Archive for September 22nd, 2013

Chin Peng deserves his place of rest

M Kulasegaran
Sep 22, 2013

MP SPEAKS I had heard about the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) secretary-general Chin Peng from a young age. For as long as I can remember, Chin Peng has been associated with the town of Sitiawan, but it was his career as a guerrilla fighter drew me to him.

I, too, hail from Sitiawan where I was born a good many years after Chin Peng emerged on the west coast of Perak in 1924. Marxists might disagree, but a sense of geographical solidarity may be just as strong as class solidarity.

I had wanted to meet with Chin Peng since the time I first heard about him. Being from a rubber tapping family, I was drawn to read quite a lot about him and his struggles.

Rubber was the mainstay of the Malayan economy but rubber tappers were poor and communist ideology was sympathetic to those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Hence I had an interest in the fighter who was from my hometown of Sitiawan and in how his career worked out in history.

My curiosity was gratified with the publication of Chin Peng’s memoirs, ‘My Side of History’, which was published in 2003. I devoured the book and remembered striking aspects of the story. Read the rest of this entry »


10 ways to really help bumis

P Gunasegaram
Sep 20, 2013

QUESTION TIME The recent RM30 billion package (although I am not sure how it works out to that) for bumiputera economic empowerment is certainly not something that will help or have any kind of impact on the vast majority of bumiputeras who form 67 percent of the population.

Just think of that figure for a moment. Nearly seven out of ten people in the country are bumiputeras. Help everyone in the country who needs it and you help the bumiputera community the most. More on that later.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s plans to economically empower bumiputeras will not help the ordinary bumiputera because he is not the one who owns shares, or will become a major entrepreneur, or live off government contracts. That affects only the rich bumiputeras.

Realistically, the economic empowerment programme is a thinly disguised ruse to help those who continue to live off the government through patronage and corruption. And in this case this is the Umno elite and many of them are likely to be among the 150,000 delegates who will vote in Umno’s forthcoming general assembly.

It’s another form of vote buying.

So what will help ALL bumiputeras and especially those who are in the poor and middle classes and thereby help bridge the income gap between bumiputeras on the one side and Chinese and Indians on the other?

For that, you simply go back to the basics. Here are are 10 things we can identify immediately. If the government had been doing this without respite and full sincerity for the last 56 years from independence we would long ago have become a developed a country, even far surpassing that of our southern neighbour Singapore which has no natural resources to speak of.

1. Raise school education levels

In the haste to increase Malay usage and hire more Malay teachers into the education system after 1970, educational quality dropped in national schools. Until today this is a major problem because of poor quality of teachers (entry standards were foolishly dropped) and lowering examination standards to favour bumiputera students. Read the rest of this entry »


A “grouse” about TMI’s “woeful” usage

– Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
September 22, 2013

“In a public tribunal, many air grouses over Election 2013,” your recent TMI headline trumpets.

Malaysian journalistic usage, with its verbal idiosyncrasies, is sometimes strange.

Even stranger is the fact that those who seek to offer an alternative approach, or speak in a different voice, often (and unthinkingly, so it seems) adopt the language of the dominant press.

They, and here now including The Malaysian Insider, do so without recognizing the hidden assumptions and attitudes, the insidious implications, that are built into those all too familiar “mainstream” usages.

Malaysians love to speak of “woes”.

A woe is a disaster that descends without discernible cause, mysteriously, and without anyone being responsible. Since they exclude human agency, the word’s connotations are exculpatory.

To call some systemic failure (of public utilities or services) a “woe” is to imply that it is a mysterious affliction, a metaphysical conundrum, for which nobody is, or may be held, accountable.

Whose interests does this implication, neatly smuggled unawares by the word “woe” into a reader’s response to the reported facts, serve? Read the rest of this entry »


“One bed, two constituencies” because Election Commission “separated” husband and wife, Tribunal told

by V. Anbalagan and Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
September 21, 2013

A couple that lives in the same house in Johor has been “separated” by the Election Commission and told to vote in different constituencies, the Bersih People’s Tribunal was told today.

The couple, identified as Mr and Mrs Ong, was represented by a family member, G.S. Ong. He said that before the delineation exercise in 2003, they had lived in Kg Abdullah, Segamat, for over 40 years and came under the parliamentary constituency of Segamat (P125).

After 2003, however, Mr Ong was asked to vote in Segamat, which was reorganised to become P140, while Mrs Ong was designated to vote in a newly-created constituency named Sekijang (P141).

G.S.Ong said he felt sorry for the couple who could not vote together.

“What this shows is that the Election Commission is so powerful it can ‘divorce couples’ and this has happened to many couples and families in Kampung Abdullah,” G.S. Ong said. Read the rest of this entry »