Monday, June 30, 2008

Snake In The House

Hamidah Osman the BN Sungai Rapat state assembly-person recently put a question to the Perak State Speaker, YB Sivakumar whether he agreed or disagreed with the so called well-known saying “of whether one should kill first a snake or a man from a certain community”. She did not specify which community she was referring to but it is generally understood that she meant Malaysian Indians and she did not deny such an inference.

Initially she refused to retract the question but did so only after being ordered by the BN Chief Whip Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN-Pengkalan Hulu).

To his credit, Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli had the sense to order Hamidah Osman to retract it immediately. Her remark, received a sound round of condemnation, call for apology and disciplinary action from a wide spectrum of leaders, ranging from MIC President, Dato Seri S.Samy Vellu to DAP Chairman, YB Lim Kit Siang.

Hamidah did apologize to the Indian Community yesterday (29th June, 2008) over TV3 saying that she is sorry if she had hurt its feeling and that she always had a good relationship with this community.

I remember such statements being used by members of one community against another as a sign of despise and distrust. It is appalling for anyone to come up with such a statement, regardless of against which community it is directed at. It is a venomous prejudice uttered by bigots to stoke racial hatred.

It is unforgivable for an elected representative and that too in the august house of state assembly to put forth such a statement, even in the form of a question!

The fact that Hamidah withheld the name of the community betrays her mischievous intent to make a statement without being held accountable for it. What was she thinking?!!!
How are we, members of component parties, to convince the electorate that BN has everyone’s interest at heart when someone like Hamidah goes around making such a statement?

Sorry Hamidah, a mere apology for such a statement will not do! It was not a slip of the tongue nor a statement made out of ignorance. It was a calculated statement made to display your ‘hatred’ without being held responsible for it.

BN must not allow such callousness, to say the least, from its representatives to go unpunished. A stern action by BN will indicate to all that BN does not tolerate racial intolerance; failure to do so will erode further our already thin credibility.

BN must work hard to regain lost grounds and mislaid trust. We can start doing so by unequivocally reminding people like Hamidah that there is a heavy price to pay for such transgression and that we in BN are representatives of ALL MALAYSIANS irrespective of race or religion.

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Saturday, June 28, 2008

To Leave or Not To Leave...

The MIC Youths’ age limit issue had been hotly debated by the youths and had been widely covered by the press. In the frenzy of it all, certain facts had been ignored or perhaps conveniently forgotten by those involved. It is against my policy to discuss party matters in this blog, however, certain facts must be stated here to set the record straight.

1. There is a provision in the MIC Constitution that defines “Youths” as male members of MIC below the age of 40.

2. This provision was discussed and interpreted during a CWC meeting in 2001. At the said meeting the provision was interpreted on its effect and application. The records are there as to who were the MIC Youth’s CWC representatives at that time.

3. An interpretation was made that a youth ceases to be a “Youth” on his 41st birthday and is to relinquish his youth post.

4. Based on the above interpretation, Dato Nelson, the then MIC Youth Leader graciously resigned his Youth Leader post in 2002 and the then Youth Secretary Vigneswaran was appointed as the Youth Leader.

5. For the record, I have a different opinion as to the meaning of “below the age of 40” and I have expressed my views on it before this. As I understand it, a youth ceases to be a youth on his 40th Birthday not his 41st Birthday. However, there is this 2001 Interpretation and I abided by it.

6. During the party elections in 2006, based on this interpretation, many youth leaders who would not otherwise be eligible to contest had the interpretation been “on his 40th Birthday”, contested the Youth Elections as they were yet to celebrate their 41st Birthday.

7. Having contested for the youth positions based on the first half of the 2001 Interpretation, it is only proper that those concerned adhere to the second half of the interpretation viz, relinquish his post on his 41st Birthday.

8. This week, the MIC Secretary General gave a detailed briefing on the issue to MIC Youth National Council Members and State Youth Leaders. Almost all attended and they accepted the Secretary General’s explanation (after raising certain questions and further clarification being given). Only a few Council Members who were not present are now making a hue and cry over it in the media.

9. Mr. S.Ramis, the Deputy Youth Leader and other Youth Council Members/State Youth Leaders that are caught by the 2001 Interpretation have made it clear that they will abide by it. So will I!

10. It is time that we, the ‘old guards’ of the MIC Youth make way for new blood in the Youth Wing. The ‘Old Guards’ should look forward for life in mainstream politics and leave space for the next generation of Youth Leaders to hone their leadership skills in the Youth Wing. There are many able and willing Youth Leaders in the MIC Youth Wing. I am sure they are better able to reach out to the next generation of youths out there and take the Youth Wing to a new level.

