Presana’s Apology…some thoughts


So the girl has apologized.

That’s the end of that I hope, though my Facebook trawling indicate otherwise, sigh. She was interviewed by Malay Mail in which she explained somewhat about what provoked her virulent rant. You can read about it here.

Two separate lessons here. One is, this person has learnt a hard lesson about the pitfalls of social media. These days, practically anyone with access to a wired PC can post anything on any subject.

But, with great connectivity comes great responsibility.  We say anything we want, but if we are not prepared to back it up with some cogent arguments, brickbats would soon follow.

Secondly, the bigger issue of what’s going on in that head of hers. Presana’s frustrated writings betrays a lack of understanding about not only communication but Indians in Malaysia.

Yes, some machas harassed her, and though she related one incident, it could have been something she endured many times. How does a woman deal with threats to self like that? I suggest getting some street smarts .

I was in her place, at different times in my life. Yes, I felt anger against the harassers. But at no time did I single out the ethnicity of the harassers as a target  of my hate. I did not even target the gender.

In my case, it was because the harassment came from males of different races, even foreigners;  Ang Mohs, Latinos, Africans, Pakistanis…you name it. KL after all is cosmopolitan.

Common denominator: Adult Males.

So do I hate guys? NO. I can’t. Cos sexual harassment is no longer about just race, gender etc. It’s about power. Some guys get off on the reactions. Some are just trying their luck. That doesn’t mean the entire male population is suspect.

Or in Presana’s case, that doesn’t mean all the machas are suspect. That is racial profiling. And racial profiling seems to be the reason why many, many machas end up recipients of Police Raja Di Malaysia’s “hospitality”, some of them dead, others languishing in Simpang Renggam under preventive detention (without trial mind you).

You see how one bad thought escalates into violence? So if a bunch of machas are really assholes devoid of a modicum of manners, is it fair to demonise the entire Tamil population of Malaysia?

People of Indian and Sri Lankan ancestry settled in Malaysia have many other issues affecting them. Lack of financial/educational opportunities, poverty, systematic marginalisation, disunity…to name a few.

We are not that numerous. Soon, the influx of foreign labour would/perhaps has been already, dilute the economic and rights pie even further. Thank you, Projek Pemutihan! Can we afford these incendiary words like pariah…among us? Was Interlok not enough of a lesson?

I hope the girls of Presana’s ilk realises the folly of her words. They cannot end well.

Note:  I acknowledge that my previous post on the matter also triggered some serious debate. I received many emails on the matter. Some of them kinda angry too. I will respond in the next post. Thanks.

The cheek and chicanery of Shahrizat Jalil


Much has been written about the mismanagement of National Feedlot Corporation that most of you have already heard the gory details.

But let’s bring some perspective into this issue. Let’s remember  how we first heard about this issue.

It was the Auditor General’s report, not Pakatan Rakyat politicians who first highlighted this issue, calling the project a mess. Read more here.

Remember that the PKR folks just followed the dirt trail after that. And you know where it led; to luxury condos and luxury cars and whatnot.

When addressing the Wanita Umno hordes earlier this week, its chief Shahrizat Jalil was vociferous in her anger against those she said were attacking Wanita Umno.

Mistake #1. Who’s attacking Wanita Umno? It is you Shahrizat, whose conduct is in question here. You and your family. You say you are innocent of what is going on in NFC because that is your husband’s business and not yours? You must think we are all cows, with cowdung for brains.

So all the sleeve-pulling, angry rhetorics and this whole wanking exercise that was Shahrizat’s speech did not address the fundamental issue; How come her family got the project in the first place?

Mistake #2. Noh Omar, Muhyiddin Yassin and Khairy Jamaluddin all rushed to her defence, but not one of them addressed the question above.

Mistake #3. The cops, almost immediately after MACC passed the baton to them(saying this was not a graft issue), stated that  preliminary investigations showed there was no element of Criminal Breach of Trust.

But who’s going to answer these fundamental questions?

1) Under what criteria did Shahrizat’s family get the contract?

2) Who approved it and when? Was it when Muhyiddin was Agriculture Minister?

3) Why the purchase of a luxury condo in Bangsar, and the luxury car?

4) The RM83 million soft loan…who signed off on it and what was it meant for?

5) From where did the money come (83 million)?

