Saturday, September 29, 2012

Budget 2013

Is it a truly a budget for the Rakyat?

The much awaited budget for 2013 was finally presented by the PM in parliament yesterday. As usual it received mixed reactions by various groups and the opposition bluntly brushing it aside as an election budget with nothing new for the well-being of the people and the nation.

In short this budget is all about a generous government of 55 years ditching out billions in cash aid to the people, who are struggling to make ends meet. It is significant that it comes at a time when the people will be going to the most crucial election to select the government for the next 5 years. It is not surprising that the BN government taking full advantage of the annual budget for its election preparations.

Going out cash aid to the people is not wrong but is always welcome. However such generous acts alone    is just a stop gap measure to overcome the people’s financial woes. A one-time or two-time handout of RM500 or RM1000 is not going to have any significant and lasting effects on the people's well-being. What the vast majority of Malaysians need is not such one-off payments but more thought of and well planned long-term policies and plans in six key areas. 

1. Education - free quality education for all citizens
2. Healthcare - affordable and easy accessible quality medical care to all, rich and poor alike
3. Housing - cheaper and comfortable
5. Public transport - safer, cheaper, efficient, reliable and comfortable
6. Security for citizens and their families with an accepted low crime rate

Unfortunately the Budget 2013 does not seem to address these basic issues that are vital for the well-being of the people and the health of the nation in general.

The present BN government has been there for 55years and by now it should have reached a state where it need not resort to such desperate pre-election cash handouts for the continued support of the people. To my mind such measures amount to admitting its failure of its responsibilities to the people for over half a century. Isn’t it an insult to depend on cash handouts for support after 55years in power?

The big question is whether the people are swayed to vote for BN after this feel-good Santa Claus budget. I feel the BN is in for a real surprise for underestimating the intelligence, maturity and wisdom of the people despite being their rulers for over half a century.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gandhi's birthday 2012 : Prayer for peace

Gandhi’s Prayer for peace

On October 2012 the world marks the 143rd birthday of a great man, Mahatma Gandhi, whose words and deeds have become a conscience in the hearts of many. I would like to share something that was so dear to him – peace, a commodity and which is so badly needed in our world today.

This is what Gandhi had to say of peace, “If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have the struggle, we won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.”

He struggled for peace, a peace that was so badly lacking in his own country and the world. He called himself a soldier of peace not war and this is his fervent prayer for that peace in the world among people of diverse origins and believes. The following is his prayer for peace.

Gandhi's Prayer for Peace

I offer you peace.
I offer you love.
I offer you friendship.
I see your beauty.
I hear your need.
I feel your feelings.
My wisdom flows from the highest source.
I salute that source in you.
Let us work together.
For unity and peace.

At a time of great turmoil and hate among peoples in the world and the increasing racial and religious polarization and tensions in our own country, Gandhi’s prayer for peace has becomes very relevant to us today. As his prayer goes we must offer peace, love and friendship to others especially those of different race and creed. We must see their beauty, hear their needs and sense their feelings. Our wisdom comes from God whom we must see in them to be saluted. It is with these attitudes in us that we work together for lasting peace with one another. 

This prayer of Gandhi should be adopted by men all over the world. It is in offering our peace and appreciating the inner beauty and needs of others, especially our adversaries that leads to peace in a world torn apart by hate, jealousy and vengeance.

Mahatma Gandhi may be gone but the legacy he left behind for mankind should continue to live in us and the generations to come. He might not have realized fully the peace he envisaged for his country but the teachings he left behind will definitely bring some inner peace within us. 

In our own country, our community and our families we all want peace but what are we doing to bring about that peace? Do we have that inner peace to be offered to others? How willing are we to offer that peace to those around us in particular to those of different race or creed? Real peace comes from within us and unless we can harness and share that with others, there can never be lasting peace.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Kuching Declaration 2012

A fairer representation of all

 The most significant event that marked Malaysia Day was the signing of the historic “Kuching Declaration” of 16 September 2012 by the Pakatan Rakyat(PR) national and state leaders. The declaration was is to honor the spirit and the 20-point Malaysia Agreement of 1963, which they said have not been fulfilled by the BN government for the last 49 years.

