police are taking action against the troublemakers. One can only hope that the police will do so without fear or favour

The Wrong Mentality

Barisan Nasional (BN) seems to have the wrong mentality when it comes to by-elections. This is despite the fact they have been in power ever since Malaya achieved its independence. BN approaches by-elections with the “vote for me and I’ll do this for you” mentality

Amongst others, BN promised to settle the problem of Tamil schools in Teluk Intan, as well as to give Rela members new uniforms IF and ONLY IF BN’s candidate (Mah) wins the by-election.

When Penang wanted to build a Tamil secondary school, BN opposed it. However, just for the sake of garnering Indian votes in Teluk Intan, BN are willing to fork out money to deal with issues plaguing the Tamil schools in the constituency

The Deputy Minister of Education II had the guts to say, “Jika BN menang, sudah pasti segala masalah dapat diatasi dengan segera.” What is BN implying? That if they lose, despite being the ruling coalition, they are unable to help the Tamil schools in Teluk Intan?

If BN was sincere about helping the people of Teluk Intan, they would have done so a long time ago. As cliche as it sounds, “actions speak louder than words”

Regarding the Rela uniforms, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi said, “If he (Mah) doesn’t win, you must buy it (the new Rela uniforms) yourself.” Could this amount to bribery? ‘Vote for BN and you’ll get a new uniform’. Or worst still, could it amount to a threat? ‘If you do not vote for us, you are paying for your own uniform’

Furthermore, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (who is also our Minister of Communication and Multimedia) said that Teluk Intan’s broadband facilities could only be improved if the parliamentary seat was held by a BN representative.

He said that, “This (the improvement of Teluk Intan’s broadband facilities) is a good proposition and can only be realised if the candidate comes from the same party as the one that oversees the local authorities.” Anyone notice the trend? ‘Vote for us and we’ll do this for you. Don’t vote for us and we can’t do it’

I agree with Dyana Sofya (DAP candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election) when she said, “It doesn’t matter who wins this coming by-election, it is still the responsibility of the ministry to improve broadband speed in the area.” BN needs to get their priorities right. They serve the rakyat, not otherwise

The right way to approach a by-election is by capitalising on past performance. If BN has truly served the people in Teluk Intan despite not winning there the past 2 elections, they would have plenty to show for. ‘We have done so and so over the past few years. This is why we would best represent the people of this constituency’

This article can also be found at The Malay Mail Online

Is The Spike In Racial & Religious Extremism Due To A Weak Government?

I couldn’t disagree more with our former Prime Minister (PM), Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he suggested that the weak government has led to a spike in racial and religious extremism. I quote, “Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration’s weak mandate in the 2013 general elections has caused a spike in racial and religious extremism.”

I for one fail to see the connection. Is it possible that because Barisan Nasional narrowly won the 13th General Elections, that the laws of the land are not able to be enforced? Thus resulting in a spike in racial and religious extremism as it is not nipped in the bud

The laws of our land are applicable till the day they are revoked, regardless of who is in power or how they got into power. Is it possible that our current PM refuses to prosecute troublemakers out of acrimony to those who rejected him and his party in the last elections?

Dr M goes on to say, “Najib has his hands tied and cannot take action against those who abuse liberalism for fear of being labelled as an illiberal by his critics.” There’s nothing illiberal about acting against malfeasance, especially one which we have laws for! I am flabbergasted at the fact we have profuse laws restricting the freedom of speech, especially when it comes to inciting racial and/or religious hate, yet it is being underutilized or misused in certain cases.

In fact, the majority of Malaysians are supportive of action being taken against those who are misusing their freedom of speech. A wise man by the name of Dante Alighieri once said, “A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.” Deal not with the root cause, and you may just have a forest fire on your hands

The Government needs to take proactive steps to ameliorate the problem. Either that or further risk ‘losing your mandate’ in the next general election. It’s your move

* This article can also be read at The Malaysian Insider

An Overview Of SOSMA

SOSMA is the short form for the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. The act was enacted in 2012 as a replacement to the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA)

SOSMA covers ‘Criminal conspiracy’ (Chapter VA of the Penal Code) and ‘Offences against the State’ (Chapter VI of the Penal Code). Some of the interesting provisions of the Act worth taking note include:

A. Power of arrest and detention (s.4)

s.4(1) allows a police officer (henceforth PO) to arrest & detain without warrant, a person he believes is involved in security offences

s.4(2) states that the person arrested would be informed of the grounds of arrest by the PO making the arrest “as soon as may be”

s.4(3), no person can be arrested & detained under s.4 solely for his “political belief/political activity”

s.4(4) articulates that the arrested person can be detained for 24 hours

s. 4(5) allows the period of detention to be extended to 28 days (max.) by a PO ranked Superintendent or above

B. Notification of next-of-kin and consultation with legal practitioner (s.5)

s.5(1) states that when a person is arrested & detained under s.4, the PO conducting the investigation will
(a) immediately notify the next-of-kin about the arrest, and
(b) allow the detainee to consult a legal practitioner [subject to subsection(2)]

s.5(2), the delay of legal consultation for 48 hours (max.) may be authorised by a PO ranked Superintendent or above

Grounds for the delay of consultation under s.5(2)
(a) reasonable grounds to believe it may interfere with the evidence
(b) it will lead to harm to another
(c) it will lead to alerting another suspect not yet arrested, or
(d) it will hinder the recovery of property obtained as a result of the offence

C. Power to intercept communication (s.6)

D. Bail (s.13)

s.13(1), bail shall NOT be granted to a person charged with a security offence

s.13(2) states that a person below 18 years old, a woman, or a sick/infirm person not charged with an offence relating to terrorism may be released on bail depending on certain conditions