6) Seeing that it is some kind of government allocation, are they allowed to spend the money on purchases totally unrelated to the cow business?

7) Is it the policy of the BN government to allow Ministers’ families to benefit from national projects?

8) If the National Feedlot project is a national project, then why is it allegedly supplying meat to fancy restaurants owned by Shahrizat’s family?

Why aren’t they addressing these questions? Even within Umno there is already discord over this matter. That means even to them, this issue is indefensible.

Without addressing these questions, I daresay Shahrizat is a liability come GE13. Already a backdoor Minister, it is unlikely that she will win at any seat she contests in.

 

 

N.Surendran’s statement


As many already know, human rights lawyer N.Surendran was recently appointed as a PKR vice president. Below is his statement, reproduced verbatim, except for minor typo corrections.

———————————————————————————————–

On 18th December, 2010 I was appointed as a Vice President of KEADILAN. I welcome this appointment and thank KEADILAN for placing their trust in me by appointing me to this position.

I hope to bring to the important task facing me, the experience I have gained from more than a decade’s work as a human rights lawyer, an activist, and an NGO Leader.

That experience taught me that many of the problems facing the people
can only be resolved by engaging in the political process, in order to
reform and change the way this country is administered. And I have no
doubt that KEADILAN and the wider Pakatan Rakyat have the resolve and
capability to carry out this process of reform and change, and to create a fairer, juster, and more prosperous Malaysia.

Pakatan Rakyat’s  Common Policy Framework is humanist, compassionate, practical and achievable.  It is a sign-post to a better future for all Malaysians.

Unlike the Barisan Nasional component parties, KEADILAN is a multi-racial party which acts in the interest of all the races of this country. I
recognise that different types of problems are faced by the various
communities in this country.

These problems have to be looked into according to the needs of each community. I am fully aware of the serious problems faced by the Indian community in this country, and resolve to attend to it, hand in hand with the issues facing all the other communities. No community or segment of this country can be said to be enriched, if their brethren in another community remain impoverished.

As a human rights lawyer and activist I have represented victims of all races such as Kugan, ex-airman Tharmendran, Aminulrasyid Amzah and Norizan Salleh. As Vice President of KEADILAN I will continue to assist my fellow Malaysians of every race and creed.

I do not believe in a politics of cliques, factions and coteries. I
believe the aim of politics is not self-aggrandisement or to profit
oneself, but to benefit the people and uplift the nation. Whosoever
has the good of the people at heart, he is my ally in this struggle.

I call upon all Malaysians who love freedom and justice to rally
around us, and help us save this country from the grip of oppression
and misrule.

I take this opportunity to wish all Malaysian Christians, a Merry Christmas!

Issued by,

N SURENDRAN
VICE-PRESIDENT,
PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT

A mammoth tower that makes Malaysians “bebel”


The Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Ng Yen Yen says the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka building will be a catalyst for spurring tourism growth.

I’m not sure what she’s smoking, but if it gave her that kinda rose-tinted outlook, I want some of that. There are very few things that one reads in the Malaysian media these days that give one a good feeling.

Forgive the high cynicism, but what the hell was the PM thinking when he announced this?

For readers who are familiar with Kuala Lumpur, the proposed site of the development alone would be cause for alarm.

Ok ok…i’m overwhelmed by sheer disbelief, and so many questions assail me at this point.

Let me start with Yen Yen’s contention first. She said it is good for tourism and domestic trade sector. Tell me, how many people come to Malaysia just to look at our skyscrapers, for us to justify spending RM5 billion on yet another one?

Malaysia is still (despite unbridled development) one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. How many countries on the Equatorial belt can boast that?

Culture, food and our rainforests (not necessarily in that order of importance) will continue to be the bigger crowd puller. The proposed new tower will not work its magic and and bring billions tourism dollars. It doesn’t really work that way.

In fact, Malaysians too travel globally with increased frequency, even more so with the coming of Air Asia. Tell me, would the Burj Khalifa in Dubai or the Taipei 101 tower be the major reason for you to travel there?

These are just concrete edifices that stand as a symbol of mankind’s ambition.

Petronas Twin Towers

Make no mistake though. I am mighty proud of the beautiful Petronas Twin Towers. I have taken numerous photos of it and whenever I come back from KLIA, the sight of the Twin Towers tells me “hey, you are back home.”

