Archive for May, 2007

After Lina Joy case – Malaysia, Quo Vadis!

The Federal Court 2-1 majority decision rejecting Lina Joy’s appeal marks a tectonic shift of Malaysia in moving further and further away from the Merdeka “Social Contract” founding principles of nation-building agreed by the forefathers of the major communities on the attainment of independent nationhood.

It casts a larger shadow over the national horizon with the country entering the second half-century of nationhood, with increasing doubts among Malaysians about the meaning, permanence, sustainability and viability of constitutional guarantees, civil liberties and fundamental rights.

This is because the Lina Joy case has shattered confidence in the constitutional guarantees on freedom of religion, the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and above all, the sacred Merdeka “Social Contract” underlying the Constitution that Malaysia is a secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.

Malaysians alarmed at the abandonment of the “Social Contract” principles are fully justified in their concerns, especially when one compares as to what would have happened to a Lina Joy case in the first quarter-century of the nation’s history as compared to today when the nation stands on its 50th year of nationhood! Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia No. 9 ranking in perceived judicial corruption – so groundless/untrue that judiciary/govt. dare not claim credit

Since last Friday, I had been baffled and mystified by news reports that Malaysia is ranked ninth out of 62 countries in a global survey by Transparency International (TI) on perceived judicial corruption — which is so groundless and untrue that the judiciary and government are too embarrassed to come forward to claim credit.

At the launching of the TI Global Corruption Report 2007 on “Corruption in Judicial Systems” marked by a panel discussion participated by the Bar Council and the Malaysia Integrity Institute, Transparency International Malaysia President Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said he was “pleasantly surprised” with the TI survey on perceived judicial corruption for Malaysia.

If it is true that Malaysia is ranked as the ninth least corrupt nation in the world in perceived judicial corruption, then it is a fantastic feather in the cap on the occasion of Malaysia’s 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations and should be trumpeted all over the country and the world as Malaysians have the right to take pride at such an achievement.

But mystery of mysteries, there had been total silence from the judiciary and the government on the claim that Malaysia is ranked No. 9 among the world’s cleanest judiciary in the whole of the past week — when the government had never been shy in exploiting such good news to the hilt.

For instance, when Malaysia’s world competitiveness ranking improved by five places and was ranked 16th as compared to 21st position in 2003 in the Swiss-based International Institute of Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2004, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi immediately quoted it as authority in his keynote address at the Malaysia-China Business Dialogue in Beijing on 28th May 2004 during his first official visit to China as premier as testimonial why Malaysia was a good place to do business.

However, when Malaysia’s world competitiveness ranking plunged 12 places from 16th to 28th position in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005 in May 2005, it was met with a six-month stony silence by Ministers and government leaders as if the report never existed.
Why is the judiciary and government behaving so strangely as if they are more embarrassed than elated by the TI’s global survey reportedly placing Malaysia in the world’s top 10 countries on judicial integrity and honesty.

Could it be that the judiciary and government do not believe it themselves and are too shy to claim credit for what they know is patently groundless and untrue? Read the rest of this entry »


Why 5-month paralysis in appointment of Chief Judge, Malaya?

The Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim announced at the close of the Asia-Pacific Judicial Reform Forum yesterday that a study would be conducted on judicial systems in the region to determine if a judicial commission on the appointment and promotion of judges would ensure the independence of the judiciary.

He said judicial experts will be looking at how judges are appointed and promoted, then look at which system would be best for the independence of the judiciary — and the preferred system will be recommended for countries in the region to adopt.

Justice Kenneth Madison Hayne of the High Court of Australia said six weeks would be set aside to collate the information and present it in a usable format.

He said: “Factual information will definitely be published, but we would be circumspect about publishing opinions expressed in the survey”.

Fairuz’ announcement is a disappointment for three reasons:

Firstly, while it is commendable that the Asia-Pacific Judicial Roundtable Forum wants to make a regional study whether a judicial commission on the appointment and promotion of judges would ensure the independence of the judiciary, it is most presumptuous for the judges at the Judicial Roundtable Forum to assume that only members of the judiciary are most qualified to decide on the question, excluding other equally if not more important stakeholders such as lawyers and laypersons of the civil society.

