Monday, September 13, 2010

CM Lim Guan Eng's Merdeka message

Penang's CM Lim Guan Eng's Merdeka message was NEVER published by the mainstream media for obvious reasons.

Let Penang be a beacon of hope for Merdeka — Lim Guan Eng

AUG 31 — As we celebrate our 53 Merdeka, the country appears more divided than ever by racial, religious and even personal hatred. Fomenting racial and religious intolerance and hatred is now the rule rather than the exception.

The biggest challenge is whether Malaysians can rise above the language of violence used by extremists and fulfil our destiny of Merdeka 53 years ago of a shared society belonging to all and promising prosperity to everyone. Penang is under constant siege and attack by extremists and political foes from BN and Umno who use lies to create tension and division.

Amongst the lies still used is that the Penang state government has banned the Maulidur Rasul procession, banned Pasar Ramadan, replaced the YDP Agong’s name in Friday sermons with the Chief Minister’s name, only evict Malay villagers and traders. Up till today, the state government has not evicted a single Malay or non-Malay household and when enforcement action is taken against traders, only 30 per cent is Malay. Even when eviction is done by private landowners, the state government has also intervened to negotiate a settlement.

It is because our opponents are bankrupt of ideas that they resort to race and religion. Race and religious hatred is the final weapon of the extremists who can not win any debate based on facts and logic or find any weaknesses in PR’s performance.

Their desperation can be shown when the Penang PR government can not be faulted for being corrupt, abuse of power or wasting public funds. None of PR leaders have become rich or own luxury homes. We lived in a moderate lifestyle and travel by economy air wherever we can.

PR has reduced corruption with our CAT governance of Competency, Accountability and Transparency by turning around a projected deficit of RM35 million in 2008 to a record surplus of RM88 million. This was repeated again in 2009 by turning around a projected deficit of RM40 million to a surplus of RM77 million. For the first time in history, Transparency International praised Penang’s CAT governance for fighting corruption.

That is why the state government can afford its senior citizens appreciation programme of annual payout of RM100 to all over 60 years and RM1,000 one-off to beneficiaries of senior citizens which costs nearly RM20 million. That is why the state government can give RM100 water rebate in 2008 to all poor and middle-income households costing nearly RM 20 million. That is why the state government can give money annually to partially-assisted schools of RM 11.3 million. That is why the state government can double the allocation for Islamic affairs to RM 24.3 million in 2010 as compared to RM 13.5 million under BN in 2008.

All these successes in implementing a people-centric government have made our political opponents desperate. They become more desperate when Penang became the first state to ban sports betting(judi bola) after the Federal government issued the licence. Due to Penang’s lead, the Federal government had no choice but to cancel the judi bola licence. Certainly many BN and UMNO leaders must be angered by the cancellation of the judi bola licence because of loss of revenue of hundreds of millions of ringgit.

Penang will forge ahead in establishing the first people’s government in Malaysia that listens to the people, do the people’s work and give hope to the people. We will also remain steadfast in barring sports betting in the state as this is the common aspirations of 1.5 million Penangites regardless of race.

Let Penang be a beacon of hope for Merdeka, democracy, integrity, public morality and a people’s government as well as a symbol of national unity where Penangites live together in harmony and mutual respect.

* Penang 2010 National Day Message By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 31 August 2010.

Taken from Malaysian Insider

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or newspaper. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Kami menghargai jasa baik Ketua Menteri.mp4

Friday, September 10, 2010

The woman who knew no happiness

Fated not to be happy

This is a true story of Nadia (not her real name), a 32 year old single woman whom I came to know recently. She is the second child in a family of four and she comes from a kampong situated in the remote part of Kelantan. Her parents both being illiterate were laborers in an estate there. The father retired prematurely due to ill health and is now old and incapacitated. Her mother is still working there in the estate and taking care of the father.

Nadia and her siblings moved out of Kelantan about ten years ago in search of jobs and ended in Penang where she and he younger sister now work in a cloth factory, each earning about RM600 a month. Her youngest brother is deaf and dumb from birth and stays with them in a rented low-cost house. Her elder brother who came with them to Penang has left them and lost contact with the family after he got married a few years ago. She does not know of his whereabouts despite seeking the help of the police.

About 6 months ago Nadia detected a lump in her breast for which she sought treatment at the government hospitals in Penang. As no definitive treatment was forthcoming after repeated visits, she decided to seek treatment at the private hospital where she was diagnosed as having breast cancer and was advised mastectomy (removal of breast) followed by radiation and chemotherapy. On hearing the news of her illness she broke down and cried and it was a difficult time trying to console her and her sister.

She was so upset that after all her sufferings since childhood she has now to cope with cancer. She had just joined a new firm about a month ago and having cancer would mean she will be relieved of that job, which she needs so badly to support her handicapped brother and old parents. What is going to happen to her, her younger sister and her handicapped brother? She is only 32years, not married and now she has to remove her breast. Will she ever get married and enjoy life like other women of her age? Her miseries were real and agonizing.

