Monday, November 30, 2009

Revamp BTN programme

It must be racially inclusive

The Biro Tata Negara (BTN) has come under severe criticism for its courses that is compulsory for civil servants and university undergraduates. According to the government and some Barisan Nasional(BN)ministers these BTN courses are aimed at inculcating the sense of patriotism among young Malaysians of all races and that it has achieved its aims in doing so.

On the other hand the Opposition and many of those who have undergone these courses feel that they are aimed at dividing the races by promoting the supremacy one race over the others. Recently a number of former participants which include Pakatan Rakyat(PR) politicians and journalists have spoken of their shocking experiences at BTN camps. They described these courses as racist brainwashing and political indoctrination programmes to ensure civil servants and students back the BN.

There has been increasing calls by many quarters to shut down these programmes as they are creating more negative than positive effects on racial and religious tolerance and integration in the country. In fact the PR controlled states have decided not to send their employees and students to these courses in the future.

These allegations by the opposition are serious and if they are true then there are very urgent matters to address with great urgency. The activities of the BTN goes against the basic principle of the 1Malaysia concept promoted by the Prime Minister,Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak.The government must act to prove that it is serious about integrating the people through its 1Malaysia policy.

The government under Najib must quickly investigate these allegations and take remedial steps to stop this divisive policy of the BTN. It should revamp the programme to fall in line with the prime minister's 1Malaysia concept where regardless of their ethnicity all citizens are considered equal.

After 52 years of self rule it is extremely disturbing that there are still many advocating a divisive ethnic policy for the nation. Such policies are obsolete in this highly competitive global world. If we want to succeed as a nation, there is no option but for Malaysians to put aside their ethnic differences and consider themselves as Malaysians.

All activities must be ethnically inclusive and not divisive as they are now. It may not be easy now but if we do not start now we will never realize our dreams of a united, prosperous and progressive nation as envisaged by our founding forefathers.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chin Peng : Don’t politicize his plight

To err is human and forgive is divine

The controversy surrounding the return home of Communist Party of Malaya chief Chin Peng continues despite him having exhausted all legal means to do so. Chin Peng is 85years old now and still the Malaysian government refuses to let him in even on compassionate grounds. It accuses him of being responsible for killing of thousands of innocent Malaysians for which it cannot forgive him. It is indeed difficult to forgive him for his sins against humanity.

It is true that we cannot and should not forget his atrocities especially for inflicting so much pain among the people, our soldiers and their families but is in wrong to forgive an old man especially when he has apologized for all his wrong doings in the past? Is it wrong to deny an old man his last wishes to spend his final days in his homeland?

The government had signed the Hatyai peace accord in 1989 allowing him and his people the right to return on laying down their arms. Is the government legally and morally right to renege on its agreement signed 20 years ago? If so doesn’t it stand to lose the trust of the international community on its willingless to honor all other forms of agreements?

The return of Chin Peng is a simple and straight forward issue that could have been settled amicably in accordance with the laws. Unfortunately it has been blown out of proportion for obvious political reasons. It is further disturbing that there are those who have even turned it into a racial issue. Such politicization of trivial issues is dangerous and should be stopped immediately if we mean well for the long term peace and harmony of our nation.

The country has progressed so much, politically, socially and economically since the time of the threat posed by Chin Peng and his Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) in the fifties and sixties. Today we have reached a state of overall national stability; politically, socially and economically, that we cannot by threatened by an ailing 85-year old man with his outdated and obsolete communist ideology of the past.

To err is human, and to forgive is divine. This is the fundamental teaching of all the major religions of the world. We all make mistakes but what is more important that we realize our mistake, repent and resolve not to repeat it. In fact it is through mistakes that we learn to become better humans.

Here is an old man who had done great mistakes in the past but has now repented and wants to return to be buried with his ancestors. He should not be used as a rallying point for politicization but instead forgiven and allowed to return to lead a private low profile life for the remaining time he has, which is not going to be too long.

The prime minister must use his wisdom to decide to uphold the agreement made by one of his predecessors. By honoring the pact would restore our reputation as a humane and civilized society that would be an example for others to uphold global peace treaties.Agreements are promises made to be honored at all costs not only when it benefits us.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Family the source of true happiness

Let's enhance our family unit for enduring happiness

Throughout the history of man, he has been in the pursuit of happiness which is an abstract feeling showing or causing pleasure or satisfaction. He resorts to all sorts of means to achieve that happiness. Very often he does not know what real happiness is but is in search of it high and low. If we reflect on what true happiness is we may realize that the source of that happiness is the family unit. It is this unit of love that binds its members together into a family.

