Archive for May 7th, 2007

Samy Vellu – why marginalisation of Indians worsened nine years after Anwar sacked from Umno?

MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu yesterday castigated Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Anwar Ibrahim, accusing him of deceit and not helping Indian estate workers when he was in power.

When Anwar was deputy prime minister, he “did nothing” for the estate workers, let alone the Indian community, said the Works Minister.

Samy Vellu said: “I have copies of letters I sent to him seeking assistance (for estate workers when Anwar was deputy prime minister), but he did not lift a finger to help.”

This was the MIC President’s response to Anwar who had said that Indians in estates were treated like slaves and subjected to abject poverty. “They live in fear of thugs and their overlord minister. The Indians are treated as third class, not by us but by you,” Anwar said, referring to Samy Vellu.

Anwar said estate workers were intimidated and bribed into supporting the Barisan Nasional during the recent Ijok state constituency by-election.

Anwar is fully capable to defending himself and I have no intention of replying on Anwar’s behalf.

However, I have received calls from Malaysian Indians wanting to know from Samy Vellu why the MIC President had been a party to the marginalization of Indians and kept quiet for so long even now. Read the rest of this entry »


Freeze new Maybank bumi ruling until EPU methodology on ethnic equity ownership made public

Although Maybank Bhd has said that it will review its new ruling that with effect from 1-7-2007, one of the criteria for legal firms to be on its panel is that 50% of the equity of the partnership of the legal firm must be held by Bumiputras, its statement is ambivalent and unsatisfactory.

This is because the Maybank statement seems to imply two things:

  • firstly, that existing legal firms which are already on the Maybank panel, and which had been given one year to comply with the new ruling, may now be exempted from the 50% bumiputra partnership ruling;
  • secondly, that for all practical purposes, new legal firms will have to comply with the 50% bumiputra partnership ruling if they are to be emplaced on the bank’s panel.

In keeping with the principles of CSR (corporate social responsibility), Maybank Bhd should not speak in ambiguities but must make clear its policies and guidelines. For this reason, Maybank should clearly explain whether the 50% bumiputra partnership ruling for its panel lawyers will come into force on 1st July 2007 and how it will impact separately on its existing panel lawyers and new firms.

The controversy raised by the Maybank ruling, whether on the blogosphere or among the Malaysian public, have highlighted one important issue — that the few law firms doing good business with the government, statutory bodies or public listed companies with large government holdings are the politically connected ones, which is a more important consideration than whether they are bumiputra owned and operated or with substantial bumi equity.

Or as one poster on my blog put it: “In many of the cases if there is a bumiputra partner he’s probably a retired government servant or a stay-at-home mom who lends their names for a few bucks every month”.

I call on Maybank to be a model of CSR and make public the top 25 legal firms on its panel which have been given the most bank business each year for the past 10 years. This is to allow Malaysians to judge whether the criteria for legal firms on its panel who are given the most Maybank business are the politically-connected ones rather than based on meritocracy or other critera. Read the rest of this entry »


Taib Mahmud digging hole to bury himself with preposterous bill to silence the Opposition?

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud sounded very brave last weekend when addressing Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers in Damai Resort in a seminar with the most inappropriate topic, namely “The role of political leaders: integrity and development”.

In the Star report headlined “Taib: Use law to fight back”, the Sarawak Chief Minister was quoted as telling Sarawak Barisan Nasional State Assembly members: “Fight any smear campaign bravely.”

This has reminded everyone of Taib’s 48-hour ultimatum to Malaysiakini to remove several articles concerning accusations of corruption allegedly linked to him and his family after the Japan Times report implicating Taib in a scandal involving RM32 million in kickbacks paid by Japanese shipping companies for timber from the resource-rich state.

Seventeen days have passed since the expiry of Taib’s 48-hour ultimatum to Malaysiakini to remove the “offensive” articles or he would institute legal proceedings to clear his name and reputation.

Why hasn’t Taib instituted legal proceedings yet?

In his speech last week, Taib told Sarawak BN backbenchers:

“Don’t fear. We have to fight it out.

“I will show you how we can protect ourselves through the legal system.”

Everyone thought Taib was reassuring Sarawak BN backbenchers that he would be instituting legal proceedings against Malaysiakini and others to clear his name when he spoke about using the legal system to “fight back” but everyone was wrong. Read the rest of this entry »


What else does the govt want from us?

What else does the Govt want from Us?
by Richard Teo

On the same day when it was reported that two major banks “require law firms to have a minimum of three partners of which one must be Bumiputra with a minimum 50 per cent stake in the firm before they can do any business with the banks” another report in Singapore says “Job ads in the city: No age, race.”

Two different emphasis on policy matters, one from our close neighbour Singapore and one from our own virtually sums up the two different directions we are heading.

After 50 years of being in power our leaders are still promulgating laws and policies which are dividing the nation while in Singapore, the rationale is to eliminate race as a criterion to select candidates for jobs believing in the concept that “multi-racialism is a fundamental principle here”.

How divergent and different each nation’s path has become.One will lead the nation to ultimate destruction whilst the other will grow and prosper.

How can our leaders be so myopic and parochial? Why must it always be the Malays vs Chinese thing? Can’t they adopt a more pragmatic view that the Chinese are not their enemies and that we are all sitting in the same boat. If this boat sinks we sink together. Read the rest of this entry »


Dengue – a failure of medical leadership

by Gabriel

I refer to the news that Malaysia is seeing a higher death toll from dengue fever this year. Health Ministry’s Director of Disease Control, Hasan Abdul Rahman said 44 people had died in the first four months of 2007 from 16,214 cases reported, compared to 21 deaths and 10,244 cases in the same period last year.

Even more disturbing is the statement that the disease has seen a rise of 16 per cent in cases every year since 2003 with fatalities reaching record levels in 2004, when 102 people died.

The Ministry’s Deputy Director-General, Ramlee Rahmat further appears to have even identified the cause for the rise attributing it to unkempt construction sites, indifferent contractors and land owners, public complacency and ideal weather conditions for breeding the Aedes mosquito.

Primary health care officials, having already identified the problems, may need to do more if this plague is to be dealt with more effectively.

The time is appropriate for them to speak to the DPM and ask for emergency powers for they may have no clout if some of these problems fall into the domain of the Environmental Ministry or local councils who may take a lackadaisical attitude to this endemic plague which can very well rapidly escalate to be an epidemic if these erratic weather conditions continue to facilitate the exponential breeding of the Aedes aegypti.

How indeed memories are short for authorities do not appear to remember the other great mosquito scourge that swamped this country in its early years — malaria. Read the rest of this entry »