Thursday, August 27, 2009

Public Institutions must be apolitical

Public service should uphold laws that protect the people

I refer to “Don’t drag MACC into political games, says Najib” (Star,Aug 26)
Prime Minister Datuk Seri NajibTunRazak’s advice that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should not be dragged into political games is timely as it comes at a time when then the commission comes under severe criticism for its alleged selective prosecution. Its political neutrality and professionalism are being questioned by many.

In fact not only the MACC but all public institutions must strictly refrain from taking sides in the ongoing political tussle. They should remain politically neutral at all times in carrying out their duties fairly and boldly in accordance with the laws of the country.

The politicization of the public institutions has done a great disservice to the people and the nation. It has created the mindset in the people that the civil service must be subservient to its political masters at all costs, even if it means having to breach the laws under which it works.

The public institutions must be loyal to the government of the day in implementing the policies formulated but their service to the people overrides all other considerations and that must be strictly in keeping with the existing laws alone. They must uphold these laws that are meant to protect the rights of the people regardless of their ethnicity or political inclination.

A truly independent and non-partisan public service is vital for the progress and development of the nation. In advanced democracies like the US, the government may change every 4 years but the public institutions stand firmly unchanged. In Japan there is frequent change of government and the prime minister but the institutions remain intact holding on to the laws under which they are governed. Even in India, a poor country that was torn by war and severe internal squabbles and corruption, racial and religious riots, is now on its way to rapid socio-economic development. This is mainly due to its strong and independent public service that could withstand the tremendous political pressure from outside.

Politicisation of the public institutions has seriously undermined their independence and impartiality. This has created a negative perception of these institutions in the minds of the people who see them as being biased and unfair to certain sections of the population.

The is a need to depoliticize our public institutions and restore their independence to serve all citizens fairly in accordance with the laws governing them. They should advise the politicians against issuing orders that are not in keeping with the laws and regulations. A non-partisan and racially balanced public service would ensure a high level of professionalism in its services to the rakyat.

Political parties, in particular the ruling one, must take the lead to respect the independence of all public institutions. They should refrain from trying to influence the civil servants in wanting to submit to their demands that are unreasonable and at times unethical or even illegal. On the other hand the heads of the various arms of the civil service should be people of high integrity who will not succumb to the unlawful demands of those in power. They must be willing and courageous to uphold the laws at all times under which they are supposed to function.

Most of the evils that we encounter today, in particular corruption and abuse of power can be overcome by ensuring a public service that is professional,strong, truly independent, ethnically balanced and politically non-partisan. Only by being truly neutral can the public institutions like the MACC and other arms of the civil service, including the police and judiciary be able uphold the laws that protect the people against political abuses.


Dr.Chris Anthony

PR grand final speech at Permatang Pasir

Monday, August 24, 2009

Merdeka 52- A truly1Malaysia is the way forward

Where are we heading as a nation?

One of the greatest problems that plagued mankind throughout the ages and continue to do so till today is racism. The Cambridge dictionary defines racism as the belief that people's qualities are influenced by their race and that the members of other races are not as good as the members of your own, or the resulting unfair treatment of members of other races. A racist is therefore someone who believes that other races are not as good as their own and therefore need to be treated different often unfairly.

Basically all of us are racists to some extent as this feeling of superiority exists in the hearts all of us. Racism is an evil that is never condoned by any religions in the world. If we sincerely mean well for the future of our nation, and strictly adhere to our respective religious values, we must strive to rid ourselves of the inherent racist trait from our hearts and regard all men as equal. We are all equal in the eyes of God but not in the eyes of men who claim to profess in Him.

As the nation is gearing up to mark its 52nd year of independence with various elaborate programmes, it may be pertinent for us Malaysians to pause to ponder on our achievements, our problems and the direction we are heading as a nation. Can we say that we are far better off as a nation than we were at the time of independence? In physical development, economy and technology there is no doubt we have advanced tremendously but when it comes to basic human development, democracy and racial unity we must admit that we have failed badly.

Fifty-two years may have passed but the nation is deeply divided by race and religion. In fact the biggest problem that we face today is the deteriorating race relations and its repercussions are threatening the peace, progress and prosperity of the country. It is unfortunate that we have today a new generation of Malaysians, political leaders, parents and the people in general, who are so racially charged so much so they become over sensitive and intolerant to the most trvial comments and criticisms from members of other races. In fact we have succumbed to the ugly influences of racism losing all the goodwill and tolerance that were once our national pride.

