Repeal draconian private healthcare Act

Repeal draconian private healthcare Act

ZARIM KAMARUL’s letter in the Star Online_

I REFER to Dr John Teo’s letter, “Act unfair to doctors” (The Star, March 28).

The PHFSA (Private Healthcare and Facilities Act) was created in 1993 at the urging of consumer associations as they claimed they often handled complaints from the public on poor services provided by private hospitals and clinics.

But they were told that the Health Ministry’s hands were tied.

This is untrue.

The Medical Act 1971 is very clear, especially in trying to apprehend bogus doctors.

Doctors wanting to practise in Malaysia must have graduated from a recognised university, must have registration with the Malaysian Medical Council and must posses a valid Annual Practicing Certificate.

Anyone not complying is a fraudulent or unlicensed doctor and is liable for a fine or jail term of two years or more.

The Medical Act 1971 is in itself comprehensive.

But what was absent was enforcement.

One of the bizarre edicts of the new law was that it applied only to private doctors but not to government ones.

Among others, private practitioners will need to work in specified clinic conditions, pay a suspicious registration fee of RM1,500 and buy medical equipment they may never use.

The Act was passed in parliament despite the objections by MMA presidents.

The recent elections have shown that the Government must pay attention if unfair laws are proposed or are being promulgated.

This country must not exchange democracy for the rule of little Napoleans as the de facto method of governance in the civil service.

The PHFSA must be repealed.

ZARIM KAMARUL,
Shah Alam.

Act unfair to doctors

DR JOHN TEO’s letter in Star Online

AS our Prime Minister announced his new Cabinet and as the unprecedented general election results unfolded before our eyes, what was clear to all Malaysians, regardless of race, gender, religion and profession, was that our destiny and objectives are the same. That is: equality, fairness and the ability to share and prosper together as one race in this great nation of ours. 

One of the very important tasks ahead for the new Health Minister and the Cabinet to look at is the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 which came into force last year amid an outcry by private doctors throughout the country. 

With the usual government modus operandi of implementation of similar regulations like the introduction of Fomema to monitor foreign workers’ health and the proposed E-kesihatan to monitor transport workers’ health which was later scrapped, the stakeholders i.e. the private doctors and even patients do not play any major part in its formation.  

The threat of a RM300,000 fine for not registering is enough to send all private doctors scurrying for the registration forms. The concession was that the authorities will not use the Act without due care and disregard to the private practitioners and that its main objective is to weed out bogus doctors and unqualified practitioners. 

It is now necessary to ask why is a fully qualified doctor from a local university with a valid annual practising certificate that qualifies him to practise professionally in this country as in the case of Dr Basmullah Yusom languishing in jail because of the PFHSA?  

His only crime is of course failing to register his clinic as he is planning to move to another locality soon. 

I speak for myself, but I also believe that I speak for a big majority of private doctors in this country, that the PFHSA should be repealed. 

Most doctors, whether in government service or the private sector, have only one main objective in mind and that is only their patients’ welfare and health first and foremost. 

I am not suggesting that errant doctors or practices should not be regulated. But there are many Acts in place already to do that and the fact remains that the PFHSA has too many regulations that can be yielded and enforced in so many forms that many doctors are objecting too. 

In all fairness, the PFHSA should also be renamed and revamped as the Facilities and Health Services Act without the word “private” as I believe that the same high standards should be demanded for all health facilities and services, be it private or government, as all Malaysians are equal under the law in this great nation of ours. 

It is the fervent wish and hope of many doctors that this great injustice called the PFHSA is corrected swiftly and effectively by the new Cabinet in this dawn of a new era in Malaysian history. 

DR JOHN TEO,
Kota Kinabalu.
 

Selfishness leads to search and hit the softspots

 Selfishness leads to search and hit the softspots

“Think of national interests”, Suaram told by

unjust leader from the Justice Party

On the protest voiced by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on the Selangor-levy plan, he said local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Suaram must place priority on national interests and not champion universal human rights and attack the state government for looking after its residents in their own homeland.

Yes, do not champion universal human rights but just look at your party’s name.