In fact, it is a very pertinent question whether judges are the most suitable and capable persons to solely decide on the question of the independence of the judiciary, which affect not only judges but the larger societies which they serve.

The history of mankind has proved again and again that the principle of the independence of the judiciary had often to be salvaged and established not only in the face of opposition of reactionary power-holders but in many cases in the teeth of opposition of serving judges as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Collective resignation of Ministers to give Abdullah free hand to end farce of “half-past six” Cabinet

Yesterday’s New Straits Times journalist Fauzlah Ismail wrote a report on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s visit to Japan last week which should be compulsory reading and critical discussion by all Cabinet Ministers for their weekly meeting tomorrow to lift them out of their “half-past six” malaise.

Entitled “Broaden horizons during trips abroad, says Abdullah”, Fauzlah started with the observation: “Trips abroad, be it official or working visits, are not just about the fixed itinerary. It is about observing the culture of the countries visited and finding those that can be emulated back home.”

Fauzlah said that Abdullah used his fourth visit to Japan since taking office in 2003 to observe what the Japanese do best and what examples he could bring home for Malaysians to emulate.

Clearly what struck the Prime Minister most was the culture of maintenance in Japan, causing him to ask newsmen covering his five-day visit last week:

“Did you check their toilets? Did you notice how clean the city is?”

He was impressed with the Japanese culture of maintenance, especially of public buildings and places.

Fauzlah wrote:

“Indeed, the toilets, especially at the Narita International Airport where millions of local and foreign passengers go through, and the city were impeccably clean.”

Another part of Japanese culture which struck Abdullah was queuing. Fauzlah quoted the Prime Minister: “Do you see people or cars jumping queue? The queue may be long but they still wait their turn.”

There was a third thing about the Japanese which impressed Abdullah – when the Prime Minister was reminded of the Malaysian habit of passing the buck to others.

“This has to stop. The departments and agencies concerned must take responsibility. Whoever is responsible must know what he is responsible for and take action without being told to do so.” Read the rest of this entry »


Will Cabinet adopt “RM22,500 fines for selling Milo at RM1.80” rule to fight corruption?

The Cabinet tomorrow should decide whether it is prepared to endorse and adopt the “RM22,500 fines for selling Milo at RM1.80” rule as the yardstick to punish the corrupt among the high and mighty to restore integrity and good governance in public life in Malaysia.

This follows the very high-handed action of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry enforcement officers penalizing a mamak restaurant in Kuala Terengganu, Restoran Nasi Kandar Tanjung, issuing compound fines of RM22,500 for charging RM1.80 for a glass of iced Milo.

The Ministry enforcement officers also seized food and drinks worth about RM750 and they also tore down the shop’s signboard.

Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was full of praise for the high-handed enforcement action, which had been criticized as overzealous and unwarranted, saying that it was high time such severe action be a lesson to all food outlet operators who flouted the law.

Are the RM22,500 fines for charging RM1.80 for a glass of iced Milo defensible? Absolutely not, as they are not only high-handed, overzealous, unwarranted but gross abuses of power.

I fully endorse actions by enforcement officers against food operators or traders for indiscriminate price increases, but one power abuse cannot justify another even more heinous power abuse.

I am all for the deterrent principle, as contained in the Chinese saying “to kill a fowl to frighten the moneys”, to curb exorbitant profiteering but this cannot justify gross abuses of power which undermines public confidence in good governance in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Backman – most wasteful projects in Malaysia

Exclusive Interview with Michael Backman

1. What was the initial thought that prompted you to write about your “Boleh or Bodoh column”? What was and has been your intention in writing the article?

Malaysia has good people, good resources and a legal system that ought to function. It depresses me that Malaysia hasn’t been more successful than it has and that it is still fighting the old fights of the 1960s.

Malaysia ‘s Chinese have accepted the NEP and its successor policies. They define themselves as Malaysians first and foremost and are among the proudest Malaysians. They have learned Malay. Essentially, they have done everything that has been required of them and yet still there is this endless preoccupation with race in Malaysia.

Meanwhile the rest of the world is just so unbelievably dynamic now. Malaysia is looking more and more like a sleepy backwater relative to what’s going on elsewhere in the world.

