Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Peaceful Assembly Bill

Total disregard for the voice of the rakyat

The widely condemned Peaceful Assembly Bill was passed by Barisan National members of parliament in spite of protests from opposition MPs and civil society activists. It was significant that just hours after the hundreds of lawyers representing the Malaysian Bar Council staged a peaceful walk to Parliament to protest the Bill which was being debated in the august house, the bill was passed.

If this act of our MPs is not a sign of arrogance what is it then? To add fuel to the fire of frustration, Law Minister was arrogant enough to say that the Bar Council does not represent the people. Who do they represent then? If the views of the Bar Council, a professional body that represents the legal fraternity is not taken seriously by the government especially when it concerns the formulation and tabling of a legal document in parliament, how can we expect it to listen to the views of the ordinary man on the street?

The least the government could have done is to delay passing the bill and engage the Bar Council and others who oppose the bill and then proceed with appropriate amendments followed by a more comprehensive debate of the bill before passing. If it had done so it would have been seen to be listening to the people and not ignoring them as it has done now.

As voters we must decide whether we still want to retain a government which fails to listen to the views of the people on important issues affecting them. Even when a large section of the population is against what it is doing it just couldn’t be bothered but continued to bulldoze its decisions. It abandoned the basic concept of democracy, the principle of consultation before making any decision affecting the people.

The way the Peaceful Assembly Bill was handled shows total disregard for the voice of the rakyat. The 13GE gives us an opportunity to express our views in a peaceful and democratic manner. We did not have a choice before but today we do have one and we must make a wise decision, to retain or to change.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Malaysia Today: Fix election date at the end of term

My Malaysia Today: Fix election date at the end of term: Snap elections waste of money and abuse of power The most common topic of discussion in coffee shops today is the impending 13GE.When wil...

Fix election date at the end of term

Snap elections waste of money and abuse of power

The most common topic of discussion in coffee shops today is the impending 13GE.When will the elections be held? Will the BN be able to regain its traditional two-thirds majority in parliament? Will the states ruled by Pakatan have simultaneous elections with the rest of the states ruled by BN? Will Pakatan be able to retain the four states under their rule? These are the questions that are being hotly debated these days. As the debate continues, so many uncertainties prevail causing more and more speculation among the people, which at times results in all sorts of rumours.

Although the next general elections need not be held till the 5-year term expires in March 2013, snap polls can be called anytime before that. That decision is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister alone he alone will be able to tell the exact date of the polls and all others can only add more excitement and uncertainties by their wild or calculated speculation.

It has been a general practice in the past to have the parliamentary and state elections simultaneously. This saved the taxpayer’s money as having these elections separately would incur additional costs that would indeed be unnecessary. Separate state elections would also inconvenience the voters, as many of them may have to take leave from work and travel many miles to return to their constituencies to cast their vote.

Taking into account these considerations it is only proper for the states, including those ruled by the opposition, to have their respective elections simultaneously with federal elections. However the timing of these elections must be such that it should be towards the end of the 5-year period of governance and midway into the term. Moreover the date of elections too must be fixed so that all parties contesting will be equally advantaged.

In this era of enhanced communications and advanced political maturity of the people there is no place for snap or surprise elections for whatever reasons. The people have given the parties 5 years to rule and there is no reason why a snap election should be held much earlier than it is due. It will not only be a waste of money but it will also create much inconvenience to the people. It would be better for the ruling parties at both federal and state levels to work hard till the end of their term to fulfil their promises to the people at let the people evaluate their performance after that.

Premature elections are only necessary when the government of the day loses a no confidence vote in parliament or state assembly as holding such elections at the whims and fancy of one person will tantamount to abuse of power and an insult to the wisdom and maturity of the voters.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Laws to enforce care for parents

Laws to enforce care for parents

I refer to “Laws on neglect unnecessary as power of love keeps family bond strong” (Sunday Star Nov13).

The report touches on the abandoning of aged parents by children and the need to enact laws to force them to take care of them. Neglecting parents is a new phenomenon which may be difficult to understand but unfortunately becoming an acceptable practice even in our eastern cultures where filial piety used to be firmly rooted and admired.

I read with interest the opinions expressed by some on the need for legislation to enforce children to care for their aging parents during their final stages of their lives. I agree with the majority that it is the power of love, not the law that will keep families bonded together. With the increasing numbers of cases of parent neglect, love alone does not seem to yield such power today as it used to be.

It is true that in our Malaysian society we still hold filial piety and family responsibility in very high esteem and the majority of Malaysians still care for their aging parents. However this filial piety that was a pride of our culture, I am afraid, is fast eroding from our lives due to the rapid urbanisation and commercialisation. There are real fears that a day will come when such emotional attachments to our aging and “useless “parents will be lost forever. There are fears that a day will come when our parents will be left abandoned to die in isolation and indignity. It is this fear that has prompted many concerned citizens to suggest that we enact laws to prevent such a pathetic and inhumane situation from taking roots in our society.