The people rose above the racial divide to vote for the adoption of a multiracial concept but this has been severely thwarted by our politicians who are bent on resorting to racial and religious issues to gain support. The divide and rule mentality of our colonialists is still very much alive and active today. Those who advocate a multiracial approach are condemned as traitors ready to be persecuted.
We seem to be going backwards to the era of politics based on race that existed at the time of independence 52 years ago. At that time race politics might have been necessary to unite the individual ethnic communities who had immigrated from other lands but is it still needed when today the people of all races were born and bred in the country with many not having set foot on foreign soil?

Today wherever we go; schools, government offices, places of work, recreational areas and even places of worship we are reminded of our ethnicity. We are constantly reminded of our differences rather than the similarities as Malaysians.

The 1Malaysia concept initiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he took office brought some hope to Malaysians that the era of differential treatment is finally over. There were hopes for the dawn of a new era where all Malaysians will be treated equally but whether these hopes will materialise remains to be seen. A number of incidences since then have however shown that it is not that easy to shred of this emotionally charged racist tendencies from our lives. It is made more difficult by the existence of those opportunists who capitalise on it for their own monetary and political benefits.

We may have attained self rule 52 years ago but where are we as Malaysians today? By right we should be nearer to the ideal state of a united Malaysia where everyone regardless of race and religion will have an equal stake in the fortunes and misfortunes of our nation. We should be nearer a state where all citizens must be treated equally with regards to education, scholarships, job opportunities in the civil service and armed forces. We should be nearer a state where we should have respect not just tolerance and accept the traditions and cultures of those different from ours. Unfortunately we are nowhere near to this ideal scenario; instead we seem to be on divergent paths, moving away from that situation.

We have achieved a state where we have a new generation of Malaysians, political leaders, parents and the people in general, who are born and bred here but so racially charged that they have become over sensitive and intolerant to the most trivial provocations from members of other races. As a result of the suspicion those of other ethnicity we have become comfortable living within the cocoons of our own community and find it insecure, difficult and odd to mingle with fellow Malaysians of a different race and religion.

Under these circumstances forging racial goodwill and integration may be a difficult task but if we do not start now in the small environment around us how can we expect our politicians to do so at the national levels where it is far more complex and challenging?

It is sad that despite our leaders calling for an end to racism, there are no genuine attempts or political will to eradicate it. Our leaders should conduct themselves in a manner that they are seen to be caring for all regardless of ethnicity. As parents we must show our kids an exemplary behaviour that illustrates the right attitude towards our people of different race. In short, while it may be important to propagate our own ethnic cultures, what is more important is for us to adopt a Malaysian culture that is colour blind and which does not distinguish one by his ethnicity but by his comradeship as fellow humans.

On this National day let’s ponder where is all this racism is going to lead us? Unless we unite and say ‘NO’ to racism now we will definitely be heading for self-destruction and doom. As citizens we have to decide our destiny and not allow others with ulterior motives to lead us astray. We must believe and propagate that believe to all around us that what brings us together as Malaysians must be stronger than what pulls us apart.

It is time for all Malaysians to share a common dream, a dream that one day Malaysia becomes a developed nation by the whole-hearted contribution of all its citizens regardless of ethnicity, a day when all communities are accepted as equal and every citizen feels equally proud to be called Malaysians.

Prime Minister has pledged to be the leader for all Malaysians alike; Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and others. On this 52nd.Merdeka let’s pray fervently that God him the courage and the political will to work together with all parties including the opposition to initiate the cascade reactions that will lead to the dawn of a new Malaysia where all races can work together hand in hand without fear or suspicion to realize our dream of a truly 1Malaysia?


Dr.Chris Anthony

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Merdeka 52 – A united nation only way forward

Creating a truly 1Malaysia

The nation is to mark its 52nd year of independence with various elaborate programmes, parades, cultural shows, banquets, all sorts of competitions, sporting events and payers in mosques, temples and churches all over the country. As we stand at attention, sing the national anthem and salute the national flag as it is being hoisted, it may be pertinent for us Malaysians to pause to ponder on our achievements, our problems and the direction we are heading as a nation.