The de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat Anwar Ibrahim told the thousands who braved the drenching downpour at Chonglin Park, Kuching that the declaration was to affirm Pakatan’s commitment to the Malaysia Agreement if it takes power in the 13GE.

It was signed by Anwar Ibrahim Anwar himself, on behalf of PKR, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang ,DAP national advisor Lim Kit Siang and Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng and Baru Bian, chairman of Sarawak PKR and Adam Ahid, Sarawak PAS Commissioner.

In short the declaration pledges to restore the rightful place of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. The pledges of Pakatan if it takes over the Federal government can be summarized as below:

Article One: Equal Partners

Pakatan will restore the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement and the position of Sarawak and Sabah as equal partners within Malaysia by restoring autonomy to Sarawak and Sabah within the framework of the Federal Constitution.

Article Two: Fair Representation

PR will increase national integration between Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia through a fair power-sharing arrangement that fully upholds the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement.

Article Three: Citizenship

PR will set up a Royal Commission to solve the perennial national problem of illegal immigration and citizenship, particularly in Sarawak and Sabah.

Article Four: Restoration of Native Customary Rights over land

PR will endorse the authority already vested in the state laws of Sarawak and Sabah to set up Land Commissions to investigate, resolve disputes, redress, survey and restore Native Customary Rights over Native Customary Lands.

Article Five: Competent Sarawak and Sabah

PR will endorse the appointment of Sarawak and Sabah citizens to head government departments in their own respective states and by the powers vested in the state secretaries of both states as well as give first priority to the appointment of Sarawak and Sabah citizens at federal government level functioning within Sarawak and Sabah.

Article Six: Oil Justice

PR will raise the royalties paid on petroleum and hydrocarbon resources to Sarawak and Sabah to 20% from the present 5%.

Article Seven; Equitable Development
PR will bring the level of infrastructure development in Sarawak and Sabah up to par with Peninsular Malaysia.

These pledges in the Kuching Declaration have far reaching consequences that will be for the good of the two East Malaysian states which are among the largest in the country. It is significant that despite their size and abundant natural resources they are still the poorest states in the country.

It is time for Sabah & Sarawak be given their rightful place and honor in Malaysia . For almost half a century they had been neglected despite being the "fixed deposit" in terms of votes for the BN.It is time for the people in Sabah and Sarawak to wake up to the realities of the world they are in today.

Why are they still poor despite their vast resources of oil and timber? Why is the cost of living higher there than in the peninsula despite being poor? Why is the large section of people are still illiterate and cut off from the outside 'civilized' world despite having so much wealth? Why are their Chief Ministers and other state leaders extremely rich when the bulk of the population still lives in under deplorable conditions in remote areas not accessible by proper roads?

These are some of the many questions they must ask themselves before they decide to cast their votes in the coming 13GE. The people in peninsula may want change but by themselves alone may not be able match the might of the BN. They need the help of their fellow brethren from Sabah and Sarawak to bring political change. The support of fellow citizens from Sabah & Sarawak can make the difference in the crucial elections.They must prove to the BN that they cannot be taken for granted anymore but must be included in all national policies as equal partners.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is Pakatan ready to rule?

With the 13GE looming and the opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) making inroads into BN strongholds, question in the minds of people is whether the loose coalition comprising PKR,PAS and DAP is ready to rule the country if it succeeds in taking over the federal government. This particularly so considering that the three parties have totally contrasting ideologies. Many opinions have been expressed by various people including political observers in and outside the country. Well people are entitled to their opinion but how can you gauge one of his or her capability if not given a chance to do so?

Similarly how can we know the capability of PR if not given the chance to rule and prove itself? Similar doubts were raised before 2008 but since then PR has proven it is capable especially in Penang and Selangor, the two richest states in the country.

