Archive for May 22nd, 2007

Two sexist BN MPs – Cabinet must step in tomorrow to reject their fake apologies

The Cabinet tomorrow must step in to make clear that the two sexist Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan)’s fake apologies are unacceptable and support civil society’s demand for six-month suspension as MP and community service with women groups as punishment for the duo, with parliamentary allowances for this period donated in their entirely to women organizations.

It will be a most adverse reflection on the Cabinet and government if Cabinet Ministers endorse the fake apologies by the duo, including accepting the report of the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who had clearly failed to stand up for gender respect, sensitivity and equality in her eagerness to resolve the controversy — even if it was in the form of fake, insincere and dishonest “apologies”.

If Shahrizat had not realized that she had been bamboozled by the two BN MPs with their fake apologies, she should have realized it by now in the face of very critical and even hostile public comments at her failure to do justice to repair the grave wrong done in Parliament by the sexism of the two BN MPs — bringing shame and dishonour to DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, Malaysian women, Parliament and the nation’s international reputation — as well as women in ASEAN and the world!

In the mishandling of the latest instance of sexist and male-chauvinist outbursts by the two BN MPs in Parliament, Shahrizat is becoming an even bigger issue than Mohd Said and Bung Mohtar. Read the rest of this entry »


Leaders of 5 original ASEAN nations should join call for Aung San Suu Ky’s release

The cause of democratization in Burma is a hard nut to crack and it is so easy to give way to despair as there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel after years and decades of sacrifice and struggle by the people of Burma for democracy, freedom and justice, with many tempted to dismiss it as a “lost cause”.

Burma has in fact been described as the world’s longest-running civil war that has lasted nearly 60 years and sent millions fleeing into Thailand and displaced 500,000 people in Myanmar — a period that saw the tragedy of the transformation of once Asia’s rich country into a basketcase.

Developments in Myanmar can both be interpreted as signs of weakness or consolidation of the repressive, ruthless and mendacious military junta, whether it be the abrupt relocation of the national capital from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw, about 390 kilometres north of Yangon in November 2005 or the construction of four vast hydro-power dams on the Salween River which have already destroyed 232 villagers in the country’s resource-rich east, drove 82,000 people from their homes, triggering a new wave of forced labour and devastating Salween’s ecosystem.

National and international attention is now focused on the date next week, May 27, when the latest period of detention of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi ends after having spent more than 11 of the past 17 years under some form of detention.

Would the Myanmese military junta, which has ruled Myanmar in various guises since 1962, ignored international calls for her release on May 27 and extend her detention as happened last year?

Last week, 59 former heads of state and government took the unprecedented step of issuing an Open Letter to the Myanmar military junta, calling for the immediate release of the Burmese Opposition leader and the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. Read the rest of this entry »


A simple and dignified wedding celebration spoiled by the presence of the State Mufti

by Richard Teo

Like many Malaysians, I was particularly enthralled when the Raja Muda, Raja Nazrin Shah in a speech some time ago declared that “Malaysians of all races, religions and geographic locations need to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have a place under the Malaysian sun”.

For such pearls of wisdom to flow from a regal figure is extraordinary especially when we compare to the diversive speech by our erstwhile politicians in a political meeting sometime ago.

However, like many others, I feel disappointed that the simple and dignified wedding celebrations was tainted by the presence of the State Mufti, Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria who was given a prominent role in conducting the wedding ceremony.

This religious head who is Perak’s State Mufti should have been charged and imprisoned for inciting racial riot at a Catholic church. His malicious intent to cause racial disharmony was deliberate. From his pulpit he announced to his shocked congregation that a mass conversion was about to take place in a Christian church.

His infuriated Muslim congregation marched to the Catholic Church and almost cost a riot. Fortunately, an ulgy incident was averted when it was found that the conversion was for a group of Indian girls. Read the rest of this entry »