Archive for November 9th, 2007

Bersih Gathering/Petition to Agong – PM should show the world that Malaysia is a democratic country

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should show the world that Malaysia is a democratic country by allowing the peaceful gathering organized by Bersih (Coalition for Free and Fair Elections) at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to submit a memorandum to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on electoral reforms.

Malaysia will become the laughing-stock in the international arena if Malaysians are not even allowed the fundamental and constitutional right provided in the Malaysian Constitution for 50 years to gather peacefully to submit a petition to the Royal Palace, not to advocate any violence or even for an overthrow of the government, but for electoral reforms to ensure that the next general election is clean, free and fair and the election results are not marred by electoral abuses, fraud and other malpractices.

Bersih officials have appealed to the Kuala Lumpur City Chief Police Officer, Datuk Zul Hasnan Najib against the rejection by the Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Mohd Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman for a permit the gathering at Dataran Merdeka.

The Police should be mindful of the important declaration in the Rukunegara that Malaysia is dedicated “to maintaining a democratic way of life”, and as such, it is one of the national objectives which the Police should be duly committed to protect and promote — by allowing the peaceful gathering to submit a petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on electoral reforms.

There is no basis whatsoever for the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to be “doubtful of the intentions” of Bersih or the peaceful character of the gathering as its sole purpose is to submit a petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

I for one can vouch for the bona fide of the peaceful gathering tomorrow and that there is no intention whatsoever by anyone to create any untoward incident. Read the rest of this entry »


Khairy has made “Unhappy Deepavali” into “Angry Deepavali”

Umno Deputy Youth Leader and the Prime Minister’s son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin made the “Unhappy Deepavali” yesterday into an “Angry Deepavali” for many when his uncalled-for attack on the Indian community at the Umno General Assembly was telecast on RTM in the afternoon.

Malaysians, both Hindus and non-Hindus, were taken aback and outraged when they saw the telecast of Khairy blaming the Indians as the cause why the Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s presidential address at the Umno General Assembly was not published yesterday, apart from Utusan Malaysia and Oriental Daily.

Khairy had said in the Umno General Asembly debate yesterday morning: “Today is the first time the Umno president’s speech is not being read by the masses because a particular ethnic group controls the distribution line of newspapers and they are on holiday.”

Already, Hindus were not in much celebratory mood although it was Deepavali yesterday. In fact, there were those who were in “protest” mode because of the increasing signs of lack of proper respect for all religions in the country and especially after the insensitive and sacrilegious demolition of the 40-year-old Sri Maha Mariaman Temple in Kampung Rimba Jaya in Shah Alam when Deepavali was just a week away.

The holding of the Umno General Assembly during Deepavali, a gazetted public holiday, had also upset many Malaysians, both Hindus and non-Hindus, as it seems to point to a growing pattern of insensitivity by the powers-that-be in the country.

If the MIC, MCA or Gerakan had held their annual party assemblies during Hari Raya holidays, it would have been regarded as highly insensitive, offensive and unacceptable — and undoubtedly pressures would have been brought to bear to move such assemblies to another date.

Why wasn’t the same consideration given in the case of this year’s Umno General Assembly clashing with Deepavali — as the excuse that Abdullah had a “tight schedule” is simply just unacceptable?

Adding insult to injury, Deepavali and the Indian news vendors are now being blamed for their “lack of respect” for the Umno President for having a press holiday on the day after Abdullah’s Umno Presidential address! Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia completely out of THES-QC 200 Top Universities Ranking – a national shame

Malaysia has fallen completely out of the list of the world’s Top 200 Universities this year in the 2007 Times Higher Education Supplement (THES)-Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

This is a national shame, especially as occurring during the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary and it must serve as the latest warning to the national leaders to end their complacency and delusion that Malaysia is becoming more competitive globally when the reverse is actually the case.

Last year, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Malaya (UM) were listed at the tail-end of the Top 200 in the THES-QS ranking, and I had repeatedly warned both in and out of Parliament that Malaysia risks being pushed out of the 200 Top Universities ranking unless there is the political will to check brain-drain and restore meritocracy and excellence to Malaysian academia.

It gives me no satisfaction but extreme sadness to see my dire prediction come true!

UKM was ranked 185th last year, up from 289th spot in 2005, but has now fallen to 309th place.

For UM, once the nation’s premier university, it is a sorry tale of continuous decline. It was ranked among the world’s top 100 universities in 2004 at 89th position, fell to 169th in 2005 and 192nd placings in 2006, and is now out of the Top 200 league, having fallen to 246th spot!

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), which was ranked as the only “outstanding” five-star university in a recent government survey, has fallen to 307th spot from 277 last year. In 2005, USM was in the 326th spot. Read the rest of this entry »