Can we say that we are truly far better off as a nation than we were at the time of independence? Do we really have the 1Malaysia that we are proudly proclaiming to the world? In physical development, economy and technology there is no doubt we have advanced tremendously but when it comes to basic human development, democracy, morality and racial unity we must admit that we have failed miserably.

The fundamental problems confronting the nation today are racial polarisation and politicised government machinery. Most of the troubles that haunt us today are directly or indirectly contributed by these two unfavourable underlying causes. Corruption, crimes, declining standard of education, racial and religious tensions, unethical political rivalry, disregard for law and order and above all the suspicion and ill-feelings towards fellow Malaysians of different race and religion are all the result of these two factors.

Fifty-two years may have passed but the nation is deeply divided by race and religion. In fact deteriorating race relations has become the greatest worry and its repercussions are threatening the peace, progress and prosperity of the country.
After 52 years of independence it is unfortunate that we have a new generation of Malaysians, political leaders, parents and the people in general, who are so racially charged they have become over sensitive and intolerant to the most trivial comments and criticisms from members of other races. Each community has become highly suspicious of the other and has cultivated a selfish attitude in wanting to sustain their own communities, sharing their knowledge, skills and wealth among themselves with little consideration for the plight of others. In fact we have succumbed to the ugly influences of racism losing all the goodwill and tolerance that were once our national pride.

We may have attained self rule 52 years ago but where are we as Malaysians today? By right we should be nearer to the ideal state of a united Malaysia where everyone regardless of race and religion would have an equal stake in the fortunes and misfortunes of our nation. We should have been nearer a state where all citizens must be treated equally with regards to education, scholarships and job opportunities in both the public and private sectors. We should have been nearer a state where we must have mutual respect, not just tolerance, for the traditions and cultures of those different from ours. Unfortunately we are nowhere near this ideal scenario; instead we seem to be on divergent paths, moving away further and further from that situation.

Politicisation of the public institutions including the police, judiciary and most recently the MACC has seriously undermined their independence and impartiality. They are there to serve the people without fear or favour of any sorts. Unfortunately in their enthusiasm to please those in power, the laws of the country have been breached rampantly to protect the corrupt and guilty.

Furthermore the unhealthy monopolisation of the civil service by a single ethnic group has given rise to the many unhealthy incidences that have shocked the nation in recent times. The civil service is seen to be a Malay institution and any action taken by its staff against the non-Malays is perceived to racially bias which may not be the case in many instances.

The mindset of the public service must change in keeping with established democratic principles. It should be truly neutral, treating all citizens equally regardless of ethnicity and political ideology. Heads of departments must bear in mind they are to serve all fairly without fear favour in accordance with the laws of the country and their institutions. They must uphold the Federal Constitutions at all costs. Failing to do will lead to chaos and lawlessness which we are witnessing with increasing frequency these days.

If we are sincere in wanting lasting peace and uplift our nation to the ranks of other developed democracies in the world we have to sort these two problems immediately once and for all. Procrastination will only lead us to greater complications from which we may never get out. Genuine commitment on the part of all Malaysians, regardless of race and creed, especially the political leaders are vital in tackling these problems. Half-hearted attempts, as being done now, are not going to succeed in overcoming the problems that plague us today.

On this National day Malaysians of all races must ponder where this racial mentality is going to lead us? Unless we unite and say ‘NO’ to it now we will definitely be heading for self-destruction and doom. As citizens we have to decide our destiny and not allow a few with ulterior motives to lead us astray. We must believe and propagate that believe to all around us that what brings us together as Malaysians must be stronger than what pulls us apart.

It is time for all Malaysians to share a common dream, a dream that one day Malaysia becomes a developed nation by the whole-hearted contribution of all its citizens regardless of ethnicity, a day when all communities are accepted as equal and every citizen feels equally proud to be called Malaysians.

Prime Minister has pledged to be the leader for all Malaysians alike; Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and others. Let’s pray that God will give him the courage and the will to work together with the opposition to initiate the cascade reactions that will lead to the dawn of a new Malaysia where all races can work together hand in hand without fear or suspicion to realize our Malaysian dream?

Dr.Chris Anthony

Friday, August 21, 2009

H1N1 flu pandemic

People’s cooperation vital

The ongoing Influenza A,H1N1 pandemic is a classic example that illustrates the complacency of Malaysians in general. It is the familiar tidak apa attitude of Malaysians towards what is happening within and outside the country. This attitude which is the feeling of calm satisfaction with our own abilities that prevents us from trying harder to achieve the unimaginable has become a major drawback and the cause of many of our problems today. When a tragedy, like the current flu pandemic strikes us, our tidak apa attitude takes us through an initial period of denial followed by overconfidence and finally irrational reaction that will lead to the unmitigated repercussions of the crisis.

