Archive for March 24th, 2010

With 10 days to his full-year as PM, Najib has lengthened his list of “dubious firsts” – this time, interfering with Perlis Speaker’s duties to act on the resignation of MCA Titi Tinggi Assemblyman

With only 10 days to go to complete his full year as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has lengthened his list of “dubious firsts” – this time, interfering with the Perlis Speaker’s duties to act on the resignation of the MCA Titi Tinggi Assemblyman Yip Sun Onn.

This week saw the Najib premiership chalking up two “dubious firsts” apart from the many in his 11+ months as Prime Minister – the other being the public spat between the Inspector-General of Police and the Home Minister, with the head of police making the very serious allegation in a newspaper interview of a “third party” undermining his authority in the police, by giving directives to the police personnel behind his back, saying that the third party could be “politicians” or “certain individuals”.

Although both the Home Minister and the IGP had appeared jointly for a sudden photo-shoot yesterday to claim that relations between them had never been better, expecting Malaysians to be so simple-minded as to be taken in by their play-acting and to believe that the public spat between the two had never happened, the episode had gravely shaken public confidence not only in the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police, but raised fundamental questions about the cohesiveness and sense of purpose of the Najib premiership.
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Najib should give Liow Tiong Lai an ultimatum to resolve the Sabah health crisis or be sacked

I am shocked and outraged by a letter I have received from a serving medical officer of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu about the deplorable conditions of the hospital complexes in Sabah particularly Kota Kinabalu which had been likened to Vietnam refugee camp.

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had been Health Minister for more than two years and despite repeated complaints, he had turned a complete deaf ear and blind eye to the prolonged healthcare crisis and the deplorable hospital conditions in Sabah particularly in Kota Kinabalu.

The serving doctor in QEH wrote of the horrors suffered by the sick in Kota Kinabalu where they are subjected to “a wicked game of musical chairs” shunted around various hospital centres according to their changing healthcare needs as “there is not a single centre that can address a patient as a whole”.

The medical maze, which has brought total chaos to healthcare services in Sabah, includes the state’s only referral centre, Queen Elizabeth Hosptal and nearby centres like Hospital Bukit Padang the mental institution, Hospital Likas, the makeshift hospital in Lingzhi Museum in Kepayan and Umno’s favourite Sabah Medical Centre (SMC). Read the rest of this entry »


Class divisions in access to healthcare — what about Malaysia?

By Azly Rahman

‘Why can’t all Americans have the same access to healthcare to those enjoyed by members of Congress?’ is a popular question on the ObamaCare debate.

At the time of writing I am following the debate over universal healthcare for all Americans. If the US$1 trillion Bill passes, it will help insure 32 million Americans that do not have access to healthcare.

This is another controversial issue in the tradition of Democrats and Republicans. This is a good case study of one of the enduring issues of an advanced capitalist state.

I know friends who do not have health insurance and who question the human rights dimension of it – right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, endowed by the Creator who insist that ‘all men are created equal’ and cautioned by the Enlightenment thinker Jean Jacques Rousseau that “… everything is good in the hands of the Author of Things and everything degenerates in the hands of Man”.
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Does Perkasa Get the Hint?

by Kee Thuan Chye

The Sultan of Selangor has done the right thing in withdrawing from his earlier agreement to open the inaugural general meeting of Pertubuhan Peribumi Perkasa Negara (Perkasa) on March 27. Although the reason given is that the Sultan does not want to be seen to be supporting a politician, namely, Ibrahim Ali, who heads the NGO, the more important implication is that right-wing organisations, even though they are championing Malay rights, have to be “tolerant and respect other races” and operate within existing laws.

Such a message is timely, especially since the country seems more divided than ever along racial lines. After the 2008 general election, Umno and certain individuals have been playing on racial sentiments to win back the Malays who had voted against the party, by warning them that the race is under threat. This has provided the impetus for organisations like Perkasa to garner support and step up right-wing activism.

If Ibrahim Ali is to be believed, Perkasa is attracting new members every day. He expects a gathering of 10,000 at the March 27 general meeting, which is pretty phenomenal for an organisation that is only one and a half years old. He has since gone on to form the Majlis Perunding NGO Melayu, a consultative council comprising 80 or so NGOs pledging to defend Malay rights, the institution of the Malay rulers and Islam.
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