Pakatan may not be in ideal situation and I am sure its leaders know that but it is the only choice we have today to bring the necessary changes to take the nation forward in today’s highly competitive and borderless world. Like in all other enterprises we have to take a calculated risk to bring change for the better. We are convinced Umno-BN cannot bring that change anymore because of its internal resistance, a consequence of allowing one man to rule for too long.

The Pakatan state governments in Penang and Selangor have proved that if given a chance people of good intent can rule reasonably well, at least they will not do major harm to the system that is already corrupt to the core. Even Kedah and Kelantan may be less robust in their development but we don't have any major misappropriation of the states' wealth and the people's money.

The question in every voter's mind should be whether Umno-led BN government of 55 years  and wide experience be able to get the nation out of the massive corruption, racism and abuse of power. If they are genuinely convinced that only Umno-BN can get them out of all these socioeconomic predicaments then they are free to go ahead and vote for them. Those who are unconvinced, it is time they look for an alternative and at present they only available have Pakatan,despite all its shortcomings and inexperience.

Whatever it may be, the people must bear in mind that the opportunity for change that they have today may not come by for another few decades if they let this chance elude them now. The time has come for Malaysians to make the all-important decision and we hope they will do with great maturity, wisdom and discern.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy Malaysia Day 2012

  Let’s unite across our divide
Today Malaysians from Eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak  and their fellow citizens from the peninsula states commemorate and important day in their history – Malaysia day, the day Malaysia was born 49 years ago on September 16, 1963.

Although we were officially one nation but far too long we were divided not only physically by the vast South China Sea but in almost every aspect of our lives, culture, language, religion and even in our thoughts. In fact we have been and continue to be strangers to one another despite being citizens of one nation. 

This scenario of divisiveness must change for the better. Citizens from across the divide may have their differences but as Malaysians they must unite to exert their rights to determine their common destiny as a nation. Half a century of divide and rule is a long time, during which they have lost many of their rights and cherished dreams in their Motherland that is blessed with vast natural resources. It is time for them to unite and harness the power of that unity to fight for their rights and justice for all. Their destiny is their own hands and not in the hands of their political leaders who come and go. It is in unity can their regain their losses.

Let's unite, Malaysians from west and east, to create a better Malaysia for all, regardless of race and creed. Let's vote with the wisdom bestowed upon us by the Almighty for change, a change that will bring about the dawn of a new Malaysia, where its   people of diverse cultures and believes can walk tall and proud to call themselves ‘anak Malaysia.’

 Happy 49th Birthday Malaysia.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Election violence threatens peace & national security

Stop the pre-election violence before it gets out of hand 


pkr election poll bus attacked in kelantan storyThe recent spate of violence against the nationwide PKR bus-tour election campaign is a cause of serious concern for all Malaysians regardless of their political affiliation. This is not the first of such violent acts against the opposition. Its leaders notably DSAI have been harassed many times in the past. Even non-political leaders like Bersih Chairman,Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan had been harassed after the recent Bersih 2.0 rally.

Despite numerous police reports, the police is yet to act against those who resort to violence to disrupt the opposition ceramahs. It is ironical that the police instead of acting against provocateurs, have instead chosen to act against those who are victims of  such rude and violent provocations. The latest act of the police to arrest one of DSAI’s bodyguards bears testimony to this lop-sided attitude of the police.

Polls violence is a concern for all citizens who want a peaceful election to choose the government of their choice. The police must show its neutrality to protect all parties from gangsters and thugs without fear or favour.Voting or not voting out of fear will tantamount to making a mockery of the democratic process which we claim to have been practicing for over half a century.

NONEIts time for the IGP to issue the strongest warning to those who flout the laws of the country. He must not hesitate to act promptly against those who defy his warnings. He has the power to stop this thug rule that is becoming a threat to the peace, harmony and security of the nation.

But will he rise up to do his duty which he pledged to the nation and the people? The vast majority of Malaysians doubt his will to do so as they are by now convinced that his police force is for the BN rather than the rakyat. It is time for him to prove them wrong once and for all.  

Historic Parliament after historic GE14

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