Almost six thousand people have been infected with the H1N1 virus, some in serious condition, and 68 died so far. This is definitely an alarming situation that should a cause to worry. Unfortunately we are still complacent and going about our business as though nothing is happening.

To control the outbreak in Mexico in April this year, the government there closed down most of Mexico City’s public and private offices and facilities to help contain the spread. Those who got the flu were advised to stay home from school or work and avoid crowds to avoid spreading the infection further. Their stringent measures and the people’s cooperation did help to check the spread of the virus within a short time and returning to normalcy.

When the Mexicans were attacked, we did not pay much attention as we were very confident that we will not be affected as we are far away from that source. When it spread to the US were still not bothered to seriously put in place screening procedures and restricting travel to endemic areas. We were confident the virus will be stopped by half-hearted attempts that we deployed. We failed to realise the virus is airborne and travels rapidly due to the facilitated global transportation we have today.

Now we have the virus on our shores and it seems to spreading faster than expected. It has taken 68 lives to date which is indeed a cause for alarm. The Health Ministry may be spending millions to fight the pandemic but there seems to be lot of confusion on how to best handle the crisis. There is gross under-reporting and attempts to suppress the truth to calm the people who do not seem to appreciate the actual situation and risks.

Without the active cooperation of the public all attempts to control the disease are bound to fail. They must be duly informed of the true facts of the disease and the actual situation on the ground as only a well informed public will cooperate fully to overcome the crisis. How can you expect cooperation of the people when they are ignorant of what is really going on? It would only cause unnecessary alarm and panic.

Use of masks and indiscriminate taking of antiviral agents like Tamiflu are not going to significantly stop the spread of the virus. The most important step is self-imposed quarantine. Those infected must be quarantined and all those with influenza-like illness (ILI) must stay away from the public. In general during a crisis like this everyone, including those healthy, as far as possible must stay away from the public functions and crowded places.

It is disheartening to see the people are going around as usual oblivious of a deadly flu epidemic. We see supermarkets, theatres, eateries and recreational parks still crowded with people and children, many among them wearing masks. What is their urgency for visiting such places at this time of an influenza outbreak I wonder? Even hospitals are packed with visitors, including healthy children, who are strongly advised against such visits. Donning a face mask but continuing with the usual high risk activities is not going to help stop the spread of the infection.

It is time for the government to take bold steps, like in Mexico, to stop the spread of the disease. Shutting down all non-emergency activities is the only option we have now. It may affect the economy in the short term but if we do not take that risk now we may be in for a bigger economic and human disaster as a result of full blown uncontrolled pandemic.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Choosing the right candidate for medical training

Housemen extension not the solution to houseman problems

The report “Longer training” (theSun,August 4)revealed a number of rather intriguing facts regarding the training of our medical house offcers. Firstly it was rather surprising that about 4,000 new doctors are recruited into the health ministry every year. This is indeed a very large number,to be adequately trained in all the major disciplines before being sent out to serve in the various hospitals. The job is a formidable one considering the number and the health ministry must be commendable for the great job it is undertaking.

However despite the addition of this large number of new doctors every year, we are still told to be acutely short of doctors and specialists in the various disciplines in hospitals all over the country. It takes weeks, even months for patients to be seen by a specialist in government hospitals. Wonder where do all these doctors go on completion of their training?If they are leaving the government service,why are they doing so in droves?

It is rather alarming that the recent study in 28 general Hospitals
revealed that67.8% trainee doctors found their training stressful,53% had thought of quitting due to the stress,21.8% required counseling,5.8% needed specific treatment. This is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs that needs further in depth scrutiny to prevent any repercussions on our health care in the future. How can we expect to have committed, dedicated and capable doctors and specialists when more than half of them had chosen the wrong profession and considered quitting in the first place?

The high ‘morbidity’ of our trainee doctors is an indication that most of them have wrongly chosen their career in medicine. Many of them opted because of the perceived glamour, the respect it commanded in society and the material gains that it could bring. Others chose medicine due to parental pressure although they did not have much interest in the job. I was surprised to know of many medical students who don’t like the sight of sick people let alone deal with them. How can you expect to become a good doctor when you don’t like the company of patients?