In the 10 years,  it has become an icon of modern Malaysia and a defining part of the Kuala Lumpur cityscape. But the  highest I have been in that building, is level 42, where the Malaysian Petroleum Club is. Most Malaysians only get to look at it from afar.

In fact, post construction, I think the highest anyone has gotten in that building were “Spiderman” Alain Robert and bunch of BASE jumpers before and after him.

Despite my fondness for the Petronas Twin Towers, I can’t summon the same kind of hope, optimism and positive vibe when it comes to the proposed Warisan Merdeka development, the centrepiece of which is this much-talked about 100 storey tower.

Need for such a project.

Many are jittery about this project, witnessed by some cautious statements in the media.

From the real estate standpoint:

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) deputy president Datuk FD Iskandar Mohamed Mansor said the plan for the potentially high-impact commercial development must take into consideration demand and supply of office space in the capital city.

He said such a massive project should be approached with caution and proper feasibility studies before proceeding.

“Kuala Lumpur already has a focal point – the Petronas Twin Towers – and the question is whether it is necessary to have another one. Moreover, there is enough office space in the city. Additional space from the Warisan Merdeka and other projects, including the RM26bil Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD), may result in an oversupply of commercial property space,” Iskandar said. – from The Star Business. Read the full story here.

Pic from the Star.

Click the pic for a closer look. The proposed site is adjacent to both Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara.

The fears of a commercial property glut is not a new one. As far back as May, even without a hint of this latest mega project, OSK Research had already painted a gloomy forecast a space glut.

Traffic Nightmare

Has anyone noticed where the site of this proposed project is? The access/exit involve such such areas as Petaling Street, Jalan Kinabalu/Maharajalela and Jalan Hang Tuah, the last of which is not free from jams even after the opening of the elevated bypass.

Even from the construction stage, the traffic impact conjures up a nightmarish image.

But never mind that. We KL-ites have endured such things as the Monorail, LRT and KLCC construction before, not to mention the AKLEH elevated highway project.

In a Utopian scenario, this building would be filled with tenants. Let’s say even 80% of the building is occupied. Now, imagine the number of cars freshly introduced to the surrounding traffic grid. Can tahan meh?

One of the very few decisions of Dr M administration that  I  agreed with, was the removing of the civil service out of Kuala Lumpur.

That decision alone took out thousands of cars out of the immediate Kuala Lumpur traffic grid. That was a good thing to de-congest KL. Of course in the decade or so since, the corporates have moved in.

In 10 years time, this mega project alone will contribute thousands more cars (If point to point integrated public transport is not in place by then).

We could be looking at a dystopia worse than Mid Valley here.

And how is that good for business, or living ?

P.S. I know that the PM also announced the Greater KL MRT project expected to cost a mindblowing RM36 billion.

But then talk about integrating public transport has been around for a better part of two decades now, and such was red tape that the two LRT concessionaires could not even seamlessly link the what was (in pre-Syarikat Prasarana Negara times) known as the Putra and Star LRT lines.

And until today, there is still failure to provide point to point feeder bus service. This is crucial if you want people to leave their cars at home. If this was adequately handled, do you think we will need this RM36 billion “solution”?

Think about it.

Cartoonist Zunar Arrested, Another Sedition Farce


People are going missing.

Kids are going missing,

Some guys are getting shot in broad daylight.

Some are slashed to death in front of their houses.

Yet the cops go and arrest a cartoonist.

Yeah folks. It’s all over Twitter and Facebook.

Here’s from MalaysiaKini.

Apparently Zunar is a dangerous person and now being investigated for sedition. Just when he’s gonna launch another book. Nice!

Looks like the authorities really have no appreciation for humour, be it satire or outright lampoon.

I guess they equate him with Bal Thackeray, who was once a cartoonist himself.

Let me tell ya, it is ridiculous to fear cartoonists, unless you fear their truth.

Sedition? Oh enough already!


What passes for sedition these days is what the authorities says it is. Or perhaps what Perkasa says.

The latest target of the dreaded “S” word is Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Read here for more details.

Very very arbitrary isn’t it?

The young politician and MP for Lembah Pantai is being investigated following a police report lodged against her by so called Malay rights group Perkasa.

She isn’t fazed, and good for her. The woman fights with conviction and does Brahim Pasir Mas really want to engage her in a rational argument? I think he’d lose.

