Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
A MCA Youth delegate today called on the authorities to detain Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for making racist remarks.
He also wanted the security law to be invoked against suspended Umno Penang leader Ahmad Ismail who courted controversy recently by describing the Chinese in Malaysia as squatters.
Perak delegate Ting Tai Fook (right) made the call during the debates at the MCA Youth annual general meeting held at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Khairy, who was one of the VIPs present at the MCA Youth meet this morning, has however left shortly after the opening before the debates commenced.
Ting took Khairy, who is also the son-in-law of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to task over his remarks concerning the ratio of the bumiputera and non-bumiputera quota on scholarships.
He said such remarks were not only condoned by the Umno leadership but also paved the way for Ahmad to make similar offensive remarks.
At this juncture, Ting said the ISA should not be used against civilians as seen in a crackdown last month.
“If we want to use ISA, let’s use ISA against these few people first [...] I also believe Khairy, this irresponsible leader will be defeated badly in the coming Umno Youth chief elections,” he said to applause from the delegates.
The Perak MCA Youth delegate stressed that the ethnic Chinese were not second-class citizens or the servants in this country.
Ting also hit out at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and accused him of being a liar for consistently claiming that he has the numbers to form government.
Resolution targets Khairy, Ahmad
Meanwhile, a majority of the MCA Youth delegates also echoed the dissatisfaction concerning the remarks made by Khairy and Ahmad.
Replying to Ting in the winding-up later, MCA Youth legal bureau chief Gan Ping Sieu said the wing is against the use of ISA against any civilian.
Apart from coming under heavy fire during the debates, one of the resolutions adopted at the meeting was also made in reference to Khairy and Ahmad. The resolution condemned several “narrow-minded leaders.”
“Their action will jeopardise the racial ties in this multiracial country which is formed based on different ethnicity, cultures and religions.
“Therefore, MCA Youth urges the relevant quarters to take immediate action to avoid these extremists from affecting the harmony in the country,” read the resolution.
Although the resolution did not name Khairy and Ahmad directly, it however stated that the reason for this resolution was due to the duo’s recent statements.
“Khairy made a statement in Parliament that the non-bumiputeras have taken away the bumiputeras’ privileges and their quota for the (government’s) JPA scholarship. His statement is against the cabinet decision.
“Ahmad also made a statement filled with racist elements to the extent that it caused unhappiness in the society. Therefore, serious action should be taken against these racist leaders,” read the document.
Other than this, the other resolutions which were passed included calling on the government to review the ISA and Printing Presses and Publications Act 1948 to make it relevant with the current times.
The Youth wing also expressed support for the government’s move to set up the Malaysian Commission of Anti-Corruption, as well as a special complaints commission on the reforms of the police force and judicial appointment commission.
In another development, the MCA Youth election results announced at 7pm revealed that those seen to be aligned to the new Youth chief Dr Wee Ka Siong had made a near clean sweep.
Except for the newly-elected deputy secretary-general Loh Chew June, the rest were those whose names had appeared on the cai dan (list of preferred candidates) that was widely circulated today.
As expected, Perak MCA Youth chief Dr Mah Han Soon won the No 2 post. He garnered 1,152 votes to beat his opponent Song Kee Chai, who polled 394 votes.
Wee, who was the wing’s secretary-general, won the top post uncontested on Monday.
Met by reporters later, Loh thanked the delegates for their support despite him not being on the cai dan. He said this had spurred him to work harder in order to get support from the delegates.
Those who were elected into the wing’s top posts include vice-chairpersons Yong Chen Leong, Yoo Wei How, Dr Chin Tung Leong and Yit Lee Kok. The new secretary-general is Chai Kim Seng.
Cheng Lee Whee, a self-employed programmer who is a volunteer for human rights group Suaram, lodged the police report at the Permas Jaya police station in Johor Bharu at about 3pm yesterday.
The report was made in response to the forced eviction of squatters in Kampung Baru Plentong Tengah - a predominantly Malay village akin to Kuala Lumpur’s Kampung Baru - and the arrest of 27 individuals for attempting to stop the demolition of the settlement.
Cheng was summoned by inspector Azman Mustafa to the state police headquarters in Seri Alam at around 8pm so that her statement could be taken relating to her police report.
Four of her friends accompanied her to the police station, among them were Suaram Johor Bahru coordinator Nyam Kee Han, Parti Socialis Malaysia central committee member Choo Shinn Chei and Suaram volunteer See Siew Min. The three were arrested yesterday at the forced eviction.
At around 10.45pm, after Cheng had her statement recorded by the police, she was informed by Criminal Investigation Department chief DSP Mohd Nor Rasid that she had been arrested under section 28 of the ISA for "spreading false information".
Section 28 of the ISA involves the dissemination of false reports.
According to the section, "Any person who, by word of mouth or in writing or in any newspaper, periodical, book, circular or other printed publication or by any other means spreads false reports or makes false statements likely to cause public alarm, shall be guilty of an offence."
According to lawyers, section 28 does not empower the police to detain a suspect without trial. The suspect must be brought to court within 24 hours either to be charged or be further remanded to facilitate police investigation.
‘Police chief confirmed ISA arrest’
Cheng was later escorted to the Pasir Gudang police station where she is expected to be remanded tomorrow for further investigation.
DAP state assemblymen for Skudai, Dr Boo Cheng Hau, toldMalaysiakini that he had spoken to Johor police chief Mokhtar Shariff as well as Seri Alam OCPD Supt Roslan Zainuddin by phone and both officers confirmed that Cheng had been held under ISA.