Many Malaysians don’t seem to understand this. Many like to travel overseas – but when they do, too many look but they don’t see. They don’t see how things in Malaysia could be improved. They don’t want to learn from anywhere else. They think Malaysia is a special case. They should be bringing back new ideas to Malaysia. Instead they just want to bring back duty free.

2. Have you ever considered the impact the column might have upon your relationship with Malaysian government and its people? We understand Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia’s Minister for Trade and Industry, criticised your column by saying you probably know nothing about Malaysia. Has there been any (positive or negative) impact/response from publishing the column? Read the rest of this entry »


Forum on civil service excellence

English Forum: Civil Service Excellence: Quality vs Quantity

The Government must hence take the painful but very important step of trimming the civil service sector into a leaner and more efficient “machine”. The increase in pay will be a waste of public funds, if the move is not accompanied by a corresponding increase in civil service productivity.” – Tony Pua

Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO mendesak Pua dan DAP mengambil langkah memperbetulkan kata-kata mereka yang langsung tidak bertimbang rasa dan begitu menghina sekali.”

Pua’s negative comments about the civil service can cause considerable damage to the morale and image of the public sector.” – Khairy Jamaluddin


Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader

Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, PKR Secretary-General

A. H. Ponniah, former Secretary of Public Service International (Asia-Pacific Region)

Nurul Izzah Anwar, Special Assistant to Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Tony Pua, Economic Advisor to DAP Secretary-General

Open invitation to Khairy Jamaluddin, UMNO Deputy Youth Chief

Venue: KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

Date: 30th May 2007 (Wednesday)

Time: 8.00 pm

Admission is Free


Can of worms – new govt buildings without CFs in last 20 years

The press today reports of the “crack-up” of another spanking new government building – the ceiling collapse of the RM450 million Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sungai Petani which fell in two separate areas yesterday and on Saturday.

The New Straits Times story, “Hospital’s ceiling collapses” reported:

“In both the incidents, 28 ceiling panels came crashing down but no one was injured.

“On Saturday, 12 pieces collapsed at the men’s ward, about 1.45pm.

“Fortunately, the panels did not hit the four patients in the ward, recovering from post-surgery.

“The same day, eight panels fell at the lobby.

“At noon yesterday, eight panels fell into the pantry of the children’s nursery and intensive care unit.

“The pantry was vacant when the incident happened.”

It was clearly a fantastic run of luck that nobody was injured in the rain of ceiling panels — but no one should bank on such luck in future misadventures.

The Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital “crack-up” is the latest in a lengthening list of “crack-ups” of new government buildings, led by mammoth structures in the brand-new administrative capital of Putrajaya, followed by mishaps in Parliament after RM100 million renovation and the RM270 million world’s second largest court complex in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.

It was only a week ago that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced a RM8 billion hike in civil service salaries and allowances — but it now seemed so distant, overwhelmed by one government mishap after another, that Malaysians are asking whether it is turning out to be a RM8 billion grand cover-up of government scandals and foul-ups of the public service delivery system. Read the rest of this entry »


Hishammuddin’s directive barring transfer of SK pupils to SJKT/SJKC unlawful & unconstitutional

The Cabinet on Wednesday should strike out the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s directive under Section 8 of 1996 Education Act in unlawfully and unconstitutionally barring national primary school pupils from transferring to Tamil or Chinese primary schools although a revers transfer is allowed.

As pointed out by DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran last week, many parents have complained that they have not been able to transfer their children from national primary schools to Tamil or Chinese primary schools, as the policy of the Education Ministry is to allow only a one-way transfer – from Tamil or Chinese primary schools to national primary schools but not vice versa.

Kulasegaran cited the case of a 37-year-old woman who had sent two appeals to the Education Ministry to transfer her eight-year-old son from national primary school to a Tamil primary school, but was rejected on both occasions on the policy ground of “racial integration”. Read the rest of this entry »


Chua Soi Lek should resign or retract his statement

by Richard Teo

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek Should resign or retract what he said when he suggested that “Medical graduates who studied overseas may have to sit for a unified medical examination and,whether their university is recognised or not, a pass in the examination would allow them to practise in Malaysia”.