It is this unit of love that gave us the happiness during the innocent days of our childhood. Unfortunately as we grew older, for one reason or another we break this unit and those results in the many troubles and sufferings in our lives that led to great sorrow and regret. History has shown and my personal experience confirms that the disruption of the family unit for whatever reason will only result in misery in the long run. It is almost impossible for a person with a disintegrated family to attain happiness as a sound and intact family is the underlying cause of enduring happiness.

The breakup of the family unit is also the main cause of the many social ills we face today. These include the breakdown of our value system, declining morality, high crime, corruption, drug addiction, abandoning of parents and children and loss of respect for laws and social norms.

Divorce was and continues to be the most important cause of the disintegration of the family unit in most cultures. In the West this has taken a heavy toll on families whereas as in the East where we are more conservative it is fast becoming a problem as well. If we do not act to stop this trend I am afraid our future generations will never find the true happiness, which we all strive for in our lives.
The family unit consists basically of the parents and their children and often the grandparents and grandchildren as well. The close interactions between the parents and children lead to the establishment of this family unit, which is the basic unit of human society.

A number of factors need to be considered for the success of the family unit. These include:

Up-bringing of the children. The attitude of the parents towards their children is an important factor that determines the subsequent cohesiveness of the family unit. The creation of an environment of love, affection and sacrifice by the parents is of utmost importance in determining the future attitude of the children towards them.

In their pursuit of material wealth, parents tend to forget that their greatest wealth is their children. In fact it the biggest investment and the more love and affection they put into the care of their children the greater their returns in the years after. Love is like a thin but strong thread that binds the children to the parents and it is the only weapon that the parents have to restrain them from going astray as they grow older and become independent.

It is the parents love, not money or wealth that earns them the respect of their children. It is the little things that parents do for their children with great passion that really matters not the big things done with little effort and passion. As adults now, most of us still remember and cherish the small things our parents did with great sacrifice not the big things which was easily available to them.
It is absolutely important for parents to show good example to the children.

Infidelity and regular fighting over petty issues are important cause of family disruption. They must instead lead a life of good morals and values. How can the children be expected to become good humans when they are not shown the way to it? Every child is innocent and whether they turn out to be good or bad is largely dependent on the parents.

The attitude of the children
. The parents were the undisputed head of the family when the children were young and ideally they should continue to do so as long as they are alive. The children must give them the due respect for their age and experience. All major decisions must be taken with their blessing. Children must place full trust in their parents especially when confronted with problems and dilemmas. History as shown that a man/woman who does not respect his parent’s wishes has never found lasting happiness in his own life.

With respect comes obedience. The members of the family may disagree and are free to discuss their views but they must give serious consideration to the views of the elders regarding controversial decisions and not brush aside their views as irrelevant and obsolete. The elders may be an exhausted physical force but their experience is invaluable and their presence a source of inspiration and consolation.

Choice of life partners is an important cause of family rift and must be handled with care and logic. Children must be free to choose their life partners but their choice must be legal, logical and must please the parents. Marriage is the most important event in one’s life and it would be a great tragedy to indulge in it without the blessings of the parents who were responsible to what they are today.

Upholding the truth. All members must be truthful to one another and must always uphold the truth even if that hurts. There should be no excuse to lie or hide the truth for whatever reason as that will only lead to more serious problems. They must have the courage to admit any wrongdoing and take measures not to repeat them. Making mistakes is human but what is important is to realize the mistake and get out of it immediately.

Forgiveness is a virtue worth adopting. Members of the family must forgive each other even if one of them causes hurt in one way or another. To err is human, forgive is divine. If we cannot forgive our own brother, sister, children or parents how can we forgive others?

Besides these the members of the family must act and behave in a respectable manner so as not to bring shame and disrespect to the family.

In short the all members, father, mother and children, must make a concerted effort to secure the integrity of their family unit, which must be maintained at all costs and all times. In times of crisis it may be useful to regroup, recollect and relive the happy days of the past when as children, they interacted freely with one another and their parents.

Remember the family unit has been the source of true happiness for man throughout the ages. Disruption of the family unit for whatever reason will only result in unhappiness and misery. These guidelines may be ideal but ideals are what we must all strive for even if we do not achieve them to the fullest.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Police shooting : Independent inquiry needed

IGP: Act to restore confidence

The recent police shoot out in Klang that killed five suspected criminals is regrettable and deeply disturbing.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan righty said that the responsibility of the police is to protect and rescue law-abiding citizens, and not to protect criminals who kill to escape arrest. It is clearly within the right of the police to act in self-defense and protect the lives of innocent by-standers. If the police really acted in self defense as he claims, then there is absolutely no reason to question them for their actions. However if otherwise,as claimed by many, then we have some serious problems to address as we had lost five young Malaysians at the prime of their lives who were yet to be proven to be criminals.