He called on the police to either charge Cheng or free her as soon as possible.
Attempts by Malaysiakini to contact Mokhtar and Roslan were unsuccessful.
Last year, the ISA was invoked in Johor against five individuals for allegedly spreading rumours through SMSes about racial clashes.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
While tests in Taiwan showed that this said cheese packet contained melamine at 70 ppm, Malaysian tests conducted by the Health Ministry found that the creamer and cheese powder are FREE of melamine.
Under such circumstances, I am challenging Health Minsitry Liow Tion Lai to sue Pizza Hut Taiwan for alleging that the Made-In-Malaysia cheese packet is contaminated with melamine. Pizza Hut Taiwan has severely damaged the good name of Malaysia and it is only correct that the Health Ministry first demand an unreserved apology from Pizza Hut Taiwan and/or to sue Pizza Hut Taiwan for damages.
Failing which, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai must resign for his incompetency in managing this crisis.
The Star further reports that while the cheese powder is sourced from New Zealand, nothing is mentioned as to the source of the creamer. That's the level of transparency we get.
This being the case, allow me to shed some light regards the melamine tainted cheese packet supplied to Pizza Hut Taiwan.
Pick Food and Machinery Corp is the manufacturer and supplier of the said melamine tainted cheese packet that's supplied to Pizza Hut Taiwan. While the cheese powder used to produce the cheese packet comes from New Zealand, the creamer is sourced from Malaysia, supplied by Eonlipids Sdn Bhd.
So, which is melamine contaminated? The cheese powder supplied by Fonterra Brands Pte Ltd or the creamer supplied by Eonlipids Sdn Bhd?
The bad news is that Fonterra had claimed that its cheese powder had been tested in Taiwan and was cleared. Now, Malaysian Health Ministry clears the creamer! However, allow me to quote The New Straits Times on how Liow Tiong Lai clears this cheese packet as melamine free:
Liow said tests on "cheese packets" made from creamer and cheese powder imported from New Zealand showed they were melamine-free.
It is clear that either Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai is being fed misinformations or he is simply lying through his teeth. Again I ask, who is the Health Minister protecting? The businesses or the rakyat?
The worry does not stop here. As Eonlipids Sdn Bhd is the supplier of the said creamer that's used to produce the cheese packet, Eonlipids also produces these products.
The New Straits Times quoted Liow Tiong Lai as saying, "the creamer used in making 3-in-1 instant coffee and instant cereal had been reported tainted by several websites after Pizza Hut Taiwan found melamine at 70 ppm in the cheese packets"
At this point, how safe is our creamer product? The coffee creamer, milk tea creamer, ground coffee creamer, high fat baking creamer, herbal creamer, rtd creamer, cappuccino creamer, liquid creamer, vegetarian creamer and filled milk creamer?
As at today, for the records on Made-In-Malaysia melamine products,
1. Melamine Cheese Sandwich (Taiwan) - Health Ministry clears
2. Melamine Cheese Packet (Pizza Hut Taiwan) - Health Ministry clears.
3. Melamine Cookies (Vietnam) - under investigations.
Resign now, Liow Tiong Lai, before Malaysia sees the first death due to melamine!
Update: The spins;
The Star: The creamer for the cheese packet is supplied by a Malaysian company and it is also used to make products such as three-in-one instant coffee and cereal while the cheese powder is imported from New Zealand.
NST: Liow said tests on "cheese packets" made from creamer and cheese powder imported from New Zealand showed they were melamine-free
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Ok, never mind if I'm alone to take on this lying Health Minister.
A few days ago, I blogged that Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai was lying through his teeth when he said that the European Union countries have a permissible level of 30ppm melamine in foodstuffs. He proved himself incompetent and unfit to be a Health Minister when he attempted to convince and to coax the rakyat to consume food products that are tainted with melamine as long as the content is below the 'permissible' level. Hence, I called for his resignation.
The Health Ministry has not been transparent in its handling of this crisis and there are many questions that demand answers. I have only a few questions and I asked the Health Minister to reveal all the informations, including the person or persons responsible for feeding him misinformations about permissible level of melamine in food products as well as the person or persons responsible for the testing method, the reasons why the approach was taken and its limitations, because the rakyat have the rights to challenge the government's decisions and the need for information to be transparent and readily available.
The first answer I received regards testing method was through 2 pieces of news articles published in The Star and Bernama. Speculations have it that it is the manufacturers who provide their test results to the ministry. Let's hear out the spins:
The Star: 1008 products have guarantee safety by the manufacturers.
Bernama: 1008 products found to be free of the substance (melamine)
In my opinion, based on the spins above, there could be a truth. The bare truth could be that the Health Ministry takes it as gospel truth when manufacturers provide their test results to the ministry and that the ministry will in turn just rubber stamp the test results and presto, the food products are melamine free! Isn't this a possibility? Is the Health Minister defending the manufacturers?
UPDATE: We should not have to depend on foreign health institutes alone to obtain these findings for us - The Star
I once again stress that there isn't such a thing as a permisisble level of melamine in food products. To allow melamine is akin to allowing dioxin to be added into food products, which is an illegal act. Worse, legalising melamine in food products, however low the permissible level, is to encourage manufacturers to cheat. Any manufacturer will now know how to boost the protein level in their food products and will surely explore this loophole.