Do you stupidly still think that  your party is established for justice to DSAI alone? BUT not for the UNIVERSAL JUSTICE?

Dear DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza, please give an intensive course on Democracy, Human Rights, Justice, Rule of Law, UN Human Right Decleration on this shortsighted person.

If not this MB is morbidly suffering from Myopic astigmatism, a condition in which his eye is affected with myopia (Shortsightedness) in one meridian only: that is on foreigners.

He will later start an anti-Foreigner campaigns_

Now he said foreigners took the work of locals and buy the houses.

Soon he will propose to shut down the Kelang Port to stop exporting goods and petroleum so that Malaysian citizens could enjoy the surplus, unsold, exports. Sure, commodity prices would go down because of unsold, un-exported goods.

Soon he would stop all foreign tourists from entering Selangor to reduce traffic congestion and to give more hotel rooms available to local tourists. Hotel room rates would go down up to the level affordable to all the Malaysian citizens.

Soon he would stop all foreign direct investment to give more opportunity to the locals.

Selfish politicians like him would never think globally.

Selfish politicians usually use national interests as a smokeshield to disguise their cruel deeds.

Selfish and weak politicians always try to exploit or hit the soft spots. Khalid dare not exploit on Malaysian old pendatangs so he is looking the blood of fresh pendatangs.

(Sorry Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians for using this insulting words. I myself was labled like that in my own country and here we all are treated unfairly and unjustly as 10th. Grade foreigners amongst fresh pendatangs)

Selfish politicians always use the (Ultra) Nationalistic sentiments to incite or exploit against Foreigners.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should be controlled by DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza.

Justice Party (I hope Justice for all and not for selected races and citizens only) leader, new Chief Minister Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

I sensed a déjà vu phenomena while reading Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s words_

Former PM Tun Mahathier had also reported to utter these words as a lame excuse when he imposed increased medical fees for the foreigners.

  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that legal foreign workers’ children are not allowed at all in any government schools!
  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that the government had built 3000 schools only for the illegal immigrants from Indonesia. (According to NST front page news and photograph of a school)

Even PR holders are denied the good faculties in Public or Government Universities nowadays.

  • Local students are subsidized using part of our levies and income-taxes.
  • Even in the expensive private universities, locals are supported using the foreigners’ levies and income-taxes.
  • Adding salt to that do you know that we need to pay  more then locals? And one idiot is asking to charge more on foreigners in the local universities. Is this the Justice?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should open his eyes and fight for that injustices and then I am sure the foreign workers would be willing to pay even hundred times more than he proposed.

He is ignorant that Government health facilities always charge THREE TIMES first clast fees to the foreigners while keeping them in the Third Class.

  • He should fight to charge same rate as locals at hospitals if he wish to charge again in his state.
  • He came from Justice party: after charging those levies (when the locals earning the same salary are usually exempted from paying income-tax because of low earning.)
  • Afterall those foreign workers are working for your country, your countrymen’s companies that your citizens owned at least 30% and for your citizens. Where is “Justice” if the workers your citizens employed are forced to pay extra charges or sometimes denied medical treatment?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  should be banned from claiming that he is from Justice Party if he continue to deny justice for all.

Using state Roads?

  • Foreigners also pay income-tax or levies.

  • Even if they use the taxis or busses, they paid the fees that is inclusive of all the Road Tax, Import Duty, Sales Tax, AP Fees, Tool fees etc.
  • If the Foreigners buy cars are they exempted from above?

So don’t give lame excuses Tun and Tan Seri, this is your country and State. If you want to discriminate on poor foreign workers, just do whatever you like. But don’t give those lame silly excuses. Just Hit the Soft Spots!” It is safer than exploiting the same citizens.

By the way, your “zero tolerance on squatters” is also targetting the poor. 

Please read the following news_

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in the Star Online news 

BANTING: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) should take a more national approach to foreign worker issues and not attack the state government, says Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Khalid said the state government’s proposal to collect RM9 monthly from all migrant workers in the state was aimed at setting up a fund to help provide re-training for local unemployed youths so they could land better jobs.