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

PKR State Secretary Lost Confidence in Khalid as Selangor MB

Malaysiakini reported on 23rd June 2008 that Selangor Menteri Besar's special officer Yahya Sahri was suspended for two months from official duties over his alleged abuse of power in awarding cleaning contracts.

It went on to report that the ACA is investigating the matter and Yahya's suspension comes just about two weeks after Khalid brushed off allegations that any of his top state officials were involved in graft.

The Menteri Besar was quoted saying that the ACA probe only showed that "we in PKR are more transparent in our dealings".

Yahya Sahri then resigned with immediate effect from being the MB's special officer as well as PKR's state secretary.

In his letter, which was faxed to Khalid's office, Yahya said that he had lost confidence in Khalid as the menteri besar.

He added that he would reveal his other reasons at a later date.

He also told his supporters that he wanted Khalid to step down as the state's PKR chief, to be replaced by the party's de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

What amazes me is the spin that PKR had put on whole episode. Why is it when someone from BN is investigated by the ACA, its “look at how corrupt they are” but when someone from PKR is investigated its “we in PKR are more transparent in our dealings”?

If they had been transparent in their dealings, why then the need to brush off allegations in the first place?

Further, it is damaging to have PKR’s Selangor State Secretary declaring that he had lost confidence in Khalid as menteri besar. What confidence can the people place on the menteri besar if his very own special officer (who presumably knows the menteri besar better then the rest of us) has lost confidence in his ‘leadership’?

It is either the case of PKR's State Secretary playing the blame game upon being caught or the MB losing fast the confidence of his subordinates. In either case, it exposes PKR coming apart at its seams.

All this is happening within the first 100 days of PKR being in power! What happened to the promises of clean and transparent government, PKR? You rode to power on those promises didn’t you?

Well, promises are one thing, delivering on them is another matter altogether, PKR. Whilst you are learning this lesson, the people are paying for it, dearly.

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Motion of No Confidence?

I am disappointed with SAPP's announcement that they will move a motion of no confidence against our PM. The motion, if tabled will be unprecedented in Malaysian's history. No such motion has been tabled against any PM, more so by a component party. It will be slap on our PM's face and will be forever be a black dot on his legacy. Our PM definitely does not deserve this.

Pak Lah is a liberal PM compared to his predecessor. He has moved the government to be more transparent and is genuinely making efforts to return the dignity and independence of the judiciary and the ACA. Yes, we are all angry with him for reducing fuel subsidy but at the going rate, how long can we maintain the subsidy? Its a case of "good policies but bad politics".

A motion of no confidence against the PM is not merely a motion of no confidence against the person of PM but his entire government and the coalition that he leads, which includes all component parties.

Do we need a motion of no confidence against our PM now? At a precarious time like this? From a component party? Whilst some might hail it as a new found bravery, I suspect sinister political motives at play. SAPP has 2 MPs at present and they are trying to use this as a 'threat' against the PM to concede to their demands. If we allow component parties to threaten a motion of no confidence each time its demands are not met, how can any coalition ever rule peacefully or fulfill its mandate? Our politics will degenerate into politics of threat and ransom holding.

Component parties will hold the government at ransom and make ridiculous demands. The government will be rendered impotent and ineffective. Policies and long term plans will be deferred to meet the immediate demands of the recalcitrant party. The same is applicable if the coalition of opposition parties comes to power under such circumstances. They too will be rendered useless if this trend is allowed to flourish.

A vote of no confidence should only be tabled in dire conditions and when the leader has clearly departed from the express mandate given to him in the last election. How has the coalition or the leadership departed from its mandate since the last election?

We must not allow a motion of no confidence to be used as a bargaining chip or for political showmanship. One should use the sword of "motion of no confidence" sparingly, lest it cuts the very hand that attempts to yield it.

BN must not condone it and come down hard on SAPP. Even if we lose the government because of it, so be it. We cannot allow component parties to hold the coalition at ransom. We either govern properly and with discipline or not at all.

One can leave the coalition if one is not happy with it but to table a motion of no confidence whilst remaining a component is a stab in the back. We can have different opinions and take different stands on issues but this one act by SAPP amounts to treachery.

Sack SAPP from the BN.

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Employment In Government Sector

On 8th June, 2008, the Road Transport Department or Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) published the list of successful candidates for ‘Jawatan Pembantu Penguatkuasa Gred N17’ in Mingguan Malaysia.

It is alarming to note that out of 751 successful candidates, only 15 were non-Bumiputras. It constitutes less then 2% of successful candidates. Out of this, only 10 candidates or 1.3% were Indians.