10 days ago, Taiwan's Health Minister Lin Fang-yu resigned over this mishandling of the crisis when he raised the 'permissible' level of melamine from ZERO to 2.5ppm. Why so? It is clear that ZERO means melamine in food products is illegal while a 2.5ppm melamine in food products is legalising melamine in food products.
Today, our Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai has followed in the foodsteps of Taiwan's ex-Health Minister to legalise melamine in food products when he openly declared that from now on, the permissible level of melamine in food products is 2.5 ppm while for baby products, 1 ppm is allowed!
This is clearly a mishandling of the crisis and our Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai is incompetent. Is he going to legalise dioxin in food products too? Who is more important, the manufacturers or the lives of rakyat?
For putting the health and lives of the rakyat at risks, this Health Minister must resign!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
First of all, did Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai misled the rakyat when he coaxed us to consume foodstuffs that contain melamine as long as it is within the permissible level? What permissible level? Our Health Ministry has not enlighten us what Malaysia's safety level is! Liow Tiong Lai had only mentioned that the European Union countries have it at 30 ppm which is a lie. There isn't such a thing as a safety level of melamine in foodstuffs. It is ZERO!
Now that Taiwan exposed that one of the found products containing Melamine came from Malaysia, it amuses me that our Health Ministry is super efficient in coming out to defend the manufacturer saying that it was a one-off consignment with a Malaysian company and that the ingredients were supplied by the company in Taiwan.
I hate to say it but that's not convincing enough. Food Quality and Safety Department director Noraini Mohd Othman also mentioned that over 200 types of food products worth RM469,158 had been sealed since Sept 23. Please, please, please, I'm pleading with you, let us know the list of the over 200 types of food products. We want product names! We don't want numbers and figures.
Noraini also spilled the beans to confirm suspicions as to how foodstuffs are deemed safe for consumption by declaring that '1008 products have guarantees of safety by the manufacturers'. What? Is it to mean that the department relies on test results supplied by the manufacturers as speculated? It is true! And what guarantee of safety? It is to guarantee that the food products contain melamine but below the 'permisisble' level set by the Health Ministry or it is a guarantee of safety tht the food products do not contain melamine?
Which is which? What is the safety level of melamine permitted by the Health Ministry? Is there really such a thing as a permissible level of melamine in food products? Who exactly is the Health Ministry protecting, businesses or the rakyat?
Crisis of confidence, do any of you remember the mad cow scare a few years ago? What if I were to refresh your memory that an international consumer rights group known as Foodwatch reported that bovine meat and bone meal which could be a source of bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE contamination was exported from Germany to Malaysia?
Consumer Association of Penang is calling on the Health Ministry to check on this report and make public its findings. Till now, no news forthcoming!
And oh, this mad cow disease made its way to Georgetown, Penang. That answers why symptoms of this madness was seen recently to the extent that when a reporter reported this mad cow, she was detained under ISA for her safety!
Update: Bernama reports that 1008 products from 36 companies were found to be free of the substance (melamine), quoting Noraini.
The Star: 1008 products have guarantee safety by the manufacturers
Bernama: 1008 products found to be free of the substance (melamine)
Understand now why I call it a crisis of confidence?
The formula in calculating our pump prices of fuel is considered a priviledged secret and could probably be protected under OSA. Beats me, I wonder why the need for such secrecy when such a simple thing should be made transparent.
Take a look at the widget on the right. The quoted gasoline prices per gallon are ex-refinery. Therfore, we can conclude that the gasoline is engine-ready. Next, different states in the United States imposes different amount of taxes. Finally, we would need to add transportation and commissions.
Let's toy with some figures again. We shall take a similar product that's available in Malaysia and that would be RON 92 (regular).
Ex-refinery, US2.61 per gallon. Each US gallon equals 3.785 litres.
US2.61 / 3.785 = US0.689 per litre, convert to Ringgit, US0.689 X 3.40 = RM2.34 per litre
So, ok. We can somehow conclude that the ex-refinery price of Regular grade gasoline (RON92) is RM2.34 per litre.
The cheapest gasoline in the US today could possibly be found in Kansas City, at US2.85 per US Gallon. There's a website called www.GasBuddy.com and you would be able to view prices of gasoline across the US and Canada, with prices updated on a regular basis and sometimes the update can be as often as twice a day!
Picking the lowest available gasoline at US2.85 per US Gallon, pump price, we can somehow make a rough estimate that taxes, transportation and commission come to;
US2.85 - US2.61 = US0.24. This of course, is again an assumption.
Now, let's get further. Using this same price of Regular Grade gasoline (RON92), we try to convert to Ringgit per litre.
US2.85 / 3.785 X RM3.40 = RM2.56 per litre.
Aha! Maybe now we're getting somewhere. At 7-Eleven, Kansas City East, Friday 11.45am, the price of Regular grade RON92 gasoline, UNSUBSIDISED, is at RM2.56 per litre.
How about the price of subsidised Regular Grade RON92, pump price, in Malaysia? RM2.30
What's the difference between subsidised and unsubsidised Regular Grade RON92, the price difference between an oil importing nation and and oil exporting nation?
Well, a meagre 26 sen! And that, our UMNO gomen tells us that they are subsidising 33 sen per litre!
And oh, see the mess in Kuala Lumpur lately? Gas station running dry on fuel? Why so?
Friday, October 3, 2008
"God could have made everyone the same, but He didn't."
"If you put me in an entirely homogenous place, same religion, same race, same everything, I will die in three weeks."