He said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

Well done: Khalid, you have darken your party and opposition.

“Suaram feels that bringing in foreign workers is one of the solutions to human rights problems but they should understand we have to help our own people, too.

“This is a democracy, so we can open up and discuss the matter,” he told reporters after officiating at the closing ceremony of the training for local authorities’ enforcement officers at the Selangor Enforcement Training Centre (Pulapes) in Jugra here yesterday.

On Monday, Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng hit out at the state government’s proposal, calling it unjust as foreign workers received low wages and were often exploited by employers or recruitment agencies with non-payment, unjust deduction of salary, long working hours and unfair dismissals.

He added that migrant workers were barely surviving and probably in debt after paying exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia.

Khalid meanwhile said the RM4,000 in levy and agency charges migrant workers paid was too large a sum, and the state planned to call on the Federal Government to reduce the amount.

He also proposed that a centralised information system be set up to keep an accurate record of foreign workers in the state.

“I was among the people involved in the corporatisation of the system for foreign workers and I can show ways to keep tabs on even the illegal workers,” he said.

Khalid also said the Federal Government should not cast aside suggestions just because they came from opposition parties and should accept the good

“We want to show the federal government how to keep records on illegal workers (Have you use illegals in your old palmoil company?) by having the state levy. I will set up a centralised information system to keep correct records on those who come and work in the state,” he said.

Abdul Khalid said the RM3,000 to RM4,000 charged by migrant worker agencies was high and that for the Selangor government this was not reasonable.

(Then you have heart to extort extra RM 9.00, that will definitely pass onto the poor workers.)

(Have your old company pay the levies for your workers.  Afterall Tun said that levies were meant to made the employers expensive to hire foreigners but Tun and all of you close your eyes and look other way round when the poor foreign workers have to pay those money.)

If you are man enough demand part of the levies to be paid to state governments from the immigration or MOF.

He said millions of ringgit were paid by foreign workers to recruiting agencies that brought them to the country and the Malaysian government collected a levy but eventually the agents concerned did not know where the workers were and this “flood of foreign workers” created problems for society.

Although migrant workers, especially the illegal ones, were eventually repatriated by the government, the problem did not seem to end as they returned to the country and the ones who benefited were the travel agents and migrant workers recruitment agencies, Abdul Khalid said.
 

See this great Malaysiakini news,

  1. Permas: New MB’s statements ‘chilling’ by Soon Li Tsin 

The community residents’ association of Selangor and Federal Territory (Permas) is disappointed with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s decision to continue with the ‘zero squatters’ policy.   

Opposition leader Wan Azizah unveils bold agenda

The nation’s first female parliamentary opposition leader, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, today unveiled an ambitious agenda to boost economic growth and fight corruption.

Access to equal opportunities

Strengthening race relations

Withdraw Monthly Fee

on Migrant Workers

Wednesday, 26 March 2008 
Suaram is deeply disturbed with the plan of the Selangor state government to collect RM10 monthly fee from all migrant workers in the state of Selangor. The new policy was announced by the Chief Minister of the newly formed Selangor state government, Khalid Ibrahim recently during a press interview with Chinese press.

According to the Chief Minister, the money collected will be used for the purpose of setting up a re-training fund for unemployed youths. It aims to equip them with more skills and in a long run reduce the reliance on migrant workers. 

The migrant workers community is

  • one of the most exploited
  • and most marginalized groups in the society.
  • They work in conditions described as 3-Ds – dirty, demeaning and dangerous,
  • and theirs are jobs which the locals shun off.
  • They receive low wages
  • and are often exploited by employers
  • or recruitment agencies for non-payment,
  • unjust deduction of salary,
  • long working hours,
  • unfair dismissal etc.

By taxing the migrant workers

  • who are barely surviving
  • and probably in debt in order to pay the exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia ,
  • an extra heavy burden is added on the migrant workers and their families.

And to use the money collected from the migrant workers to re-train local unemployed youth and eventually replace the migrant workers, is scandalous, to say the least.

