Archive for December 6th, 2007

Criticism of “ethnic cleansing” no excuse for BN disregard of cry of two million Malaysian Indians for end of marginalisation

I had met the Prime Minister at the beginning of the new Parliament after the 2004 general election to urge him to support the adoption of the parliamentary committee system, and although three select committees had been formed so far, it is most regrettable that a full committee system where every Ministry will be shadowed by a parliamentary select committee as well as the existence of select committees on specialist subjects have not yet come into being.

For the Parliamentary Select Committee on National Unity for which a six-month extension of time is being sought — it is essential that MPs are capable of subordinating their political, party and self-interest to the larger national interest if the national unity select committee is to make any meaningful contribution to nation building.

What happened in Parliament yesterday in the debate on my motion to cut the salary of Information Minister, Zainuddin Maidin is a case in point. MPs can agree or disagree as to whether Zainuddin had succeeded or failed in his task as Information Minister but when the Minister made irrelevant and baseless charges, accusing me of challenging the dignity of the Rulers and humiliating the Muslims for supporting Hindraf, it was the height of parliamentary and ministerial irresponsibility.

I know this is playing politics, but this is playing dirty and irresponsible politics subverting the higher national interest of promoting national unity in the country.

I had made it clear that I never agreed with the Hindraf accusation about “ethnic cleansing of Indians” or genocide and what I had consistently stood for is that the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration on November 25 was “a cry of desperation” by the Indians in Malaysia about their long-standing marginalization which must be addressed by the Cabinet and Parliament.

We can disagree and criticize the Hindraf leaders for making the allegations about ethnic cleansing and genocide, but the government must never lose sight of the central issue of the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians which brought Indians from all over the country to support the Hindraf demonstration, as they did not congregate in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 25 to support Hindraf on its allegations of ethnic cleansing or genocide but to make their cry for justice to end the marginalization for themselves, their children and children’s children heard loud and clear. Read the rest of this entry »


Zam – “Eminent journalist” who has “become predator of the press”

As former top journalist, Zainuddin Maidin should have blazed the path and expanded space for greater media freedom. Instead he has done the reverse.

Although the instruments of repressive media control are with the Ministry of Internal Security, it is Zam as Information Minister who presented the public face of the Barisan Nasional government of such media control. In fact, he is the Barisan Nasional ideologue for media control and censorship.

Last year, Zainuddin was awarded the Eminent Journalist (Tokoh Wartawan) in appreciation of his contribution to journalism in the country.

Who gave away the award to him? None other than the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the Malaysian Press Night 2006 organised by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) in November last year.

I do not know how Zainuddin dared to accept the award of Tokoh Wartawan when he has become the “Predator of the Press” as the government’s chief hatchet man to suppress press freedom in the country.

In the last few days, there are already several cases of the screws being tightened to throttle press freedom and the fundamental constitutional right of freedom of expression of Malaysians.

Only yesterday, top editors of Tamil and Chinese dailies were hauled to a 90-minute meeting in Putrajaya for the latest dose of brain-washing — not not to highlight stories and photographs relating to the Hindraf rally on Nov 25 and on all other matters involving the coalition. Read the rest of this entry »