It is also interesting to note that the majority of the younger generation are against such legislation as they feel love not laws should be what that should keep the family together. While it may be the ideal situation, unfortunately we are witnessing more and more youngsters are neglecting their parents which should be a cause for concern. On the other hand many aged parents seem to agree that children should be legally bound to care for them as many have experienced the pain of such negligence by their children. They are bitter that the children whom they had brought so painstakingly are not showing any gratitude to them.

The increasing incidence of parent neglect is not an isolated ill in our society but part of a general decay of moral values. We have taken a lackadaisical attitude towards upholding moral values in the pursuit of materialism. It is time for the government to seriously think of ways of reinstating the importance of age-old values that were dear to mankind throughout his history.

We have to put aside our political, religious and racial differences and unite behind our common goodness by adopting the universal moral values promoted by all cultures and faiths. These universal values must be instilled in the young from a very young age in schools like before. Love for one’s own parents form the core of this value system as this transcends race and creed. If we don’t care for our own parents, I don’t see how we can care for others.

Love through education may be the ideal way to promote a caring society but it alone may not be enough to create a caring society in a world driven by materialism alone. Some form of legislation would go a long way to help infuse some good values into the young minds. Parents are held responsible for the well-being of their children when they are young. We are held responsible even for the humane treatment of animals that we rear as pets. Why shouldn’t children be held responsible for the well-being of their aged and ailing parents? We may not be able to force children to love their parents but at least can force them to provide food and shelter to them, especially if the parents are poor, sick and senile? Will that be asking too much from them?

Gratitude is a virtue that even animals have in abundance. For a little food, shelter and love even our pets show their gratitude in ways we don’t understand. Don’t our parents who are responsible for bringing us into the world and sacrifice everything they had to make us up to what we are today deserve a little of our gratitude? If we don’t show our gratitude to them, how can we show that to others in our life? If we cannot show our gratitude to our aged parents how can we expect our children to be grateful to show us when our time comes?

Monday, November 07, 2011

The monk who flew in a jet

The inspiring story of the second richest man in Malaysia who could not feed his own son

Something to Ponder --
The monk who flew in a jet

By business bhutan | 01 January 2011

In 2008, as my friend and I sat down in the restaurant to eat our dinner, we saw a man in the
hotel lobby. Immediately, we assumed that he was alone so decided to invite him for dinner.
“I don’t eat dinner,” the elderly man declined the offer, “I am on my way to the gym.”

The next morning, I met him in the hotel lobby and noticed that he was wearing the same
“Excuse me,” he said politely and then looking at the young monk sitting next to me, said
affectionately, “Son, it is time for us to go home.” The son obediently picked up his small cloth
bag from the floor and followed his father.

Earlier, curious to see a monk in the Uma hotel in Paro, I had started a conversation with him.
“Yesterday was my father’s 70th birthday and he wanted me to spend it with him in a special
place,” the monk informed me. The monk could have been in his early thirties. He had short hair
and was wearing saffron robes and had a pair of slippers on. “What a beautiful country you
have? They had flown into Paro in their own jet.

So who are these people? The elderly man is Ananda Krishnan and the monk his only son.
Krishnan is the second richest man in Malaysia. According to Forbes he is worth 7.6 Billion
dollars. The Tamil Malaysian of Sri Lankan Tamil origin is a self made man and is a notable
philanthropist but leads a low profile life. He and his son are both Buddhists.

Few years ago, the billionaire lost his son. He started to look for him and his search stopped in a
Buddhist monastery in north Thailand. Shocked to see his son in saffron robes, short hair with a
begging bowl in his hand the father invites his son for a meal.

“I am sorry; I cannot accept your invitation.” Like all my fellow monks, I have to beg for my
food.” Krishnan reply made headlines, “With all my wealth I cannot even afford to feed my own son.”

The son still lives in the monastery in the forest of Thailand and like all the monks in the
monastery depends on other people’s generosity for his sustenance.

Hearing stories like these one wonders if we are giving up everything that we already possess to
acquire things that we really don’t need.

This story clearly demonstrates that human contentment and well being in real terms requires us to go beyond physical, mental, and emotional dimension. Krishnan’s son clearly shows that
detachment could be a greater wealth and devotion a bigger asset in our lives.

In this world of materialism we work tirelessly to pursue something which we don't need - excessive wealth.

After years of hard work we succeed in making more than we need but our greed continues to drive us to make more and more.

In the process we forget the past,we forget all those who helped us to reach that elevated state,we forget even our own poor parents,siblings and friends.We forget the needs of those less fortunate than us.

Then suddenly,a tragedy strikes us - illness,accident or natural disaster.We lose someone we love most.

All our accumulated wealth cannot save us and then it is too late.All our happiness is suddenly taken away.

A rich man went to see a wise sage and asked,"I worked hard and made all the money I could but I am not happy.What should I do to find happiness?"

The sage said that, "How can you have happiness when you keep everything to yourself?Keep what you need and give the rest to others and you will have all the happiness we ever wanted."

I did not think much about this advice of the wise man when I was young and energetic but today I appreciate the words of that wise man as I realise the truth in what he said.

Historic Parliament after historic GE14

  New Parliament symbol of hope and democracy Congratulations to all our newly elected MPs. The first session of the 14th ...