Even if the monthly fee is to be paid by the employer and not the migrant workers, we are concerned that eventually this fee will be deducted from the migrant worker’s wages one way or another.

The new policy reflects how unsensitized Malaysian political parties,

  • be they in the opposition

  • or the government,

are to the plight of migrant workers.

The Parti Rakyat Keadilan (PKR) has espoused the principle of justice and won a huge victory with the pledge to the people to fight against the widening income gap between the “have” and the “have-nots”.

Certainly, taxing the poor migrant workers to assist local unemployed youth, do not measure up to the principle and spirit of justice.

Suaram calls on Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim to immediately withdraw this unjust policy. We also urge the Chief Minister to consult civil society organizations who are working on migrant workers issues before making any policy decisions in the future.

Yap Swee Seng
Executive Director

 

 

Applying for Malaysian citizenship

Applying for Malaysian citizenship

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar 

Please read his interpretation of_” WE RULE BY OUR LAW,” first and my comments later. 

PUTRAJAYA: Some of the 200,000 foreign workers who overstayed for up to 30 years have applied for permanent residence status and citizenship even though they are not qualified. (OK)

“One does not acquire any right to PR or citizenship just by working in the country. (OK)

“A guest worker in this country is a guest worker,” said Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar. (OK)

He said the rule was for unskilled workers to work for a maximum of five years while skilled workers could work for 10 years in Malaysia. (May be OK?)

Unlike some countries, he said, Malaysia did not offer PR or citizenship to people even though they have invested millions of ringgit in the country. (OK , we all know that invest only could not earn a citizenship:)

There are now some 1.2 million foreign workers in Malaysia.

(Legal = already paid the levies and middle-men:)

(Illegals should be punished together with their Malaysian bosses + Political powers who pushed out them from the country of origin or pulled them)

(What about refugees? Political, Religious and Economic refugees from Burma, Sorry , you used to call Myanmar! ASEAN leaders are also responsible for their exodus because they shielded and Protected the SPDC Junta so that they could continue to exploit Myanmar)

Syed Hamid, who took over the portfolio recently, said his priority would be to tackle the issue of illegal foreign workers, including those who overstayed.

(Now with the stroke of luck you need to listen to the Sabah leaders and give priority there!)

(But Your Honour would be wrong if dumped political migrants as illegals. Your Honour  has the moral responsibility to look after the so called economic migrants  or who migrated because of bad economy as a result of SPDC Military Junta continued mismanagement. Because ASEAN and Malaysia must accept that if they continue to  shield, protect and support the Myanmar Military Government for their own interests, they should take responsibility for these people also. Burmese people’s sufferings are prolonged because of ASEAN.)

Another problem on the ministry’s priority list is the visa-on-arrival facility that saw about 60,000 tourists overstaying since the visa was introduced last year. (OK)

Yet another problem to be “revisited” is the licences issued to some 300 out-sourcing companies to bring in foreign workers. (Dare to ask? How ? When? Why? they got the licences)

Syed Hamid said the way the licences were used led to numerous cases of foreigners being stranded in the country without jobs and proper accommodation despite having paid agency fees.

He also said he would be tabling for second reading the Special Complaints Commission Bill, to act on complaints of misconduct by enforcement agents, in the next Parliament session?

My comments 

So Blue ICs  are given to whom, other than spouses of Malaysians ? 

Could you give the break down of Indonesians’ profession or work or status at the time of approval. Sure you will hide behind OSA. Then it would be the proof of lack of transparency or unfairness on our Myanmar Muslims.

But I am 100% sure we Burmese (sorry you YB prefer to call Myanmar) Muslims, even the professionals are unfairly discriminated here.

Because YB Minister was an ex-FM you may be brainwashed by the generals you may wish to say no but I am sure you may not dare to deny the followings on the HOLY BOOK OF QURAN_

  • You must ACCEPT THAT WE ARE EVEN NOT ALLOWED TO CALL OURSELVES MYANMAR MUSLIMS in Myanmar by your friends in SPDC.
  • Mosques damaged by agent provocateurs are not allowed to rebuild in Myanmar.
  • Old Mosques ruined because of natural cause are not allowed to rebuild in Myanmar.
  • Many mosques are destroyed by the local military officers and Muslims were even forced to give free labour to build pagodas, monasteries, army camps or new settlements for the all expenses paid Myanmar Buddhists migrants into the Muslim dominant area.

