Archive for June 27th, 2007

Tolerance my ass!

I have received the following very angry email from MS, with a very ferocious heading which I am using – breaking a rule of this blog:

Couldnt help feeling this angry today. I know at my age, I am supposed to be mellowing out, looking forward to a nice chilled day and now what? I find myself with the same amount of righteous anger as I had when I was 16 – going through puberty and finding the world most unfair that my mum wouldnt allow me to have my first pair of cargo pants!

I was sitting in the banana leaf shop this morning having a roti and a coffee when a group of JAWI officers entered the premises. 10 officers to be exact, into this little shop. They spent a good 20 minutes going through the place (and it is a small place!) and finally one officer writes out a writ and gives it to the cashier. They then left. Curious, I asked the cashier what that was all about and he replied that they were not allowed to have their little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop “because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops” . What utter nonsense! Are we still living in the Malaysia that is so “famed” for its “religious tolerance”?? The shop is not a mamak shop. It is an Indian Banana leaf shop. Why would it be surprising that they should have signs of their religious beliefs in their own space? I didnt think that sort of thing was illegal (please correct me if I am wrong). What is wrong with this picture? Will it come down to the point when my Muslim friends should not visit my home just because I have a cross or a chinese altar there? PLEASE!

Better yet, I discovered as I was leaving , that the JAWI personnel had targetted the other 3 banana leaf shops along that row of old shops (near the vets office – off Jalan Maarof). There were at least 4 nos of vans for the officers , ALL double parked on the main road and causing an inconvenience to the other road users. Is there a separate set of laws that govern these people? Notwithstanding the fact that they are trampling all over the definition of religious tolerance in this country , they also flaunt the general laws of the land. This makes me really angry and sad about the state of our country. Read the rest of this entry »

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“A person who had not been robbed is not a true JB-ite”

The people of Johor Baru and Johore state should make full use of the public hearing of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights in Johor Baru on Sunday, 8th July 2007 to voice out their hopes and fears about the crime situation in the southern capital and state.

The 250% exceeding of the target of the 100,000-signature campaign launched by the Johor Baru Chung Hua Association for the restoration of safety, law and order in the Johore capital, with 350,000 signatures collected from all over the country, including online, from all races, religions, classes, gender and age group, illustrates the gravity of the problem of the crime situation in JB, Johore and Malaysia.

It is commendable that the top police leadership is showing serious response, with the visit of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to Johor Baru yesterday and the Johore Chief Police Officer, Datuk Hussin Ismail himself going down to the “black areas” of crime in JB on night patrol.

There must be all-round determination that this time, the public revulsion against the high crime rate and rampant lawlessness in JB, must be a sustained and long-term commitment and not a short-term response to the public outcry. This is for the safety of all Malaysian citizens and their loved ones, tourists and investors.

The notoriety of JB as the capital of crime must be wiped out, and the self-deprecating and shameful definition that a person who had not been robbed is not a genuine resident of JB must be a thing of the past.

The Police should announce the “black areas” of crime in JB, Johore and the country which will enable the public to monitor the success of the police drive to turn them into “safe” crime-free and low-crime areas.

I hope the public hearing of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights in JB on July 8 can help to wipe out such a definition of a JB resident — a person who had been robbed at least once. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st priority for PM on return from honeymoon – first meeting with MTUC leaders in 44 months

I have today given notice to the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah for an urgent parliamentary debate on the demand for minimum wage and cost of living (Cola) for private-sector workers in a motion of urgent definite importance on Monday.

This is the motion I will move on Monday:

“That under Standing Order 18(1), the House gives leave to Ketua Pembangkang YB Lim Kit Siang to move a motion of urgent, definite public importance, viz: the MTUC demand for minimum wage and cost of living allowance (Cola) for private sector with potential to result in large-scale industrial action.

“On Monday, 25th June 2007, Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) staged a 14-location nation-wide picketing by thousands of workers after discussions with the government on its campaign for a minimum wage of RM900 a month and cost of living (Cola) of RM300 for private sector employees came to a deadlock.

“A week earlier, MTUC presented a seven-page memorandum to the Prime Minister asking for minimum wage and Cola for the private sector but did not elicit any appropriate response.

“According to an MTUC study, some four million out of the 10 million workers it represents are earning below the poverty line. Even in Johor Baru where cost of living is extremely high, industrial workers are paid as low as RM390. Even five-star hotels in Kuala Lumpur pay a basic wage of RM290 per month to cleaners and waiters.

“The Prime Minister should initiate tripartite talks involving the government, MTUC and employer representatives on MTUC demand for minimum wage and Cola to avoid escalation of industrial action and ensure industrial peace with justice for three reasons:

  • A follow-up to the recent 35% salary increase and 100% increase in Cola for public sector employees to ensure that private-sector workers, especially in low-wage categories, are assured of a decent living and a basic fair wage;

  • The flooding of the country with millions of migrant workers on low wages and poor working conditions;
  • The loss of confidence of the MTUC in the Human Resources Minister YB Fong Chan Onn’s ability to resolve the issue.”

I am shocked to learn from the MTUC President, Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud that in his 44 months as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had not had any single meeting with the MTUC leaders despite repeated MTUC requests for such a dialogue. Read the rest of this entry »

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