"I need diversity. That's my natural habitat"
"We are to learn from our differences, not use them to divide us"
Diversity is 'fingerprint of God'. Read here.
Of the 18, 5 cookies brands imported from Malaysia and Indonesia had high contents of melamine! See if you can nail down the Buatan Malaise-ia 'melamine' cookies!
Vietnam's list of melamine tainted products:
1. Dai Vinh Company: Khong Guan, Khina Guan Aquare Puff, Khong Guan Marie and Khian Guan Superior
2. Anco Company: Full Cream Milk Powder
3. Kim An Company: Yili Milk
For full list, read here.
What is this product labelled under Malaysian sun? I wouldn't dare speculate the brand name I heard in case I face a lawsuit and possibly be protected by Syed Botak under his ISA protection law but I have this question for all of you to digest.
Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that it is safe to consume melamine-tainted products as long as it is below the 'permissible' level of 30 ppm.
In such a case, if the same cheese sandwich is sold in Malaysia but packaged under a different name, does it mean that our Health Ministry won't remove them from the shelves?
Is it possible that after all the tests conducted, there could be many products tainted with melamine being sold because they passed the 'permissible' level of 30 ppm?
In view of this, we must demand that the Health Ministry release its test results public so that we can make a decision for ourselves whether to buy the melamine tainted products.
I have every reason to believe that melamine tainted products are sold openly in Malaysia but are not taken off the shelves because they PASSED the 30 ppm limit.
Health Ministry protecting who? Businesses or rakyat? I demand that this Health Minister, Liow Tiong Lai resign immediately!
Although tests showed that the amount of melamine is below the raised safety level of melamine at 2.5 ppm, DOH still ordered their removal as a temporary and cautious measure. This safety level was raised from 0 to 2.5 ppm last week which resulted in the resignation of Taiwan's health minister, Lin Fang-yu while over here on Malaysian soil, our health minister Liow Tiong Lai is misleading us to believe that as long as food products contain melamine below 30 ppm, it is safe for consumption!
Taiwan's Premier Liu Chao-hsuan told Parliament that he 'hereby makes a formal request to demand China to apologise to Taiwan' and that after the concerned departments have calculated and confirmed the damages, they will seek compensation from China.
In Vietnam, its Ministry of Health is expected to release a list of melamine-contaminated products. The Health Minister, Cao Minh Quang said that his ministry had identified melamine-tainted milk products imported from Malaysia!
Yep, that's right! Another Made-In-Malaysia product tainted with melamine discovered! Taiwan and Vietnam, who's next? Will Made-In-Malaysia products come under the radar to be tested for melamine globally? What is our Health Ministry doing about it?
Meanwhile, another Dutch Mill Co's 60 tonnes of powder that's imported from China and kept at Samut Prakarn will be tested by Thailand's FDA due to possible melamine contamination. An attempt to return the milk powder to China was blocked by the FDA until test results are known. The FDA had earlier tested 20 tonnes of milk powder stored at Nakhon Pathom for melamine and the result was positive.
In Korea, its Health Minister strengthens stricter food safety and set labelling rules on all food products including those imported. Producers of harmful goods will lose their import license for a second violation and be subjected to class action lawsuits.
In America, instant coffee is being recalled. Read the list of recalled items here.
Questioning the responsibility of our Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, when he mislead the rakyat that it is safe to consume products contaminated with melamine as long as it is within the 'permissible' level of 30 ppm, is he also implying that the government can close one eye if manufacturers add melamine to their products as long as it is within the 'permissible' 30 ppm?
Taiwan's ex-Health Minister Lin Fang-yu resigned over this issue of poor handling of a crisis and the new Health Minister, Yeh Ching-chuan is seen to be handling this crisis well.
What about this Bolehland?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The issue is regards melamine in foodstuffs. Lin Fang-yu raised the level of permissible level of melamine in foodstuffs from zero to 2.5ppm and subsequently apologised to the people of Taiwan. He took the responsibility and duly resigned.
Our Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai today lied through his teeth that the European Union countries allow a 30ppmn melamine in foodstuffs and that Malaysians should not worry about melamine contamination as long as it is within permissible level. What's the permissible level of melamine in Malaysia, when it is zero worldwide and that Taiwan's Health Minister needed to bear responsibility and to resign for raising the level from zero to 2.5ppm (against the 'suggested' 30ppm)?
If there is integrity, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai must apologise immediately and resign!
Melamine is something that is not supposed to be included in foodstuffs and is akin to allowing dioxin to be added into foodstuffs. Adding dioxin to foodstuffs is ILLEGAL and the same is viewed upon melamine.
Liow Tiong Lai lied through his teeth when he claimed that the European Union countries allow 30 parts per million (ppm) of melamin in all food products. According to the US, EU and WHO, the permissible level of melamine is zero, not zero detection.
Liow Tiong Lai is neglecting his duties as Health Minister in asking the public not to panic if they find smal portions of melamine in their food, as long as it is within the permission level. What permissible level? Where did Liow Tiong Lai get his fact that there's a permissible level of melamine in foodstuffs?
Is Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai suggesting that melamine should be allowed in foodstuffs?
In contrast, Taiwan Health Minister, Lin Fang-yu resigned after raising the permissible level of melamine in raw material and processed foodstuffs from zero to 2.5ppm.