When the democratic Western countries pushed Burma, you all ASEAN countries protect the Myanmar Generals and ASEAN leader from this country was the one who persuaded all the remaining ASEAN leaders to let off SPDC from the hook. It was cleverly trapped on record by witty Singaporeans.

We could understand that Petronas alone has more than 4 billion investment there and we agree that you all are right because it is important for your country’s economy.

We could understand and do not wish to blame because you all could not or dare not protest about the Muslims in Myanmar.

But we could not understand when you could not even allow those effected Myanmar Muslims migrated here to just allow to work here or study here easily. We are not asking even a cent from you but are even willing to pay the required fees.

Why it is very difficult for even Myanmar Muslim Professionals to get Red or Blue ICs but there are a lot of Indonesians, Pilipino and Thai Muslims holding various ICs and many Indons had even served in various very high government posts, MBs Ministers and even Secretary Generals of the ruling parties? We agree with you for accepting those brillient great people but what about the toilet cleaners, odd job workers, hawkers easily getting the approvals?

The whole world could see how cold bloodedly the SPDC soldiers had shot and killed the Japanese journalist and dare to assault and killed the revered monks.

Just read my other relevant articles about Muslims in Myanmar. Or just ask Datin Seri Wan Aziza or Tun Mahathier. (You could read some of their comments in their interview with me.)

Or you could ask your Law Minister YB Datuk Zaid Ibrahim or YB Taressa Kok or YB Elizabeth Wong or even your PM’s son-in-law YB KJ, who protested infront of Myanmar Embassy. Your old Law Minister Datuk Nazari Aziz had also protested infront of Burmese Embassy as the UMNO Youth leader. (Please don’t angry, for using Burma as that was the name of Myanmar at that time)

If Your Honour, Home ministry and government just wish to punish me, blacklist me, so be it. That is my fate.

I hope and believe that I could get the reward back from Allah later. After all if we don’t tell you, who will inform you and your boss, YAB Datuk Seri AAB. YAB promised to listen and your new Imformation Minister was said to be willing to read the blogs and internet.

Dear YB Datuk Seri Home Minister. Is is time to change your outdated laws formalysed during the merdeka days. The world is already changed and globalized. If you resist to change the people will start to abandon you.

If there is truth in the RULE OF THAT CITIZENSHIP LAW (read Rule of Law) it is OK for you to proudly announce it. But as that LAW was believed to be used (read Rule by Law) to shut out others and just to open the back door to the Indonesians you should not proudly follow that law but should try to amend it.

Please read my article_

The worst National Registration Department in the world

 

Politics for People

  Politics for People

_ by Thuria Tayza

It’s time now to start serious discussions on “Politics for People”.

There are at least three reasons for doing so.

1. People’s sufferings on the ground;

  • near starvation,
  • child malnutrition,
  • high maternal
  • & child mortality rates,
  • short general life expectancy,
  • hyper prevalence of infectious diseases,
  • lack of good healthcare,
  • lack of clean water supply,
  • lack of electrivity,
  • lack of credible education,
  • lack of employment,
  • lack of reliable income,
  • lack of internet access,
  • lack of media freedom,
  • lack of labour rights,
  • child soldiers,
  • human trafficking,
  • forced prostitution,
  • drug trade,
  • environmental destructions………

these are all real , not just political propaganda.

2. When junta approved their constitution by hook or by crook or by spooks; to carry on the fight to next stage, pro-democracy political activists inside the country will need to take part in 2010 elections; then they will need a credible leparty political platform which is relevant to time and circumstances of the day.

“Politics for People” will be a very noble and respectable political platform.