Grade N17 is for support staff and it is open for applicants with SPM or equivalent qualification. Most applicants for this grade are from lower and lower middle income group families. More often then not, they discontinue their studies after Form Five to find a suitable job to support their families.

How is the government to alleviate the socio-economic problem faced by the Indian Community if they offer such a low percentage of job opportunities to Indian Youths? Unemployment rate amongst Indian Youths is on the rise and unemployed youths below the age of 21 are susceptible to unhealthy activities that are detrimental to them and the society.

Whenever the issue of low percentage of Indians being accepted into government employment is raised, the standard answer is that there were insufficient number of applicants. However, the feed-back from divisional level MIC Youth Leaders is that many Indian Youths do apply for government jobs but are not called for interviews and out of those called, a very small percentage have been successful.

The JPJ and other government departments should be transparent and publish on the internet the name list of those that applied and also those that were successful. At present there is no mechanism for anyone to verify the number of applicants for a particular government position and we are solely dependant on the statistics provided by the respective department.

Government departments should also drop the practice of hiring based on the percentage of applicants from each race, i.e. if 80% applicants are Malays, 10% Chinese and 10% Indians, then the percentage of those offered employment by race will be 80:10:10. This methodology of percentage by number of applicants is not used elsewhere by the government (e.g. for PSD Scholarships and matriculation intakes) and therefore should not be used here when determining government employment. If at all the government is to set a quota for employment, then it should follow the percentage of racial composition in this country, not the percentage of applicants.

It is unhealthy for government departments to be constituted overwhelmingly by a single race in a multi-racial Malaysia. It is a hindrance towards nation building and does not reflect our true Malaysia.

The government should issue a directive to all government departments to correct this imbalance and be proactive in ensuring more non-Malays are employed in the civil service.

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Land for Temples in Selangor

I know I am in BN and I am supposed to criticize the other side and cheer our own side. That’s how our adversary based political system is supposed to work and that how it has been practiced in this country. Well, I don’t agree. We must praise or criticize based on the merit of the act or policy, not based on party politics.

I read with interest today’s (7th June, 2008) News Straits Times’ report in page 8 entitled “Size no longer matters for places of worship”. The new Selangor State government had abolished the requirement that new non-Muslim places of worship be restricted to 10,000 sq feet. It has also agreed to raise the annual budget for non-Muslim places of worship from the current RM 3 million.

After reading the report, I can’t help but say to “Well done and its about time!”

I am not sure whether the ‘requirement’ of 10,000 sq feet was a ruling or policy matter under the previous BN state government. If my memory serves me right there had been instances where the BN state government had granted one acre or more for new non-Muslim places of worship. However, I also remember that often time, land for new places of worship had been restricted to 10,000 sq feet. Numerous attempts to break this barrier by the then State Exco Member, YB Dato K.Sivalingam had been met with brick wall resistance by the then state administration.

As I understood it, the ‘requirement’ was introduced by a Dato Bandar of Shah Alam (I can’t remember who) and the ‘requirement’ was subsequently adopted by other local councils. No amount of internal objections and arguing persuaded the then state government to drop the unwritten restriction. They probably thought there was only one way of administrating the state. It was either ‘my way or the highway’.

Well, the state BN is on the highway now.

There are lessons to be learnt from all this. Governments must put its people first. It must realize that it is there because of the people and for the people. When we allow the whim and fancy of any officer(s) to take precedent over the need and sentiment of the populace, the people will be left with no choice but to punish the entire administration for the acts of some and inaction of the rest.

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Ahmad Ikmal’s statement that UMNO Youth was against increasing the PSD’s scholarship quota for non-Bumiputra applicants from 10 per cent to 45 per cent is a step in the wrong direction.

Whilst it is understandable that Ahmad Ikmal has the interest of the Malay students at heart, leaders of BN should not forget that we represent all Malaysians and must place the interest of the Nation first.

The Malay students need not fear or worry as the government did not decrease the number of Malay students offered PSD Scholarship (1,100) compared to previous years. Nor did they increase the requirement to qualify for such scholarships.

The government merely increased the number students that have been offered scholarships in keeping with the large number of non-Malay students that had obtained excellent results. This bodes well for the country and our brain bank.

The cry of non-Malay students that performed well above the minimum cut-off point but were turned down for PSD Scholarship year after year is a clear indication that the 10% quota for non-Malays was grossly unfair and deprived many excellent students from pursuing their dream. An increase to 45% is a step in the right direction and must be welcomed by all.

We must not forget that all students, irrespective of race are children of this Nation and must be equitably nurtured.
The government must work towards establishing our education system based on meritocracy to benefit from its best students.

Murugesan Sinnandavar
MIC CWC Member