I further call upon Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai to reveal all the information, including the person or persons responsible for feeding him such misinformations about permissible level of melamine in foodstuffs as well as the person or persons responsible for the testing method, the reasons why the approach was chosen and its limitations, because the rakyat have the right to challenge the government's decision and the need for information to be transparent and readily available.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Taipei City Health Bureau of Taipei City has decided to examine dairy products from Malaysia after the Golden Kestrel Co. informed the bureau that their cheese sandwich exported from Malaysia contained 29.818 parts per million of melamine.
I'm still checking to find out who's the local manufacturer but we can meanwhile stay away from all Cheese Crackers.
Meanwhile, on this cheesy stuffs, Taiwan's Pizza Hut has voluntarily sent its products to be tested and found melamine in its cheese-to-go. Acting accordingly, Pizza Hut Taiwan advises customers to dump those to-go packets.
And guess where do the tainted cheese powder come from? Oh no! Allegedly, from Malaysia!
It seems apparently clear that our Ministry of Health is not doing enough to protect the safety of the people. It baffles the mind to see the big names in Malaysia paying big bucks to place advertisements in newspapers that their ingredients are not sourced from China.
How about placing advertisemens guaranteeing that their products are melamine-free? Surely, such a bold claim can open their doors to lawsuits and claims.
Yet gain, what's the hell is our Health Minister doing about this crisis? Can he come clean and be transparent to enlighten the citizenry how the tests are conducted and who conduct the tests? Is it the manufacturers providing the MOH with test results or are the tests conducted by the MOH itself or through third party?
In Taiwan, the DOH came out transparent to explain how they conduct the tests. Their Health Minister publicly assuaged the public's concerns with this standard testing method while ours is apparently busy with something else like perhaps its own survival whether in MCA or at worst, the fall of UMNO.
So, still wanna bet your kidneys? Taiwan has linked Malaysia to Melamine-contaminated products and it is only right that our Health Minister replies with findings and actions.
It is too late to sweep everything under the carpet!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Malaysiakini reported that "a ransom was paid for both the ships (MISC oil tankers). We delivered the money with the help of the navy. It was cash on delivery", quoting MISC chairperson Mohamad Hassan Merican.
Ok, fine. Let's not argue whether it is morally correct to give in to the demands of the hijackers. Right or wrong, what's proven is that Hospital Bahagia will get a new patient soon. How soon? Well, maybe on or before 09/10/2008.
The evidence that this mentally challenged flip-flopping lame duck Prime Minister is certified to check-into this asylum? The report in details; (please pay attention to the highlighted texts in bold)
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says the release of two tankers held by pirates in the Gulf of Aden was "a gift from God to us."
Somali pirates had been holding the two MISC Berhad vessels for 40 days. The MT Bunga Melati 2 was released Monday and the MT Bunga Melati 5 was freed Sunday with their crews unharmed, the Malaysian news agency Bernama reported.
"This is a Hari Raya Aidilfitri gift from God to us, especially the families of the crew of MT Bunga Melati 2 and MT Bunga Melati 5," Badawi said.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the Malaysian celebration of the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
MISC Berhad Chairman Tan Sri Hassan Marican told Bernama the company had no plans to change the routes of its ships through the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden. He said such changes would require the vessels to take a longer time to reach their destinations.http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/09/30/Release_of_tankers_called_gift_from_God/UPI-41881222776243/
Yet again, there are doubts. On 23/09/08, I sounded a warning that there could be tainted products on our Malaysian shelves.
Across the causeway, the AVA of Singapore acted firmly and quickly to remove products. That is a very commendable act in the name of protecting the citizens from harm or even death.
Prevention is always better than cure but as if our clowning Health Minister found wanting of being in the know, he declared and boasted that "we were quicker than Singapore in banning products from China and expanding our scope".
Now, as we know, we are still not given a list of products banned in Malaysia and we still don't know how far this bimbo health minister has expanded the scope.
The problem with melamine taited products is far from over. The latest development;
1. Cadbury chocolates is off the shelves in Hong Kong.
2. In Thailand, FDA found melamine in milk powder imported from China by Dutch Mill Co while FDA's off the shelves list are;
i) M&M chocolates
ii) Lotte koala biscuits
iii) Oreo wafer sticks
iv) Dove milk chocolates
v) Snickers caramel peanut bars and nougat
vi) Mentos yoghurt candies
vii) Mao Huad coffee and oatmeal crackers
3. In Indonesia, Kraft Food Inc. and Mars Inc. suspend sales of Chinese-made Oreo, M&Ms and Snickers.
Over here, these companies are spending big bucks advertising in newspapers that their products are safe for consumption after given the all-clear green light by MOH.
Is there something wrong with our government?
Is this country called Malaysia or Malaise-ia?
Monday, September 29, 2008
Malaisie: Victims of hate
Residents and traders have claimed that the number of Africans and other foreigners, mainly students from institutions of higher learning, was growing steadily and that their large number was intimidating.
In Sunday's incident, HELP University College business studies undergraduate Abdel Aziz was murdered.
African undergraduate Abdel Aziz Hassan Abdraman, 22, will never again see his eight-month-old daughter and 19-year-old wife because he was the “victim of a hate crime” that claimed his life.
Abdel Aziz had planned to return home to Chad for Aidilfitri this week and his friends said he was overjoyed at going back to be with his family.
Sunday’s mob attack on 10 African undergraduates in Wangsa Maju caused his death and injured the rest, the victims claimed yesterday.
They said they had been harassed and mocked by the same youths for four consecutive days before the attack.
They further claimed that some youths had even gone up to their Tar Villa apartment and demanded money and cigarettes.