3. When the military install a puppet civilian government after 2010; to go on fighting against that puppet civilian government, we’ll need a good political weapon. “Politics for People” will be an effective weapon because under the new puppet civilian government people of Burma will go on suffering all the same.

So we need to start brain-storming on how to help the real people under real-life sufferings in Burma: _

A. How can political activists help the real people _

  • e.g., like Ko Htin Kyaw and group who voiced people’s concerns for the worsening poverty;
  • like the efforts by Phyu Phyu Thin and group to provide assistance to HIV patients highlighting the lack of adequate and humane care for patients with infectious diseases in Burma

B. How political leaders can help the real people _

e.g., like the 88 generation student leaders who came out onto streets to protest hyper inflations after 5 fold fuel price hikes, which eventually snowballed into massive Saffron Revolution last year

C. How activists on border areas can help the real people _

e.g., like Dr Cynthia Maung who has been for so many years providing health care to all refugees and migrants there;

like AEIOU program giving tertiary education to refugee youths there

D. How ethic forces can help their own people _

  • like Free Burma Rangers providing healthcare and other essential assistance to IDPs;
  • like Shan Women Action Network releiving sufferings of ethnic refugee women

E. How journalists inside and outside the country can help the real people _

e.g., like many a faceless civilian journalists and bloggers during Saffron revolution who risked their lives and tried to record the sufferings of people and spread the word to the outside world.

F. How exile pliticians can help the real people _

  • e.g., by talking more about people’s real suffering on the ground in Burma,
  • but spending less time on writing money-making project proposals for themselves

G. How international community can help the real people of Burma _

e.g., by persuading or pressuring military junta to cooperate better with United Nations for direct poverty relief efforts for real people on the ground

H. How ASEAN countries can help the real people of Burma _

 e.g, by persuding Burmese authorities to gradually relax their

  • super tight control and very harsh censorship on
  • media,
  • press,
  • public meetings,
  • entertainment
  • and stage performences,
  • internet
  • and telecommunications, etc.,

in essence to allow freedom at least up to ASEAN standard, if not to perfect western standards.

I. How future new puppet civilian government can help the real people _

  • e.g., by being less corrupt
  • and more transparent
  • and accountable,
  • and paying more heed to public opinions

 

Malaysia’s Selangor State wants to exploit migrants?

Selangor wants to exploit migrants?

From the Susan Loone’s blog, complete with comments there.

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Khalid Ibrahim, the newly minted Selangor chief minister wants companies with migrant workers to pay RM9 each so that the money can fund training courses for unemployed persons.

It’s a silly policy, short-sighted and shows lack of human compassion for the workers involved. Khalid cannot just shoot off crap from his mouth as he likes. Suggestions like this involve policy changes. Policies should not be changed according to the whims and fancies of whoever is in power.

First of all, the companies involved are not going to pay this amount from their pocktes. They’ll deduct it from the migrants’ salaries, which is already chicken feed.  These employers spend more on food, accesories and health care for their pet dogs and cats, you can be sure. 

Khalid, in all his mightiness, as ex-Guthrie CEO or current menteri besar, I am afraid, can’t do a thing to stop towkays and bosses from exploiting their workers further in this way. And what does it say about Selangor, the new and riches Opposition state?

 

Secondly, what has the migrants got to do with unemployed persons? Why must they be made to pay for our unemployment problems?

The very fact that migrants are at work, though miserably paid, shows that we have job opportunities. But why are they still many, many unemployed people in Malaysia?

It’s not that locals do not want to do the kind of jobs that migrants currently do. Employers prefer migrants because they can be easily exploited, and abused. Everyone makes money when a migrant comes to work in this country. From agents to employers,  government official, airline companies, doctors, house owners, everyone! Except the migrant themselves.

And…

It’s not that the migrants have deprived the locals of their jobs, that’s lazy thinking. But its the government policies, employers and agents, who work in cohorts, to make sure they make the most profits, leaving locals with less opportunity for jobs. It’s a vicious cycle, I know. But that’s the reality.

If unemployment is the main issue, there are other ways to takle it. Make Malaysia more conducive for investment, for one. Secondly, require employers to hire more locals, make it a policy. Improve the education system. These are long term policies, but worth investing in.

