Archive for March 18th, 2011

Interlok: Time to Make a Stand

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee | CPI

As the drama over the Interlok textbook issue continues to unfold, it is important for Malaysians to understand the context and the stakes involved, and to make a stand.

There are some defenders of the book who have argued that withdrawing or even just editing it will rob Malaysian writers of their artistic freedom and integrity. To these people, I would like to say “hello, where have you been” – Interlok has already been edited twice, in 2005 for Edisi Pelajar and in 2010 for Edisi Murid. Its literary integrity was already compromised by the shedding of some 85 pages even before this latest controversy.

In fact, copyright for the edition distributed free to schools no longer belongs even to Abdullah Hussain but to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Hence Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement that his ministry “will ensure that any amendments made will not affect the storyline of the novel and the noble message that the author wants to convey” is nothing short of whitewash. According to reports, Muhyiddin is not permitting anything beyond deletion of the word ‘pariah’.
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Speedy action by Malaysian Government in evacuating Malaysians in Japan needed

In view of the worsening nuclear crisis situation in Japan, the Malaysian government should take proactive steps in ensuring the safety of Malaysians in Japan.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, said today that the situation does not warrant an immediate evacuation of Malaysians living there, as readings taken in Tokyo, Miyagi and Ibaraki yesterday afternoon averaged about 0.17uSv/hr (microsieverts per hour), which was lower than the maximum allowed radiation dosage of 0.5uSv/hr for the Malaysian public.

In contrast to the minister’s calm response, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the overall situation was “very serious” though did not appear to be deteriorating. The chief US nuclear regulatory official said radiation levels around the fuel ponds were extremely high and “potentially lethal” near the reactors. Explaining the decision to deploy helicopters on Thursday, Toshimi Kitazawa, the defence minister, said conditions at the reactors had reached a critical point.

IAEA also reported that in some locations at around 30 km from the Fukushima plant, the dose rates rose significantly in the last 24 hours (in one location from 80 to 170 microsievert per hour and in another from 26 to 95 microsievert per hour). Dose rates to the north-west of the nuclear power plants, were observed in the range 3 to 170 microsievert per hour. Dose rates in other directions are in the 1 to 5 microsievert per hour range.
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Isn’t religion a sacrosanct right of a community?

By P Ramakrishnan | President of Aliran

It is rather difficult to understand how our Muslim friends can be so easily influenced which may result in their straying away from their sacred religion. Any notion that this may be the case insults the intelligence and the very faith of the Muslims.

Any suggestion alluding to this possibility gives the impression that all the daily vigorous religious programmes over radio and television, the numerous courses conducted to explain and strengthen their faith in Islam, the many religious classes and the daily five-time compulsory prayers, the existence of mosques easily accessible to the faithful and the Friday sermons, are a failure. This is absolutely wrong and ridiculous.

I was a product of a mission school – so were my many Malay friends of that period. The Lord’s prayers were part of the weekly school assembly ritual. Even to this day we – Muslims and non-Muslims – remember the Lord’s prayers. In fact some of my Malay friends even say “Amen” at the end of a speech whenever our classmates meet up. This did not in any way indicate that they are not steadfast in their faith. No one has renounced their religion to embrace Christianity.
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