Perkasa IMHO is more like an outsourced job, an attack dog if you like, that is allowed to play in the Malaysian political arena for specific reasons and it can’t function outside its strict instruction.

The thing is, as we have seen increasingly these days, temper tantrums, outbursts, loud and belligerent proclamations of supremacy are all Perkasa is about.

It could have been different if it had some intelligentsia behind it. But as a strategy, the formation of Perkasa itself seems ad hoc and flawed, and even more fatal to its credibility as a pressure group, is its inability to engage anyone rationally.

If it captures any semblance of support among the Malay community, it would be because of Dr M, tacit support for it. But what next? Perkasa as an entity that exists simply because of some quarters’ anxiety or downright disillusionment over PM Najib’s 1Malaysia inclusiveness?

Something is definitely wrong with a populace that would see 1Malaysia as threatening to Malay rights simply because it aims to be more inclusive.

This insecure populace sadly, does exist and the likes of Brahim Pasir Mas and like-minded individuals harness the fear to become a political force in their own right.

If it wasn’t, then Perkasa would not be mulling a change from its pressure group origins to enter the fray as a political party.

A thinly disguised supremacist organisation aligned along racial lines. I think they are no different than that other bunch of misguided folks in Hindraf which has splintered into many different shards, each with an agenda.

This too at a time when we hear many exhortations to NOT have race-based parties anymore and instead, ideology-centric ones.

Changing the status-quo has never been a reassuring process, but I think the time is ripe to rethink the whole past we’ve been somewhat comfortable living.

Brahim, if he chooses to think for himself and cot continue to be a pawn, would know that times have changed.

His protestations of eroding Malay privileges ring hollow at this time, and doesn’t penetrate to the young either. Maybe he finds the ears of the fatcats who fear the erosion of their ill-gotten, crony-laced income and traditional power base.

The events of the recent times too are telling. Perhaps the establishment too fears the loss of power, and that is why they are quick to use draconian laws to stifle, if not totally silent political dissent.

Seditions Act is a very useful tool. What is sedition, if you are charged, would be decided by a judge, and if you appeal further, a few judges. They decide it is not, and the very next day might find themselves transferred to career Siberia.

What is seditious in this country, is indeed what the establishment deems it to be. If an elected rep like Nurul Izzah cannot speak up, then what about you and me? And how come Brahim’s ugly rhetoric isn’t deemed seditious?

Or for that matter, all the hate speech/rhetoric that is coming from the likes of Ridhuan Tee, or those amorphous character (s) that spew poison under the pen name of Awang Selamat? Isn’t that incitement?

Very convenient, this Seditions Act. It is something that belongs in George Orwell’s 1984. Remember terms like Newspeak and Thoughtcrime? If you don’t, read more here.

I hope the Seditions Act’s  days are numbered, just like the current political hegemony.

Financing Our Kids’ Education


Every year,we hear the same story abt our kids not being able to further their studies despite having good grades because there are not enuff scholarships to go around. I was thinking, there are only X number of loans, scholarships and education grants available every year and yet the number of qualified students keep increasing.

Just an idea floating around in my head. Why don’t we set up a foundation. Call it say…Yayasan Anak Malaysia. Malaysia’s working population is about 11 million. How many would be earning RM2500 and above?

If we could get each working individual earning RM2500 to donate RM1 a day to this foundation, imagine how many students we can finance?

I don’t have kids. But I don’t mind parting with RM 365 a year, if it means poor but high-scoring students get to university, or if it means every child in the rural area gets basic education at the very least.

How we govern this fund? There will be hiccups of course. The criteria is simple. Kids from families who can’t afford to educate them only.

For I think the vicious cycle of continued poverty, unemployment and crime could be brought down if we give our kids a way out. Education is paramount.

I may sound too idealistic, but if we continue to depend on our flawed government, a lot of children in this country have a bleak future.

Many of us got our breaks somehow somewhere. Now why not pay it forward to other kids. Let us have Penan doctors, Orang asal lawyers, Kelabit IT engineers, Dayak fashion designers, Temuan cordon bleu chefs in the multitude. You may laugh, but imagine the possibilities.

Let’s discuss this. Set aside the cynicism and stop thinking anti this and anti that, and instead think how we can make this a success. Share your ideas. Let’s see if we can take this further.