Archive for May 29th, 2008

Ordeal of foreign spouses in Malaysia


by B.R.

It is almost unimaginable the daily trauma that is faced by them, some of them are born overseas but were unable to get registered at the Malaysian high commission or embassy within the stipulated time. They are faced with daily trauma, which includes inability to attend local schools, universities, long waits at immigration to get a visa, when in actual fact they are Malaysians.

I, for one, am a spouse of a Malaysian citizen and 15 years down the line, I am accorded worse treatment than an illegal for at least illegals, after a while, do get amnesty, not spouses. There are many of us here, for 12-20 years still on a dependent pass or on an employment pass and still waiting for years and even decades, not for citizenship but for a mere Permanent Resident status.

Foreign spouses find life in Malaysia really difficult because of inadequate measures for good governance. The laws, if any, are so grey that it varies in interpretation from immigration officer to officer.

Many of us even have to resort to merely doing volunteer service, though it is a necessity to be an income earner. Some of us lucky ones manage to get an employment pass on the spouse visa but not many employers are prepared to employ a foreign spouse due to the tedious paperwork. Only employers with a paid up capital of over RM200K can employ us. Many even exploit us and pay some measly sum as token salary. When we wish to change jobs, there is a cooling off period to cool our heels for six months. Life in Malaysia is near traumatic for us and here’s more.. Read the rest of this entry »


“All we want is just that road”

DAP MP for Serdang, Teo Nie Ching failed in her attempt this morning to adjourn Parliament to debate as a definite matter of urgent public importance “the thug and police violence” against residents of Bandar Makhota Cheras (BMC) following the rebuilding of the barricade by the toll concessionaire, Grand Saga.

I spoke briefly at the gathering of BMC residents outside Parliament House this morning, where a long-standing BMC resident, “Mas”, recounted how she fractured her left arm during the “rampage” by thugs on Tuesday night when she and her two young children merely wanted to show support and solidarity for the cause to open the road for public use. (See YouTube)

Another group of BMC residents, together with DAP MPs including Nie Ching, Fong Kui Lun M. Kulasegaran and Lim Lip Eng (also present were Selangor State Exco members Ronnie Liu and Ean Yong Hian Wah) held a media conference at the Parliament lobby to condemn the violence perpetrated against the defenceless public, including press representatives as three were assaulted by the “samsengs” in the Tuesday night rampage.

This outrage must be placed on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting tomorrow for it raises the question whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has the political will to deliver his various promises of reform, whether judiciary, the battle against corruption or the police.

Was the Royal Police Commission, which was established when Abdullah first became Prime Minister more than four years ago, a complete waste of time and money when its recommendation to create an efficient, incorruptible and professional world-class police service proves to be such a mirage as highlighted by the “thug and police violence” at the BMC on Tuesday?


The Perils of Assimilationist Politics

By Farish A Noor

A quick look at the troubles in the predominantly Muslim-Malay provinces of Southern Thailand – which has been a troubled spot for the past four years at least – would point to a fundamental flaw in the line of thinking of the powers-that-be in Bangkok. Having disregarded the historical factors that make the four provinces of Patani, Jala, Satun and Narathiwat unique compared to the rest of the country, successive governments in Thailand have tried to make the Malay-Muslims of the south think of themselves as Thais, who are an ethnically different people with a language, culture, religion and history of their own.

Since the late 19th century following the conquest of Patani, Jala, Satun and Narathiwat by the Thais, and compounded by the Anglo-Siamese treaty of 1909, the four provinces have experienced what can only be described as a policy of cultural assimilation. During the 1930s and 40s Thai leaders like Phibun Songkram have tried to force Thai culture and cultural norms on the Malays by any means possible: From forcing them to speak Thai to adapting Thai dress and manners as their own.

Needless to say, this has alienated the Malay-Muslims even further, and has only helped to fuel the resentment they feel against the Thai political elite. Over the past four years this resentment has boiled over to the point of violence, leading to the needless and senseless slaughter of innocent Malays and Thais all over the south. Read the rest of this entry »