The education system sucks that students are not prepared for life skills when they finish school. All the education ministry wants to do is make sure that students dont get involved in politics. Well, do you think they can choose what’s best for their lives, if they can’t even be allowed to think about what kind of country they want, or which leaders to govern it?

Khalid’s putting his wrong foot into this. Has he met with migrant workers or those working on migrant issues yet or even the unemployed to know what the main problem is? Consultation is the key. Or else, you are no different from your BN/UMNO predecessors.

Perhaps, I am saying this too soon. To me, one thing has become crystal clear. It seems pointless to have so many social/ NGO activists in government, if none of them can influence policies.

20 Responses to “Selangor wants to exploit migrants?”

  1. tzarina Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Correct.

    I also blogged on a related issue yday…on the fact that our private sector workers and plantation workers do not have a decent minimum wage…at this moment, a loose definition of min wage is applied…and its rm350! Companies like Guthrie, Sime Darby and most sweat shops that we call factories are blood suckers. We need to control immigration, have better labor laws and improve in our own local economy so that we become less dependent on foreign investments, who are currently holding our economy by its balls!

    My take:
    http://orangewaves.blogspot.com/2008/03/minimum-wage-rm350-is-this-joke.html

  2. Well said Susan. It`s an idiotic idea.
    Khalid is basing it on his experience in the plantation sector where immigrant workers stay on the estates itself. It`s very different elsewhere – as you rightfully point out.

  3. The righteous man Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    It is a good move by Khalid. It’s not so much penalising the migrant workers but more so companies that have become hooked on cheap labour. Khalid must find a way to ensure the levy does not come from the pockets of the workers but rather from the companies.
    Something has to be done to raise salaries and get Malaysians interested in jobs that are now being incresingly taken over by foreign labour.

  4. silly mistake, Khalid!
    the Selangor new MB is stupid enuf for not realise that the labour issues fall under the Federal jurisdiction. unless, u have the majority in Parliament to be able to implement this policy. LoL!

  5. Right you are, Susan
    The new MB should not bring more miseries to migrant workers as thet are already harassed enough under BN laws and bad policies.
    He should institute a minimum wage for them instead.

  6. sloone,u may have a point there,let me tell my story with foreign workers and the hassle i had to go throu with federal goverment.firstly i am running a small company specialising with elite group of customer.for many years i keep on trying to get locals to work for me,but the youngters just refuse to learn my trade.i have to anwser to my customer if the job not done according to specification and time frame.the last resort i had to get foreign workers.just to bring in 2 skill workers,i had begg kdn for approval,but fails.this business my rice bowl.backdoor approval cost me $4k.agent and levy for 2 workers 10k.the workers is paid monthly salary of $1500.00.No deduction on their levy.house rental for them 600.00.am i crazy to pay foreign worker all in 2500 amonth.THE PROBLEM IS A LOT OF HIDDEN COST INVOLVE IN HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS.If I PAY PEANUT I GET MONKEY,THE PROBLEM OF FEDERAL GOVERMENT THEY DONT SUPPORT HIGHLY SKILL FOREIGN WORKER FOR SMALL COMPANY LIKE ME,BUT THEY CAN ISSUE THOUSANDS OF PERMITS TO OUTSOURCE COMPANY AND ABUSE THE FOREIGN WORKERs AND SMALL COMPANY LIKE ME.INFACT THE LOCAL PR INDONESIAN I PAY $100.00 PERDAY BUT AFTER SOME TIMES THEY THINK THEY ARE THE BOS.THEY WANT SUB CONTRACT MY JOB TO THEM AND I BECOMES THEIR BROKER TO FIND JOB.BUT THE BIG COMPANY WILL PAY THEM PEANUT AND ABUSE THEM.WHY ARE THE ILLEGAL WORKERS AROUND?ITS DUE TO THE BIG COMPANY HIIRE THEM.SMALL COMPANY DARE NOT TO HIRE ILLEGAL WORKERS BECAUSE POLICE HARRASSMENT.MOST OF MY JOB IN GATED COMMUNITY.I NEED LEGAL WORKERS,BUT I PAY THROU MY ASS TO GET THEM.JUST LAST YEAR I TURN DOWN ALMOST 100K PROFIT JUST BECAUSE I CANT GET WORKERS WHO IS SKILL ENOUGH TO FOLLOWS MY INSTRUCTION.MOST OF MY WORK ON REFFERAL BASIS AND I NEED TO PERFORM.MY WAITING LIST LAST YEAR FOR PEOPLE TO EMPLOY ME IS 6MONTHS.VERY2 STRESSFULL .ITS LIKE A TAXI DRIVER,THEY DO THE HARD WORK BUT THE PERMITS OF TAXI HOLD BY CRONIES OF POLITICIAN.FINALLY THE COUNTRY PAYING THE HIDDEN COST.thanks sloone.raj raman.still dreaming become malaysiaputra or i think better become a politician to earn back door money.BELIEVE IT OR NOT my country is corrupt from private sector to goverment.JUST STUDY HOW THE SINGAPORE GOVERMENT ISSUE PERMITS TO FORREIGN WORKERS.AS LONG YOU CAN PROOF YOU NEED WORKERS AND YOU GOT JOB TO PAY THE LEVY,ITS DONE.NO HIDDEN COST.