Almost all medical students who opted to obtain their medical degrees overseas are force by circumstances and not by choice.

Dr. Chua should be aware that majority of STPM students who attained excellent grades were deprieved of an opportunity to do medicine at a local university because most of the places were filled by Matriculation students reserved for bumiputras.

The dilemma faced by students who aspire to become doctors were either to do their course in a private medical instituition or venture overseas if they can afford the astronomical costs.

For those who can afford and opted to do their course overseas the news of Dr. Chua’s statement that they have to undergo a medical exam in order to practice in Malaysia must be a body blow. Read the rest of this entry »


Dewan Rakyat House Committee – 5 BN MPs not fit and should resign

Before I left Kuala Lumpur last Sunday for Tokyo for an international conference at the Japan Diet, I had issued a media statement calling on the Dewan Rakyat House Committee under the chairmanship of the Speaker to come out of its hibernation and hold an emergency meeting to take ownership of the many deplorable problems of Parliament House — roof leaking and even fire risks from short circuit despite a RM100 million renovation two years ago — and to resolve them once and for all.

The sole Opposition MP on the House Committee, Tan Kok Wai (DAP — Cheras) wrote to the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah as Chairman of the House Committee on Monday asking for a House Committee meeting to discuss matters concerning Parliament’s leaky roofs, wiring, details of the building’s renovation and upgrading, its progress and the contractor’s inefficiency.

I just checked with Kok Wai and he told me that no meeting of the House Committee has been convened.

The other members of the House Committee apart from the Speaker and Kok Wai are all from the Barisan Nasional: the Chairman of Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club, Dato Raja Ahmad Zainudin bin Raja Omar (BN — Larut); P. Komala Dewi (Kapar), Datuk Goh Siow Huat (BN – Rasah), Datuk Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar (Santubong) and Datuk Suhaili bin Abdul Rahman (Labuan).

Malaysians are seeing a disgraceful aspect of Parliament – MPs of the Dewan Rakyat House Committee who are not in the least bothered about the scandals of leaking roof and fire hazards in Parliament despite RM100 million renovation. Read the rest of this entry »


Sukhoi fighter jet deal – something fishy

Kota Damansara

I just surfed the web and found three different news related to purchasing of Sukhoi fighter jet from Russia by Vietnamese, Indian and Malaysian governments. Go through the news and I will tell you why I smell something fishy here. Read the rest of this entry »


Don’t interfere in doctor transfers

by J Martin

I read with interest in the mainstream media regarding Lee Kah Choon’s reply in parliament and appeal to politicians from interfering with doctor’s transfers.

This, of course, is a long standing problem in not only the Health Ministry but almost every ministry in the country, especially when it involves the transfer of senior officers.

However the Health Minister should also look into other areas where politicians have been known to be a nuisance.

Politicians should further:

1. Not interfere where hospitals are to be built. We have frequently multi-million ringgit hospitals in constituencies where there are actually more cattle than people just because the ruling party candidate there wants a leg-up to win the election.

This is an absolute waste of health resources. Even recently the MOH suddenly allocated RM16 million for a “health clinic” for Ijok which has a total population of less then 15,000.

2. Not interfere with who gets the equipment contract to supply the MOH.

3. Not push their own favored, frequently incompetent contractors, to build hospitals.

4. Not interfere with who gets to supply pharmaceuticals and consumables.

5. Wives or husbands of politicians should not be promoted for positions when there are other more loyal and dedicated employees who have been waiting for ages to be promoted. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysian heads Fiji Anti-Corruption Commission?

(1) Radio New Zealand International

Head of Fiji’s Independent Commission against Corruption to remain head of LAWASIA

Posted at 01:33 on 26 May, 2007 UTC

The newly appointed commissioner of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption , Mah Weng Kwai of Malaysia, says he will remain the president of the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific.

As well, Mr Kwai has told the Fiji Times he will maintain his law practice in Kuala Lumpur.

He says he did not apply for the job but was offered it and accepted because of concern about allegations of corruption.

Mr Mah says he deems his appointment valid and questions about the validity of the commission would be best dealt with by the courts.

