Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Rein in the troublemakers, Najib
The BN government should stop rallies that are meant to whip up racial and religious sentiments. It is the government who always say that race and religion are sensitive issues so it is only right that rallies of such nature be disallowed.
“BN as a political party must not think that it can do as it likes. This is year 2014. People have already woken up to the era of new politics. Don’t try to start any nonsense because the nation will fall,” said Khalid Samad the PAS Shah Alam MP.
He also warned any parties attempting any nonsense to face up to the fact that Selangor voters can see through their ploy.
That is certainly true. These days the rakyat, especially the poor, are busy focusing on food prices, housing, jobs, children’s needs and loan repayments because many are struggling to survive.
Nizar Jamaluddin, a PAS lawmaker from Perak told BN not to play a fool or take the rakyat as fools.
“BN leaders and the NGOs aligned to them must not take the rakyat for granted as this is the 21st century,” commented Nizar.
The government especially Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must come out strongly to warn off those attempting to use race and religion to gain political mileage. He must also really solve the problem of the soaring cost of living. It is futile to just check on prices here and there on an ad-hoc basis.
The grocery shop owner in a corner of Kepong Baru or Pokok Sena is not going to bother with the Deputy Prime Minister or any other government minister checking on prices of the goods being sold in their shops.
It is all a waste of time and a mere publicity ploy to fill up the newspaper pages with BN leaders’ pictures for rural consumption. This propaganda stunt will only succeed in influencing the gullible.
There is also no necessity to set up any special committee to look into the problem of the rising cost of living. As mentioned in a previous article, all the government needs to do is to bring down the RON95 petrol price and the electricity tariff.
But as the government is not going to do that, then their heroics is akin to King Canute trying to turn back the waves for it is 100% impossible to stop the price hikes and the rise of inflation.
In the meantime, there are some quarters that are trying their utmost to divert the price hikes issue by turning the rakyat’s attention to race and religion issues.
Although temporarily the rakyat’s attention might be diverted, it is still back to earthly matters after being side-tracked for one week the most. Heaven can wait as we are waging a daily battle on earth to combat the assault on our daily expenditure.
Still, PAS is ever vigilant.
No plan, no vision
In a hint at the troublemakers who aim to ignite racial tension, PAS information chief, Mahfuz Omar has issued a stern warning by saying: “We know what they are thinking. And we are monitoring them closely. They would be foolish to think about it, what more to attempt it.”
Indeed, those who think of sabotaging the rakyat for their own selfish gains had better think twice as this time the opposition is stronger than in the era immediately post-Independence.
Moreover, the citizens are wiser too and the price hikes have lessened the number of gullible voters among the general urban and semi-urban public.
PAS too is stronger now than in the old days.
Selangor PAS, with Khalid Samad being one of the outstanding moderate voices, has come out to state that no one should attempt to stir trouble and those who do so will have their names and political affiliations exposed.
The BN government must be constantly reminded that this is not the bygone era.
Take for instance the South Pole visit by Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Said. Netizens have blasted him for wasting taxpayers’ money for a questionable venture.
These days people do not treat the government as God. Gone are the days when people always assume that what the government says is correct, truthful and good.
The government is slowly alienating themselves from the ordinary rakyat due to its arrogance and know-it-all attitude. This is because PM Najib seems to have no plan or vision in mind.
Nizar described the Prime Minister as being “dazed and confused and in the process is leading us on to the edge of the cliff and he also looks as if he is taking instructions from someone else.”
At the end of the day, PM Najib must rein in the troublemakers.
Failure to do so will show him up as being weak, helpless and hopeless.
What will become of the nation then? He should take note that we are already falling behind many of our Asean neighbours, including Myanmar.
Selena Tay is a DAP member and a FMT columnist.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
We were tricked into converting to Islam, claim Christian villagers in remote Sabah district
BY DESMOND DAVIDSON
JANUARY 20, 2014
JANUARY 20, 2014
It has been filled to the brim since the first Sunday of 2014.
