Archive for December 24th, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to Christians and Malaysians.

These are difficult and challenging times with growing religious polarisation from greater religious intolerance and constitutional encroachments of our fundamental rights.

Are we prepared individually and collectively to stand up for the fundamental rights entrenched in our Constitution or are we going to be a party, though a silent and passsive one, to their progressive erosion and our own disenfranchisement.

Let us give serious thought to this grave subject when celebrating Christmas 2007!


Gerakan to expel Paranjothy – George Orwell’s Animal Farm dictum reigns supreme in BN

What a weak and panicky start for Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon as Gerakan’s No. 1 – immediately buckling under pressure by Umno Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to take disciplinary action against the Gerakan Youth vice chief S. Paranjothy who dared to speak publicly what others only muttered privately. – that the 30,000 Indians who took part in the Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 did so to express their frustration and anger because the community had been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

Paranjothy had also blamed, and rightly, Umno leaders, particularly the Umno Youth Leader Hishammuddin and Deputy Umno Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin for racial posturing and inciting racial sentiments among Malays to gain political mileage – citing as examples the keris-wielding episodes against the former and the public castigation of the Indian news vendors by the latter when the Umno presidential address of Prime Minister and Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was not carried in the press the next day as Umno general assembly fell on Deepavali, with the next day an annual press holiday.

There can be no doubt that if a private vote had been taken among the Gerakan leaders, in fact, even MCA and MIC leaders, all would have agreed with the sentiments expressed by Paranjothy!

Hishammuddin had immediately issued an ultimatum to Tsu Koon with the threat of severance of ties with Gerakan not only by Umno Youth but also by Barisan Nasional unless Tsu Koon could give a satisfactory response and explanation.

What was Tsu Koon reaction? Although he protested that “it is not right” for Hishammuddin to issue the threat and ultimatum of severance of all relationships with Gerakan, Tsu Koon clearly panicked, which was why he complied instantly by referring Paranjothy to the Disciplinary Committee and even anticipated the disciplinary process by saying that the Gerakan Youth vice chief would be suspended or expelled! Nanyang Siang Pau’s headline today is “Gerakan to sack Paranjothy”!

Is Barisan Nasional a coalition of equals of 14 political parties? Read the rest of this entry »


PM should overrule Johari and rescind Internal Security Ministry order to HERALD

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should overrule Internal Security Deputy Minister, Datuk Johari Baharum and rescind the Internal Security Ministry order to Herald, the Catholic weekly to discontinue the Bahasa Malaysia section, so that Christmas Day this year will not be celebrated under a cloud of burgeoning religious intolerance and constitutional encroachments.

Johari has admitted that he had made the decision that the word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion, and to impose the new condition on this restriction on the Herald when the annual publishing permit of the Catholic weekly is next renewed.

Although Johari said that his decision was based on a report submitted by the publications department of his ministry, it is an indictment of the arbitrary nature of the decision-making process and even misgovernance that there had been no consultation whatsoever with the religious organizations which will be affected by the decision.

Even more arbitrary and deplorable was the ministry’s decision to abolish the Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia section, which is not only unconstitutional but shows that the government itself does not give pride of place to Bahasa Malaysia.

As the word “Allah” has been used to refer to God among Christians for generations in many countries and is never meant to offend or confuse the Muslims, Abdullah should intervene to rescind such retrogressive measure by the Internal Security Ministry or it will be another signal that Malaysia is down the slippery slope of more religious restrictions for non-Muslim faiths, whose constitutionally-entrenched guarantees of freedom of religion are not being honoured by the government. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysian Indian political awakening – must not fall into trap of being tarred “anti-Malay”

MIC President and sole Indian Minister for more than 28 years, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu should have realized by now that it was a fatal mistake for him to believe that the “frustration and anger” of the Malaysian Indians who had taken part in the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 25 was not directed against him.

In his second TV appearance on RTM in four days, this time over the hour-long Tamil programme Karuthu Kalam or Opinion Forum on Saturday, Samy Vellu said the Indians had taken part in the Nov. 25 Hindraf demonstration “to register their anger over the inadequacy in the implementation of projects by the Government” and that their anger was not directed at him because he had not raised questions about or fought for the plight of the community.

Samy Vellu is wrong. The Hindraf demonstration had clearly two targets: Firstly, as the Gerakan Youth vice chief S. Paranjothy said, the 30,000 Indians took part in the demonstration to express their “frustration and anger” because the community had been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

But there is a second target – none other than Samy Vellu himself for his failure after more than 28 years as MIC President and sole Cabinet Minister to prevent the long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious marginalization of the Malaysian Indians as to become a new underclass in Malaysia.

If Samy Vellu was in denial for almost a month after the Nov. 25 Hindraf demonstration, Samy Vellu should have begun to sense the truth when he was publicly booed and humiliated by a crowd of 2,000 – 3,000 at the Aattam 100 Vagai 3 (100 types of dance) cultural performance at the Penang International Sports Area (Pisa) on Saturday night.

There is palpable anger on the ground among the Indians in Malaysia at their long-standing marginalization, raising the question whether this political awakening could become a political tsunami by the Malaysian Indian voters in the next general election, creating upsets and surprises. Read the rest of this entry »