He says there is a need for foreigners to take up the reigns at the anti-corruption commission because they are not connected to local politics.

Read the rest of this entry »


World’s second largest court complex – most mishaps and no CF!

For two consecutive days on May 9 and 10, 2007, I had asked in my media statements whether a certificate for fitness for occupation (CF) had been issued for the second largest court complex in the world in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur in view of its many mishaps, and if so when.

If no CF was issued, why was the court complex allowed to be used; and if there was CF, whether actions would be taken against those who had been so negligent as to issue the CF when there are still so many defects, including structural ones, which had to be rectified?

There was silence from the relevant authorities for a fortnight, until Berita Harian front-page headline today screamed: “Mahkamah tiada CF — DBKL belum terima sebarang permohonan: Datuk Bandar”.

I am surprised that Datuk Nazri Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the law portfolio, had not acted with dispatch following the alert I sounded on May 9 as to whether there was any CF for the Jalan Duta court complex.

Nazri should also explain why two different figures for the cost of the court complex had been quoted by the media in the past month — RM270 million and RM290 million. Or have we reached a stage where RM20 million is chickenfeed and is not worth any bother, when damages, losses and criminal misappropriation are in the region of hundreds of millions or even billions of ringgit? Read the rest of this entry »


ASSK’s continued detention – suspend/expel Myanmar from ASEAN

The extension of the house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi by the Myanmese military junta, which will keep her confined to her residence for a fifth straight year, must be condemned in all ASEAN, Asian and world capitals.

Myanmar’s membership in ASEAN must be seriously reviewed as the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi marks the abysmal failure of the 10-year ASEAN experiment to influence the Myanmar military junta to be a responsible member of international community when Myanmar was admitted into ASEAN as a member in 1997 in the teeth of regional and international opposition.

At that time, the rationale was that “constructive engagement” with the Myanmese military junta was the only option for ASEAN nations to influence Yangon and wean it from its ruthless and repressive form of dictatorship as it had proved to be completely impervious to regional and international opinion.

This year 2007 marks the ten-year membership of Myanmar in ASEAN, which is also to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The blatant defiance of regional and international opinion urging the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who had spent 11 of the past 17 years in detention, despite the unprecedented Open Letter by 59 former heads of state and government including former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Presidents in ASEAN like Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati Sukarno is testimony that the Myanmar military junta is not prepared to make any concession to become a responsible member of the international community.

In the circumstances, the other ASEAN nations must seriously consider whether they should continue to allow Myanmar to be a millstone around the neck of ASEAN, bringing disrepute to the regional organization, or whether they should face up seriously to the option to suspend or expel Myanmar from ASEAN.


Electronic discovery – Of bytes and briefs

May 17th 2007
From The Economist

The courts are struggling to cope with information technology

A CHICAGO law firm recently put up a billboard with the slogan “Life’s short. Get a divorce.” Also on the billboard were pictures of a hot babe in her underwear and a hot hunk in a towel–a sample of the delights that await the newly single. This is the kind of lawyer story that makes the evening news. Deeper, broader problems with America’s legal system tend to be ignored. Electronic discovery is one.

What’s that? Well, let’s say you follow that Chicago law firm’s advice and sue for divorce. And let’s say your soon-to-be ex-spouse gets angry. His or her lawyers might then demand to inspect your hard drive so that they can, for example, acquaint the court with your love of porn before it decides who keeps the children.

As technology changes the way people communicate, the legal system is stumbling to keep up. The “discovery” process, whereby both parties to a lawsuit share relevant documents with each other, used to involve physically handing over a few boxes of papers. But now that most documents are created and stored electronically, it is mostly about retrieving files from computers. This has two important consequences.

First, e-discovery is more intrusive than the traditional sort. Catty or salacious gossip, the kind that was once swapped at the water cooler, is now often committed to e-mail. This is easy to subpoena and virtually impossible to erase. There is always a back-up somewhere, so even if you delete the e-mail privately denigrating a stock you are publicly urging your clients to buy, it will still be read out in court. If your firm is sued for sexual discrimination, expect the plaintiff to demand all the lewd e-mails your male executives have ever swapped with each other. Read the rest of this entry »


MPs Bung Mokhtar/Mohd Said – the “Ugly Malaysians”

The Barisan Nasional (BN) Member of Parliament for Kinabatangan Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin is trying to jump out of the burning quagmire which he found himself in together with the BN MP for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof as a result of their unrepentant and recalcitrant sexism in Parliament more than a fortnight ago.