But what was strange in this revival of faith in this dirt poor village of 100 people is that a third of the worshippers are “Muslims” – or are supposed to be.
“They think they had converted us (to Islam). They are wrong. We are still Christians and our faith in God has not changed,” housewife Lenney Masangal said, explaining the presence of “Muslims” at the church.
The 41-year-old mother of three was one of 33 people from the village who claimed that they were tricked into converting into Islam for a mere RM100 on New Year's day.
They were part of a group of about 64 people, including children, from three villages in Pitas – Kampung Layung Maliau, Dowokon and Sosop – who had allegedly been converted.
A fellow villager, on returning from Pitas town, called everyone to his house to announce the “good news” that “some people from Kuala Lumpur” are giving them financial assistance.
“We all went to his house to hear how we could receive the financial assistance,” farmer Maison Bilu said.
When told that the amount would be RM800 per person, Maison was beyond excited.
The 44-year-old lost all sense of reasoning as he – there are seven of them in his family – was only thinking of how much he would be getting.
“Nobody asked who were these people giving us the financial assistance. We were only told 'people from Kuala Lumpur'. We didn't even ask the reason they are giving us this money,” Maison said.
“Everyone just wanted the money. That's all.”
Getting RM800 was like winning the lottery for the villagers who depended on subsistence farming to survive.
Maison plants tapioca, vegetables and maize to feed his family.
Like everybody else in the village, he does not plant cash crop.
The village is still without electricity and running water.
Those who could afford it have generators to light up their houses and power the all-important television sets.
To get to the village, one will first have to take a two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu to Kota Marudu.
From Kota Marudu, its another two-hour drive up one of the state's “dog's ears” to Sungai Penipak, a major river in Pitas.
From the river, it's another long and exhausting walk of an hour or so on the dirt road left over by the company that used to harvest timber in the area.
The road is strewn with fist-sized boulders taken from the Penipak river and typical of logging roads, many sections are steep.
When it rains, the road is a slippery quagmire. When it's dry, it's dusty.
It is so remote that every one of their elected representatives in the last 50 years had never set foot in the village.
Neither had Muslim missionaries.
“To get it was also easy. We just have to give our name and MyKad number to that neighbour of ours. No questions asked.
“However, we were told we have to go to Pitas town hall the next day (New Year's day) to receive the cash.”
So early the next day, the 33 villagers excitedly trudged down the dirt road for the 3km New Year walk to the river.
Once they crossed the river via a suspension bridge, three cars were waiting to take them to the town hall.
“When we reached the hall, we were told to go to the 'masjid' (mosque) instead,” Maison said.
“At the mosque, we were all treated to refreshments and then they asked for our MyKad. We were then asked to sign a form. I don't know what the form was as I could not read or write. No one explained to us what the form was.
“All of us were illiterates. I never went to school and neither did my wife,” he said of his wife Nafsiah Momin.
“So I put my finger print on the form.”
What baffled Maison was that the person who helped him put his finger print on the form did not take the form from him.
“He gave me a large envelope and inside the envelope were several smaller, coloured envelopes.
“I did not immediately open them to check what was inside as we were then told to stand in a line across the room.
“At the end of it, the man told us that we have converted to Islam and we are now all Muslims.
“I was shocked. I quickly dragged my wife and children out of the mosque to ask ourselves what was going on,” Maison said.
He said when he later opened the smaller envelopes, he found RM100 in the yellow envelopes and RM50 in the green envelopes.
It was only later that he found out that the RM100 were for adults and the RM50 for children.
The form that Maison still had with him was later passed to a church elder who informed him that it was a consent form and he had consented to be converted to Islam.
“Yes, RM800 is a very large sum of money to me. I felt very happy to think that I was going to get such financial assistance.
“But only to find out later that I had been deceived for RM100 and covertly converted, I really felt cheated."
Jusman's wife Lenny said the so-called conversion meant nothing to all of them.
“We are still Christians. We still go to church every Sunday and the church has been packed since this incident.”