“I suffered all by life and never knew what happiness was until of late when things were beginning to fall in place. Now with this cancer all my hopes are dashed forever. Why must God do this to me?” Nadia asked between sobs.

It was so touching to hear her narrate her pathetic story. She is all alone with nobody to confide in at this time of a major crisis in her life. I gave her few days to think about her treatment and reassured her as best as I could, knowing very well that I will not have the courage like her if placed in her position.

A few days later, Nadia came back with her parents who had come all the way from Kelantan. They looked totally lost in the urban environment of Penang and I doubt they fully understood the implications of their daughter having cancer. I was impressed with the brave front put up by Nadia as she had decided to go ahead with the mastectomy. It showed her great wisdom and maturity that would put many of us to shame.

She said, “Doctor, I want to live a little longer until my sister and brother are settled in life, so I have no choice but go ahead with the surgery”. She asked for a few days to raise the money needed for the operation from her friends who were willing to help her out.

A few days later she was admitted and surgery done successfully. During her stay in the hospital she was accompanied by her grandmother who was in her early seventies. Despite her age she was there with the granddaughter day and night taking care of her. She pleaded with me to give my best to cure her granddaughter whom she loved her so much, stressing that she had never seen happiness in a life.

Nadia has now recovered from her surgery and would soon be referred to the Oncologist at the government hospital for further treatment of her breast cancer. Her prognosis may look good but with cancer, life is not going to normal anymore as the chance of recurrence is always there to cause worry and anxiety.

As Nadia’s gets prepared mentally, physically and financially for her next the next phase of her battle with cancer, a number of uncertainties go through her mind. Where and how do I go from here? How long more will I live? What will happen to my sister, brother and parents if I die now? Above all this is the biggest and the most puzzling question, why did God allow this to happen to me? We can give all kinds of answers to reassure her but that puzzling question also lingers at the back of our own minds to which we have no answers.

Nadia may be my patient and as a doctor I may know how to treat her breast cancer but I have a lot to learn from her which I do not know in life. I do not know how to cope with cancer if it strikes me. I do not know how to handle my loved ones who depend on me for love and support. I do not know whether I will still have the strength and spirit to continue helping those in need and fighting for the truth and justice which I advocate all must do. In short I do not know how to carry on with my life if I happen to be struck with a deadly disease.

Many of us are preoccupied with petty problems and pick up fights with anyone who disagrees with us. It is the result of arrogance due to our ego. Our problems may be nothing if only we open our eyes to see that others are in greater problems than us. Only by reaching out to others in pain and agony, not just praying that God will come to help us, will we realize the triviality of our own problems in life.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Learning about other faiths

Being open to learn about one another

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s recent advice that Malaysians should understand the sensitivities of all religions practiced in the country is timely. The number of unpleasant race-related incidences of late indicates that new generation of Malaysians have little or no knowledge of the practices of communities different from their own. This ignorance leads them to pass unsavory remarks on others which creates tension between the races from time to time. This is a sad state of affairs that must be corrected with some urgency if we want to see the success of the 1Malaysia policy being advocated by the Prime Minister.

Education is the single most important factor that contributes to the molding of a sound and stable mind. It is important to impart the right knowledge at a young age so the individual grows up into a right thinking person capable of differencing the right from wrong. It is important that children from a very young age are taught the right in all religions.

It is unfortunate that our newer generation is not being taught about the cultures and practices of all communities like it used to in the fifties and sixties. At that time regardless of our ethnicity we were taught of all the great religions and their founders which led us to regard these great people with respect and admiration that we hold on in our hearts till this day.

Today the situation is very much different where our children are segregated by race and religion to be taught about the own religion only. This has led to a situation where members of each community grow up to regard that their culture and religion are superior to others. The demands by certain groups for their legitimate rights are not tolerated by others as it is seen as challenging their own which is unfounded. How can racial unity and harmony ensue in such an environment of suspicion and animosity?

There are those who consider learning about another religion will be a threat to one’s own. This notion is baseless and must be discarded. In fact by learning about the different religions we tend to strengthen our own faith as we would realize that all faiths teach the same values that lead to God.

Racism and religious intolerance that are beginning to rear their ugly heads are largely due to ignorance of each other’s cultures and traditions. This must be checked at all costs as otherwise may lead to dire consequences. There is no way we can develop love and respect for others when we do not know them and there is no way we can know if we do not take the trouble to do so.

The biggest obstacle to appreciating the good in other religions is the mindset that is prevalent in many of us, “Mine is the best”. It is time to change that to the mindset, “we are all equal”. Until and unless we can make the switch of our mindset, true respect and tolerance for our differences will remain remote.

The Prime Minister has made his call loud and clear – zero tolerance for racism and as Malaysians who value of the well being of the nation, we must rally behind him to make that a reality. It is time for us to stand up to say no to racism of any sort. The first step for us will be to adopt an open mind to study other religions to appreciate the good in their teachings. Having gained that knowledge, the next step will be to cultivate in our own lives the respect for the practices and believes of one another and by our example instill that respect in the young who will invariably emulate us over time.

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