He thinks that he has found a very smart exit strategy for his predicament by challenging me to contest against him in his Kinabatangan constituency in the next general election and even offering 1,000 votes free — which was given front-page treatment in Sabah newspapers yesterday.

He cannot be more wrong or naive to think that he could distract or deflect national and international attention from his unrepentant and unpunished male chauvinism in Parliament on May 9, 2007.

Clearly, Bung Mohtar just don’t get it — that there is no way he could extricate himself from the quagmire and the furore he and Mohd Said had created would go away by just turning it into a cheap farce, such as challenging me to contest against him in Kinabatangan.

The issue at stake has nothing to do with him and me, and that is why my answer is a definitive negative when a reporter asked whether I would counter-challenge Bung Mokhtar to contest against me in Ipoh Timur parliamentary constituency.

The question is solely about Bung Mohktar himself Bung Mohtar’s greatest enemy is not any third party but his own self and he must wrestle with his own soul and devil as well as his own sense of decency, as he and Mohd Said have become the worst examples of “Ugly Malaysians” on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary, bringing shame and dishonour to Parliament, the nation and women in Malaysia, ASEAN and the world. Read the rest of this entry »


“No more govt inefficiencies, no more IPCMC sabotage, no more mirages”

One of my first reactions when I received news in Tokyo on Monday of the Prime Minister’s announcement of pay rise and doubling of cost of living allowances for the civil service – and in particular the 18% to 42% in the basic salary increase for the police – is whether the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill will at last be presented to Parliament next month for passage to demonstrate government commitment to have a world-class police service, whether in reducing crime, professionalism, accountability or integrity.

I had given my full support both in Parliament and outside for a generous increase in police pay as Malaysians want to have a world-class police service which is professional, accountable, incorruptible and efficient in reducing crime to restore to Malaysians their fundamental citizenship right to be free from crime and the fear of crime in the streets, public places and the privacy of their homes.

The reaction of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to the “generous pay increase” has been quite euphoric, as illustrated by the headlines: “IGP: No more bribes, no more excuses” (The Sun), “IGP: No excuse for cops to take bribes now” (The Star) and “Musa: No leeway for corrupt cops” (New Straits Times).

Although the expression of Musa’s euphoric reaction is quite deplorable, as it is self-exculpatory in justifying the erstwhile police notoriety as one of the most corrupt government departments, let’s not quibble over the past but look forward to a clean, new and corruption-free future for the police service from now.

Malaysians have heard of many past announcements of “new dawns” for a professional world-class police service to keep crime low but they have all proved to be mirages. Examples of such past illusions include: Read the rest of this entry »


Samy Vellu sexist – comparing dilapidated 43-yr-old Parliament with 50 yr-old woman

by Loh Cheng Kooi

Barely has the dust of the “bocor incident” settled in the House of Parliament when we are jolted with yet another gender insensitive statement. It is outrageous that the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu finds it necessary to draw a parallel between the dilapidated state of the 43 year old Parliament House which is in need of maintenance and renovation to the looks of a woman of 50 years. This is not the first time the Minister has made such statements. In October 2005, he was quoted to have compared “toilets to new brides”.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) finds it is inexcusable that one of the longest serving Cabinet Ministers in the country chose a sexist comment to make his point on the need for renovation works on the Parliament House. His remarks reinforce the gender stereotype that a woman’s worth lies with her extrinsic attributes (looks) and not with her intrinsic qualities as a human being. His statement and comparison are demeaning and an affront to women of all ages as they reduce women to objects of beauty, depreciating in value over time.

The Works Minister’s comment taken together with the recent ‘bocor’ remark, also makes a mockery of the role and function of the Gender Cabinet Committee on Gender Equality and the government’s ratification of the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as well as the Federal Constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. Read the rest of this entry »