After more than two weeks of mental agony, Lenny said she felt “happier” now as Christian non-governmental organisations in the state had engaged a lawyer to seek legal redress and see how the villagers could get out of their religious predicament.
“I had never thought of being a Muslim and never want to be one.”
The villagers, led by the neighbour who told them of the assistance, Makadan Masabu, 54, had lodged a police report over the alleged covert conversion.
They urged police to investigate their claim of covert conversion so that they not only retain their faith as Christians but to warn others who might be similarly tricked. – January 20, 2014.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Look who’s talking, DAP ticks off Putrajaya over claims of control by pro-opposition businessmen
JANUARY 19, 2014
Its national publicity chief Tony Pua said Barisan Nasional has been cultivating crony businessmen to dominate, monopolise and control the supply and distribution of many basic goods and services over the past 30 years.
He said the price of rice had been rising because Bernas Bhd had been given the right to monopolise its import.
"Bernas Bhd is a private company owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and it holds the rights to import rice on behalf of traders in Malaysia.
"Therefore, the company makes fat and easy profits while at the same time causing the price of rice to increase. The same applies to many other essential goods, including sugar," Pua said in a statement.
His comments come after Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had blamed pro-opposition middlemen for the rise in the prices of goods and services.
Pua said Tenaga Nasional Berhad has been forced by Barisan Nasional to purchase the majority of its electricity from independent power producers (IPPs).
"Why has the electricity tariffs increased?" Pua asked, adding that TNB paid the IPPs significantly higher prices for the electricity that it could actually produce on its own at lower prices.
He also noted that the prices of medicine in Malaysian hospitals were 148% more expensive compared to Australia.
"This is because Putrajaya forced our hospitals to purchase medicines from their designated middlemen, Pharmaniaga Bhd," Pua said.
He highlighted the infamous RM482 million Shah Alam Hospital project, which was awarded to Sunshine Fleet Sdn Bhd.
"The project was subcontracted wholly to another contractor by Sunshine Fleet for RM451 million in 2007."
Pua said despite the millions of ringgit already paid out by Putrajaya, until today, the project has stalled with no signs of being completed.
"These are all excellent examples of how pro-Barisan Nasional cronies and middlemen have caused the prices of goods and services to rise in Malaysia," Pua pointed out.
He said Putrajaya's spendthrift ways and extravagant tastes have also caused the country's fiscal deficit to rise.
"It is a knock-on effect, when Malaysia's fiscal deficit rises, the country's credit rating is affected, forcing Putrajaya to embark on massive subsidy reduction which results in today's painful inflation."
Pua said Tengku Adnan's attempt to blame pro-opposition middlemen for the hike in prices of goods and services proved that he was nothing more than a "kangkung minister".
"This is one of the most ridiculous excuses and accusations made by a Barisan Nasional minister. It shows they have run out of plausible excuses to defend the rising prices in Malaysia," he said.
Pua issued a challenge to Tengku Adnan to name the so-called pro-opposition middlemen who were increasing prices of goods and services.
"If Pakatan Rakyat truly controlled the economy through these middlemen, Barisan Nasional would have lost Putrajaya in the 13th general election," he said.
"Why does Tengku Adnan wait until 2014 to come out and make these ridiculous remarks? Stirring discontent should be before a general election, not after!"
Pua told Tengku Adnan to stop looking for "kangkung excuses" to defend Barisan Nasional and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Yesterday, Tengku Adnan had blamed pro-opposition middlemen for deliberately increasing prices of goods and services, and inciting the public's hatred against Barisan Nasional.
His comments came following a series of memes and YouTube clips mocking Najib over remarks that he had made last week when speaking about the cost of living.
Najib had complained that Putrajaya is blamed whenever the prices of goods rise, but not praised when they fall, pointing out that the cost of kangkung (water spinach) has dropped.
The prime minister’s remarks on kangkung resulted in parodies by netizens and attracted global interest, with British news service BBC publishing a report titled “#BBCtrending: Be careful what you say about spinach”. – January 19, 2014.
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