Police confirmed that the victims had been regularly ridiculed by the youths who expressed their displeasure at the increasing presence of Africans in the neighbourhood.
In one incident, a student was also kicked at an Internet café.
Residents and traders have claimed that the number of Africans and other foreigners, mainly students from institutions of higher learning, was growing steadily and that their large number was intimidating.
In Sunday’s incident, HELP University College business studies undergraduate Abdel Aziz was murdered. He sustained stab wounds to the right abdomen and died in the ambulance on the way to Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
Several other students, also from Chad, were injured when they were attacked by some 20 youths wielding metal rods, sticks and knives near the Wangsa Maju LRT station.
Sentul district police chief Assistant Commissioner Zakaria Pagan told Malay Mail that initial investigations revealed that the attack stemmed from the uneasiness of the residents over the behaviour of the Africans.
“We believe the youths who attacked the Africans wanted to teach them a lesson to behave themselves in public.”
Police have detained three men, in their 20s, from Wangsa Maju to assist in investigations. They will be under remand until Saturday.
Police are also examining closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) images near the LRT station to ascertain the events leading to the attack.
Malay Mail learnt the drama unfolded when three undergraduates were on the way to board the LRT to perform terawih prayers at a nearby mosque at 8.30pm.
They were confronted by some 20 youths who were believed to have hurled abuse at them and demanded money.
When the trio ignored them and walked away, the youths, carrying switch blades, pursued them and struck one of them on the head.
The students took refuge at the LRT station and sought assistance from their African friends living nearby.
Seven of their friends, including Abdel Aziz, went to their aid and together they went back to where the trio was attacked.
Abdel Aziz’s cousin, Abdraman Moussa Mohamat, 23, said: “We asked the youths who were seated at the stalls why they had attacked our friends but they came for us suddenly without saying a word.
“We ran for our lives when they began swinging metal rods, sticks and knives at us. In the fracas, Abdel Aziz was stabbed from the back.”
The mob fled after Abdel Aziz collapsed by the roadside some 15 metres from the stalls.
Lamine Moustapha Ahmat, 22, a Rima College student, said he carried the victim while his friends tried in vain to stop a taxi. Many taxis waiting to pick up LRT commuters refused to budge. A passerby then called for an ambulance.
Note: Abdel Aziz first enrolled with the International Islamic University of Malaysia before switching to HELP University College.
His father, who runs a palm oil import-export business, was informed about the tragedy on Sunday night and his brother will arrive today to claim the remains.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Results of the poll, based on 1,002 people of voting age from the country's three main ethnic communities, showed that 39.3 per cent supported Mr Anwar and 33.8 per cent favoured Mr Najib.
The online newspaper said, according to a Bloomberg report, that a majority of Indians and Chinese supported Mr Anwar while Malays favoured Mr Najib. The poll was conducted from Sept 11 - 22.
Mr Abdullah has delayed a leadership election at the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), and said he will decide in the next two weeks whether to contest the position of party chief.
Let racial harmony prevail even without Race Relations Act
“It puzzles me to see the government’s efforts to improve race relations through the enactment of new legislation. While the goals of the proposed law are noble, we must not forget that creating a harmonious multi-ethnic multi-religious society begins with equality.
“Recognising that all Malaysians are created equal, that all our forefathers had toiled and bled for our nation and therefore enjoying equitable rights in Malaysia is fundamental to achieving the stated goal.
“Secondly, value-based education as espoused by former president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam who visited Malaysia recently, beginning at homes and continued in schools, reinforcing that all of us are Malaysians with different cultural backgrounds but equitable rights in this country, is essential.
“We also need political will to ensure that race-based politics, ethno-discriminative laws and practices are abolished. For example, I have primary-school going cousins who are made to feel the differences between Muslims and non-Muslims from a young age.
“Even the school time table is adjusted for Muslims and non-Muslims and I have difficulty answering to their numerous ‘Why is that so?’ questions. I particularly remember a Standard 6 cousin of mine who was ecstatic when she found out that she and her best friend, a Malay girl, had both signed up for a school camping trip.
“However, upon arriving at the pick-up point, the teacher announced that non-Muslims were not allowed to participate in the trip. How can we promote race relations when children are denied the opportunity to mix, even at such a tender age?
“For the record, there is no such thing as non-Muslims. There are however Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists and others. We need to educate our young children, not insulate them from learning about other religions, cultural beliefs and practices. Remember, ignorance breeds danger.
“Until all Malaysians feel they have equal rights in this country and are taught to respect one another, to learn about each others cultural background and religion, enacting legislation to promote race relations would be futile.
“Politicians making grand announcements such as ‘Malaysians respect each other’ or ‘We are all equal’ will merely be spouting rhetoric, until all of us Malaysians actually feel that way. Sadly, that is not the case today.”
Isn’t it ironic that after 51 years of independence (45 years for Sarawak and Sabah) we now find it necessary to legislate laws in order to inculcate racial harmony among Malaysians?
Sad as it may be — it is true that race relations in our country is something that we can no longer be proud of, at least in Semenanjung Malaysia.
Call me a biased Sarawakian if you will, but isn’t it true that racial issues (or even religious issues) have never been a major problem in Sarawak. The last time I heard of murmurs of the racial kind was the drinking of ‘Ribena’ — depicted as the blood of a certain community. But understandably, that was during the heat of an election campaign many many years ago and after that, it was no longer heard nor made an issue.
Those who disagree with me, please relate a recent incident in Sarawak where a racial issue had gotten so ugly that warranted government intervention. Honestly, I can’t think of any.