It is timely for the ministry to select medical students who have the right aptitude for being a doctor.It may be difficult but it must come up with some guiding principles so that the right people get selected to do medicine. Although academic credentials are important the system of selection must give equal importance to the overall attitude and aptitude of the individual to take up medicine as a career.The least we could do is to avoid choosing the wrong individual for the job.It is extremely sad these days that financial capabilities to pay the high cost of training is becoming an important criteria for the selection of candidates for medical studies,especially in private institutions.

Providing a more comprehensive training to include all six major disciplines is good but has this to be done by doubling the duration of housemanship? Medicine is a rapidly developing field and we cannot keep increasing the period of housemenship to cope with the increasing influx of new knowledge and technology. What is important is to provide the basic training in the important disciplines to make them caring and safe doctors.

They should be given their due promotion after a year of housemanship and may be retained slightly longer in the major hospitals for training in other critical disciplines as needed. After five to six years of strenuous undergraduate training It would be unfair to maintain them as house officers for another two long years as that would only exaggerate the already severe stress they are being subjected to.

The Director General of Health Tan Sri Mohd Ismail Merican should be commended for directing his specialists to be more professional and train and teach their housemen with extra care and civility. Stress is not only inevitable but necessary in medical training especially when treating the critically ill but it could be greatly alleviated if the specialists training them are considerate, humane and fair to those under their care. They should not just impart knowledge and skills unselfishly but also instill the right attitude towards the patients by their own exemplary and caring behaviour.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Falling into Umno's race trap

CM must not fear meeting critics

It was disappointing that the group of Islamic non-governmental organisations who went to deliver a memorandum to Penang Chief Minister(CM) Lim Guan Eng were denied a meeting with him and had to engage in a shouting match with his political secretary instead.



Objection: Hafiz leading members of Forum, an umbrella body for more than 20 Islamic NGOs in the state, in shouting slogans at the Komtar foyer after handing over a memorandum to Mansor pertaining to Ooi’s statement which he made purportedly linking JIM to religious extremists(The Star)

The group comprising about 15 people represented more than 20 Islamic NGOs in the state were escorted out by security personnel. The action of the CM’s aides caused a great deal of displeasure and anger among the protesters who were unhappy with the remarks made by Jeff Ooi, the CM’s chief of staff, which they consider is unfair and anti-Islamic.

If only Lim had just spared some time to meet the protesters in a cordial manner over a cup of coffee , he would have won over the people and the whole incident would have been turned to his favour. Unfortunately the people had to go away with resentment and anger and which does not augur well for a people-friendly Pakatan Rakyat government that is blind to colour and creed.

Jeff Ooi must retract his statements and apologise. He failed to understand the sensitivities of those who are so steadfast to religious beliefs, which may seem alien to him.

DAP members, especially the younger ones, must be careful in what they say and do and not regret for their arrogance and ignorance later. They may be over zealous to bring change but that must not come at the expense of hurting the sensitivities of the others.

Change must be induced but gradually if it is forced quickly, we may lose everything we have gained so far. We have waited without hope for 40 over years; can’t we wait a bit longer especially when we have hope on our side now? Otherwise Pakatan may become a 'One term wonder' as Lim Kit Siang says.

DAP must be seen as multiracial and tolerant to all and not perceived as being anti-Malay or anti-Islam. If it does not change its image among Malays, it would be falling into the political trap of Umno's race politics. If that happens it will spell disaster for Pakatan and the hopes Malaysians who yearn for an ethnically united, peaceful and progressive Malaysia.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A more balanced civil service vital

Civil service must reflect racial composition

At the 1Malaysia seminar organised by the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) recently, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)’s Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi highlighted the unhealthy the racial composition in the civil service.

According to him the lopsided racial composition of the civil service is the result of ignoring the provisions in the Federal Constitution that prohibit race discrimination. These provisions have been conveniently forgotten for obvious reasons. This sentiment which was once held by the non-Malays is now increasingly being shared by more and more Malaysians of all races in the country, including the Malays.

This is a positive and encouraging development that came into being after the last general elections which saw the debut of the multiracial Pakatan Rakyat.
The civil service is the backbone of the government in its service to the people of diverse ethnicity. The racial composition of the civil service must be given serious consideration as failing to redress it may have far reaching implications on the peace and harmony in the country.