The IGP strongly denied all allegations by various quarters including some members of parliament that the police was trigger happy and only targeted the Indian community. These are serious allegations that have instilled fear and anxiety in the minds of the vast majority of the Indian parents regarding the safety of their children who are decent law abiding citizens.As Indian parents we fear the safety of our young children when they are out with their friends even for healthy activities.

While the IGP’s reassurances are welcome he must do more to allay the fears among the people as a number of questions remains unanswered regarding the recent shooting in Klang where five suspected criminals were shot dead by the police.So far we only have the police side of the story which the people are not willing to believe as result of past experiences.

This is not the first time for such a controversial police action. A number of similar shooting incidences before were ignored despite calls for thorough investigation. This has created a negative public perception of the police. These perceptions may be wrong but the onus is on the IGP and the police to correct it with some urgency as the fear among the people for their safety in genuine.

The shooting must not be made into a racial issue as that will only lead to cover up and pushing the problem under the carpet. Instead it questions the professionalism of our police force and the IGP and the government should act to prove that the assault on the alleged robbers was in accordance with the set laws governing such operations. They must ensure that all rules were followed and all precautions taken to avoid unnecessary deaths.

Was indiscriminate force used by the police? What was the evidence to indicate that the suspects were the real criminals? Did the suspected criminals open fire at the police? These are the questions that need to be answered. This can only be done by a professional and unbiased investigation into the incident to reveal the truth.

Only by doing so can the allegations against the police be proven false and the negative image erased from the minds of the people at large. There have been too many such incidences that brings into question the reputation and integrity of our police which was held in high esteem. The IGP and the government must take this opportunity to restore the confidence of the rakyat on the police force as the true guardian of their safety.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adopt a tougher stand on corruption

No compromise on a serious evil

The decision of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to set up a special team to study and identify loopholes in the procedures linked to allocations for assemblymen and Members of Parliament (MP) is indeed timely and commendable.

The recent spate of prosecution of assemblymen and MPs indicate that corruption may indeed be a major problem among our lawmakers who are accused of abusing the funds that are meant for the people who elected them. Such acts, if proven true, would be serious betrayal of the very people whom they are supposed to serve. The MAAC should leave no stone unturned in their attempts to rid of corruption among our elected representatives.

While the MACC should be commended for its actions to fight corruption among assemblymen and MPs it should also be remembered that such corruption is not confined to just a few representatives. Moreover the magnitude of the corruption by these elected representatives is much smaller than the many mega scandals that have plagued the nation and which the MACC has yet to address. If the MAAC wants to gain the confidence of the people of its impartiality and integrity it has to act on such mega cases without fear or favor.

Corruption is defined as the illegal, bad or dishonest behavior, especially by people in positions of power. It is the expression of greed, a basic commodity of all humans, though of varying degree. Going by this definition we know that corruption is more rampant than it may appear on the surface. It occurs at all levels of the administration in varying degree.

Despite the efforts to eradicate corruption throughout the ages and the teachings of great men and even prophets of the past against greed, corruption continues to be rampant at every level of our society in communities all over the world. It is interesting how the perception of corruption has changed over the years. When we were young, we were taught the no-nonsense approach to corruption. We were taught that corruption is terribly wrong in whatever form or magnitude it may take.

However today, we are now told even by our top leaders that corruption may be a technical, moral or legal offense and if one is found guilty on 'technical' grounds, then it is not a real offense.It is worrisome that the incidence of such 'technical' corruption is on the rise. If our leaders have such compromising views on corruption, there is no way this evil can be eradicated. With such a casual attitude towards a serious evil it is truly disturbing that corruption may soon become our way of life. If it does so then we will be heading for doom.

There is an urgent need to educate the people to regard corruption as an infiltrating cancer that would soon destroy the nation if ignored. It is the scourge of the country against which the government and people must mount an all out war. It we do not destroy it then it is just a matter of time it will destroy us and all that we have achieved so far and the ideals we have stool for all these years.

In this highly competitive global world there is a dire need to be adequately equipped in all fields. All citizens regardless of race, creed, political affiliation and social status must be given equal opportunities to contribute their talents and skills without prejudice whatsoever. Corruption, if allowed to continue, will only deny the best that opportunity and thereby undermine our competitiveness and all our efforts to uplift the nation to be at par with the best in the world.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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