I can agree totally with the two points brought up by the letter writer — one, that creating a harmonious multi-ethnic multi-religious society begins with equality and two, value-based education beginning at homes and continued in schools, reinforcing that all of us are Malaysians with different cultural backgrounds but equitable rights in this country, is essential.
Let us look at years gone by. During my school days in Kuching, there was no such thing as racial segregation of any kind. The writer’s narration that his primary-school going cousins are being made to feel the differences between Muslims and non-Muslims at such a young age is something unheard of during my time.
Indeed, having the Race Relations Act may not solve the fundamental issues at hand. It all boils down to our education system. A good education system must nurture in its students a desire to live in peace with people of different races and religion, and to contribute to national unity.
Back then, we were allowed to ‘roam’ freely, so to speak. There was freedom to choose between taking Mandarin or Malay (then known as Bahasa Kebangsaan) classes. And as ours was a Catholic school, even Malay students were given the option to choose Scriptures as a subject for a public examination. No one complained because it was clear that other than for academic purposes, there was no motive to convert anyone into any religion.
Above all, I think everything was okay because no rowdy, racist politicians of the kind you find today existed during that time. Yes, I blame racial tension in the country today solely on politicians — the kind who have no right to be in politics in the first place.
And I am truly concerned that some of these people are now involved as legislators in the process to enact the Race Relations Act. These politicians are the last people on earth who should be involved in the drafting of the proposed Act, as they should take 100 per cent blame for the current poor race relations in Malaysia. I believe readers are aware of the kind I’m referring to here. Honestly, I shudder at the thought of their involvement in the proposed legislation.
My solution to the strengthening of racial ties among Malaysians is actually very simple, yet a monumental task too.
It is incumbent upon all of us, young or old, to play our part in maintaining and improving racial harmony in our neighbourhoods, schools, universities, work places and in the public sphere. Seriously, there is no way we can depend on the Race Relations Act or any legislation to ensure racial ties among Malaysians are strengthened.
Yes, it is really up to us to let racial harmony prevail. No law can force us to do that.
(Comments can reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kota Kinabalu: The United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) on Friday demanded that the National Registration Department (NRD) undo its mistake of turning a Sabahan Bumiputra into a Permanent Resident.
Its Deputy President Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing said what had happened to 78-year-old Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin, a Sino-Kadazan, was simply outrageous and warrants Upko seriously reviewing its position in the Barisan Nasional if found to be not just an isolated case.
"How can this happen to a Malaysian citizen who was born here and holding a Native Certificate to prove her citizenship," he said.
He said that if the NRD had committed a genuine mistake, it should have reverted Yong's new status back to a Malaysian citizen right away.
"If the department had purposely committed the atrocious act, they must undo its gross mistake," he said, adding it is sending a bad signal across the nation, particularly to genuine citizens.
"Illegal immigrants can easily acquire MyKads that subsequently enable them to purchase Native Title (NT) lands.
"What is happening with the NRD? This is totally unacceptable. And if this is the tip of the iceberg, I'm afraid we cannot guarantee protection to the genuine citizens," he said.
He said if the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government is not willing to look into this matter as well as into how illegal immigrants could mysteriously acquire Malaysian Identity Cards, Upko will take up the matter and fight for the people.
"If the NRD or government has no satisfactory answer, I strongly urge Upko to seriously review its position in the BN because an identification document is a very important matter as it shows their sense of belonging."
Bumburing said if the NRD is unable to handle Yong's case, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar must intervene.
Yong's life had been turned upside down as a result of the NRD oversight and incompetence.
Her nightmare began when she lost her IC at a Supermarket at Penampang Baru on Feb. 12.
On the same day, she lodged a police report and subsequently on Feb 26, applied for a replacement IC at the NRD office in Donggongon.
After several months, she went and collected her replacement IC at the NRD office and was given a red IC.
She asked the officer why it was red and the lady officer said for senior citizens who lost their IC, the department normally replaced them with red ICs.
She didn't find anything amiss with the officer's explanation until she reached home when her children said red ICs were issued to people with Permanent Resident status.
With the help of her children, they brought the matter up with the NRD together with supporting documents such as her Native Certificate that was issued by the Native Court on Sept 24, 1963, bank books and passport.
The NRD officer admitted there could have been an error but instead of rectifying it, Yong was asked to "apply for Malaysian citizenship" which she duly complied by submitting an application form to the office on July 2, last year.
Her problem did not end there because soon after, her bank accounts at Amanah Saham Nasional and Alliance Bank were frozen making her unable to withdraw money for her daily expenses.
Fluent in Kadazan and Chinese, the mother of seven sons and one daughter can no longer travel outside the country as she could not renew her expired passport.
Strangely, she was allowed to cast her vote at Peak Nam Thong Kindergarten during the recent Mar 8 general elections using her driving licence as identity document since her record in the polling list was still intact.
But her identification records at the Immigration Department, however, had completely "disappeared".
Everywhere Yong goes now, she only uses her driving licence as proof of identity because she is too embarrassed with her predicament.
She now feared that her "new status" would have serious repercussion on her sons and daughter.
Resource Development and Information Technology Assistant Minister, Donald Peter Mojuntin who helped highlight Yong's case, said if it could happen to her, the children's citizenship could also be withdrawn.
"There has never been a case like this before when genuine Malaysians had their citizenship cancelled. If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody (Malaysians)," he said.