In fact this lopsided racial composition in the civil service, including public universities and other government-controlled institutions can be said to be main contributing factor to the deteriorating race relations in the country and the fundamental cause of the many socio-political ills that plague us today.

The Federal Constitution very clearly provides for the special status of the Malays and other bumiputra groups from Sabah and Sarawak and it equally guarantees the legitimate interests of the others races in the country. It further stipulates that job opportunities and promotions in the public service should be awarded fairly to all deserving Malaysians. Whereas the former has been overemphasised over and over, unfortunately the latter provisions have been long overlooked.

Of late the effects of this monopolisation of the civil service by a single ethnic group have been manifested in the many unhealthy incidences that have shocked the nation in recent times. The civil service, particularly the schools, police and now the MACC, is seen to be a Malay institution and any action taken by its staff against the non-Malays is perceived to racially bias which may not be the case in many instances.

This negative perception in the minds of a segment of the population does not augur well for the long term well-being of a multiracial and multi-religious country. It is time for our leaders especially from Umno and BN, who have the power and means, to correct this perception by deliberate attempts to correct the racial composition of the civil service to reflect the ethnic composition of the country.

To behave in a racist manner when surrounded by members of one’s own community is easy and at times convenient and beneficial as we all have such a trait inherent in us. However the presence of other races in our midst will act as a restraint to prevent us from overtly expressing such views that would hurt the feelings of others. It will make one more conscious of the sensitivities of others around him thereby refrain him from passing sensitive remarks that would be hurtful to others.

Having a multiracial civil service will go a long way to instill first tolerance and then respect for the believes and cultures of others different from our own.It will help in the efforts to to overcome the main problem that the country is facing - racial disunity and polarisation.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Anti-ISA rally an embarrassment for the govt.

A day of shame for the nation as it turns 52

What happened on the streets of Kuala Lumpur on August 1st 2009 has brought shame to the nation. A country which was once highly respected in the world, instead of going forwards to join the ranks of the other advanced democracies has instead seem to be moving backwards to the era of barbarism and lawlessness.

As the country is preparing to celebrate its 52nd year of independence, the high handed police action against peaceful demonstrators and respected opposition leaders is indeed a blow to our democracy that we have been boasting to the world. The images of civilians and prominent leaders of the opposition being manhandled and beaten by the police were quickly flashed by the international media to be viewed around the world brought embarrassment for all Malaysians. Imagine witnessing unarmed civilians and prominent leaders being chased around and beaten by the police on the streets of our capital in open daylight and watched by millions around the globe on television.

Despite the heavy police presence and road blocks, thousands of people of all races and walks of life came out in droves calling for the repeal of the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).It was one of the rare occasions where people put aside their racial differences to unite as Malaysians. Among them were respected civil rights and Opposition leaders who represent 50% of the population. Why should the people take to the streets, risking their lives, if the government had provided an alternate platform to engage them?

Why can’t they be allowed to have an audience with their King to submit a memorandum in a peaceful way? Why can’t they be invited for a civil and cordial dialogue by the Prime Minister and his ministers? Is this what 1Malaysia is all about, beating up those who oppose the government? Is this the type of democracy that we can be proud of?

When thousands of criminals are roaming our streets and neighborhoods creating fear and terror among the people, our police force seems to busy forcefully suppressing peaceful anti-ISA protesters with tear gas and water cannons and playing cat and mouse game with them on the streets. We are told the police have arrested nearly 600 protesters which is not something to be proud about. Imagine the magnitude of the manpower utilized to put down this peaceful demonstration.

It is further disappointing that in an immediate response to the thousands who were marching to demand to abolish the ISA; ministers have wowed not to give in to the demands of the people. If they don’t want to listen to the people whom will they listen to I wonder? Doesn’t their attitude show a total lack of respect for the people?

Since the last general elections the people have repeatedly indicated in no uncertain terms that they want change. If the Barisan Nasional (BN) wants to remain in power they have to listen to the people who desire liberty and respect for individual rights. There is no point talking about change and reforms but do nothing about it.

The BN must realize that they cannot continue to rule by suppressing the people for long.That era is over. It must now change and accommodate the opposition and other critics in consultation and dialogue as it cannot continue to administer the country alone in this era of sophistication and globalization. It has to tap the potentials of all Malaysians regardless of their race, religion, social standing and political ideology. It must engage not confront the people and the Opposition which was legitimately voted by them.