As Upko Bureau Chief for Citizenship and Security, the Moyog Assemblyman said he would be pursuing the matter with Sabah NRD Director and also with the Home Minister.
He said that for the NRD to admit their mistake and then asking Yong to reapply for citizenship is simply illogical.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The all-too-familiar tourism advertising gimmicks portray Malaysia as a multi-cultural and pluralistic society, an emerging democracy where people of all cultures, races, and religions live and prosper together; a society where cultural differences are honoured and enduring ideals of humanity can thrive. However, how far do these perceptions differ from the reality of the Malaysian social fabric?
In Malaysia, the third question succeeding name and gender is almost always regarding race. We are identified by our race and the fact is, for better or for worse, the concept has been institutionalised. Though possibly relevant historically, the current generation must ask whether these institutionalised concepts are still appropriate.
At the time of independence when races served different economic functions, leaders would have envisioned the country moving away from such divisive concepts. But looking back 51 years on, it seems that divisions have persisted and we have still not moved forward.
Notwithstanding the methodological limitations of opinion polls, the results of the Merdeka Centre poll on race relations reveal a lack of understanding, poor interaction and strong stereotypes across races.
A mere 36% of Chinese respondents as compared to 89% of Malay respondents said they understand Malay culture. Interestingly, 84% of Chinese respondents thought that Hari Raya Puasa is a Malay New Year celebration.
With regards to stereotypes, 60% of Chinese and Malay respondents agreed that Malays are lazy. 60% of Chinese and Malay respondents agreed that Indians cannot be trusted as compared to 20% of Indian respondents. A majority of Chinese and Malay respondents agreed that the Chinese are greedy.
The conceptions of racial groupings have often been controversial for scientific as well as social and political reasons. While the general consensus favours a biological basis for such divisions, it is possible for a Chinese to be genetically further apart from a fellow Chinese than a Malay.
Furthermore, the definitions of race have been fluid. For example, whilst Arabs may be considered Malays in Malaysia, they would be Arabic in origin.
Take the path of most resistance
Race concepts have been reinforced throughout the colonial era and used as powerful organising tools for western governments. In Rwanda, divisions between the Tutsis and Hutus were non-existent until the arrival of the Belgians, who started classifying them according to the size of their anatomies.
Unlike ethnically Malay countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia where races are not rigidly defined within the confines of religion, the definition of Malay is uniquely enshrined in the Malaysian constitution as a Muslim who speaks Malay and practices Malay customs.
Nevertheless, the term bumiputera has never been formally defined in any official documents. The late Tunku Abdul Rahman in his answer to the parliamentary debate of November 1965 stated that the term had no legal meaning except to denote the natives of Malaya and the Borneo states, Chinese and Indians who have been born locally for several generations, and natives less able to compete with others.
He was eventually pressured to accept the definition which excluded all Chinese and Indians, a concept used politically. Subsequently, the Malays and bumiputeras possess special rights under the constitution. However, the constitution is equivocal as to whether the rights are permanent or remedial and transitional. It is also silent on the time frame. These are contentious issues at the core of race relations in Malaysia.
Studies suggest a cultural basis for race where segregation stems from perception and evolves through differences that are humanly defined.
When the Americans first arrived in Japan, they perceived the Japanese as lazy. Probably there was no economic reason to be hard working in a then slow-paced and isolated Japan. Today, the stereotypes pertaining to Japan are anything but lazy. Similarly, any form of racial stereotypes should not be accepted by Malaysians as a given but as a man-made construct or misconstruct.
Perhaps the way forward for racial integration is the path of most resistance. Perhaps everyone should be compelled to learn the all the languages of other races in schools to facilitate greater understanding amongst races. This is not impossible if we look at countries such as Switzerland where citizens are fluent in three official languages.
Also, education curricula should be revised to provide an impartial perspective of subjects such as history. The original objectives of the New Economic Policy (NEP) to help the needy regardless of race should be strongly advocated and not manipulated to the whims and fancies of certain parties.
We’re suspicious of one another
The problem of racial strife is that of perception. Remedies suggested have always involved major political changes which are beyond the reach of any one individual. However, we need not be too ambitious and underestimate our roles in the civil society. The fact is not so much that there exists interracial animosity but that we are suspicious of one another.
This is partly because we did not have the opportunities to develop friendships with people of other races at the personal level. Many are brought up from a mono-racial background and attend vernacular schools. Instead of defining ourselves against other races, we should endeavour to place ourselves through the lenses of the other races and empathise with their situation. The quid pro quo approach would be the first step to racial integration.
For the non-Malay, would you be willing to sacrifice your special rights if you were Malay? For the Malay, would you give up vernacular schools if you were non-Malay?
It is argued that one cannot discuss racial issues without touching on the ill-fated May 13 incident. Although politicians have taken the stance of ignoring the big elephant in the room, perhaps the only way we can solve the problem of interracial distrust and suspicion is by digging out and examining old skeletons. The question is, are we willing to be objective or do we continue to have a chip on our shoulder?
JOSHUA CHU and MOHAMMAD A HAMID anchored this session. Chu is an alumnus of St John’s College. Mohammad is an engineer by training, currently taking one year off from work to pursue masters degree after 10 years in the industry. Interests include voluntary work with young people and writing.
WILLIAM TAN edited this article. He is currently reading chemical engineering. An arts and music enthusiast who plays the piano during his leisure, Tan also takes interest in and discusses passionately about economical, political and social issues pertaining to Malaysia.