Prime Minister Najib has proposed a 1Malaysia concept and it must not remain just a fanciful slogan, like many others before, but one that will create a situation where every citizen will have equal place and opportunities under the Malaysian sun. It should realize the dreams of every Malaysian who yearns to be respected as a legitimate and patriotic citizen of this land. If the people hate the ISA so much and want it abolished so be it, why be adamant, deny their rights and persecute them?

Dr.Chris Anthony

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Civil service should reflect racial composition

1Malaysia the way forward

I refer to “Prof: 1Malaysia must address ethnic composition in civil service”(Star.July 30).
At the 1Malaysia seminar organised by the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) recently, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)’s Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi commented on the racial composition in the civil service.

According to the academician, the prohibition of race discrimination provided for in the Federal Constitution have been “forgotten” and this has caused the lopsided racial composition of the civil service. This sentiment is being shared by more and more Malaysians of all races in the country, including the Malays. The situation must be given serious consideration as failing to redress it may have far reaching implications on the peace and harmony in the country.
In fact this lopsided racial composition in the civil service, including public universities and other government-controlled institutions can be said to be main contributing factor for the deteriorating race relations in the country and the fundamental cause of the many socio-political ills that plague us today.

The Federal Constitution very clearly provides for the special status of the Malays and other bumiputra groups from Sabah and Sarawak and it equally guarantees the legitimate interests of the others races in the country. It further stipulates that job opportunities and promotions in the public service should be awarded fairly to all deserving Malaysians. Whereas the former has been overemphasised over and over, unfortunately the latter provisions have been long overlooked.

Of late the effects of this monopolisation of the civil service by a single ethnic group have been manifested in the many unhealthy incidences that have shocked the nation in recent times. The civil service, is seen to be a Malay institution and any action taken by its staff against the non-Malays is perceived to be racially bias which may not be the case in many instances.

This negative perception in the minds of certain segments of the population does not augur well for the long term well-being of a multiracial and multi-religious country. It is time for our leaders especially from Umno and BN, who have the power and means, to correct this perception by deliberate attempts to redress the unhealthy racial composition of the civil service to reflect the ethnic composition of the country.

To behave in a racist manner when surrounded by members of one’s own community is easy and at times convenient and beneficial. However the presence of other races in our midst will act as a restraint to prevent us from overtly expressing views that would hurt the feelings of others. A multiracial environment will make one be more conscious of the sensitivities of others around him thereby refrain him from passing sensitive remarks regarding the race and religion of others that would be hurtful to others. Having a multiracial civil service will go a long way to instil first tolerance and then respect for the believes and cultures of others different from our own.

The 1Malaysia concept initiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he took office brought some hope to Malaysians that the era of differential treatment is finally over. There were hopes for the dawn of a new era where all Malaysians will be treated equally but whether these hopes will materialise remains to be seen. A number of incidences since then have however shown that it is not that easy to shred of this emotionally charged communal tendencies from our lives. It is even made difficult by those who capitalise on that for their own monetary and political benefits.

It is sad that despite our leaders calling for an end to racial politicking, there are no genuine attempts or political will to a stop to it. Our leaders should conduct themselves in a manner that they are seen to be caring for all regardless of ethnicity. As parents we must show our kids an exemplary behaviour that illustrates the right attitude towards those of different race. In short, what ethnic culture we belong to is not as important as for us to adopt a Malaysian culture that is colour blind and which does not distinguish one by his ethnicity but by his comradeship as fellow humans.

It is vital for Umno, being the dominant component of the ruling BN,to realise that the unequal treatment of the minorities is unfair and is causing a lot of socio-economic problems for those communities. If the situation is not corrected it will ultimately spread to destroy the country.

It is unfortunate that we have today a new generation of Malaysians, political leaders, parents and the people in general, who are so racially charged so much so they become over sensitive and intolerant to the slightest comments and criticisms from members of other races. Under these circumstances forging racial goodwill and integration is a difficult task but if we do not start now in the small environment around us how can we expect our politicians to do so at the national levels where it is far more complex and challenging? We must believe and propagate that believe to all around us that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Teacher's Day 2017

  You made the difference To all our teachers Wherever you may be, existing and departed. Thank you to each and everyone...