  7. well said susan!

    the tan sri is starting to show the quality of our GLCs CEOs -)

  8. You are reacting too soon. The bringing in of foreign workers is big business and the middle man makes tons of money at the expense of the workers and the companies that employ them.

    Policies regarding foreign labour are made at federal and not at state level. All Khalid can do is work at state level and introduce measures that will discourage companies from employing foreign workers. If locals do not want to work at factory level then it is a sign that we must start moving away from labour intensive industries to up-market ones that require less labour. This is part of the change that must be made as we move to become a developed country.

    Unless one has a complete grasp of the situation it is immature and unjust to start spewing condemning criticisms.

  9. Erm yeah, Eli is on the EXCO yar….she should have wide experience dealing with the rights of foreigners.

  10. sloone,please give some times for the new mb.for the last 50 years bn rule this country and created a mess.this new mb might not have the grip on the running of goverment.just give him time.them if he fails,we attack him.have mercy for new comer.everybody must be given a chance,he didnt demolish,offend any races.he need some moral support.we just cant keep on attack a new mb.its takes time to be a politician.whether good mb or bad mb.time will decide.wait until then.A HUMBLE REQUEST FROM ME TO ALL BLOGGERS.i not is cronies or i know him personaly.all the new 4 state mb need some breathing space for them.alot of files missing,alot of hanky panky by previous bn.its will take some times for them to perform.meanwhile just watch them like hawk from above,dont attack.they will panic and create more blundered due to the pressure.

  11. Excellent piece Susan

    already the foreign worker’s salaries are normally reduced or chopped in some invisible and invincible ways by the ruthless employers where the Industrial Relations Department will take years to negotiate.The poor workers will either be stuck in the oppression or return home prior to their term and the pitiless brokers will care less for them.

    And now this. Khalid seriously needs to get to the ground before making wrong statements that the BN will start to be abusive before the new government gets a chance to prove itself

  12. Penang Exile Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I wonder whether MB Khalid has been misquoted by the BN loyalist press?

  13. Well said Susan. Migrant workers are human too. They work hard and deserve every penny they earned. Why penalised them further?

    I was one of those overseas student in Australia in the 80s who worked the shit out of every summer vacation and during weekend of school terms just to save enough for my school fees plus living expenses. I put up at least 16 hours works every day during summer vacation like a migrant worker since my parent can’t afford and no helps from our Goverment. I have never regreted and managed to complete my degree with flying colours and within the shortest period of time in 5 years duration at the University of Melbourne.

    Why countries like America, Australia & Canada cherish their migrant workers, while we the racist Malaysian(including Tan Sri Khalid ibrahim) must take every oppurtunities to penalised our migrant workers. Eihter our Tan Sri has a loose mouth trying to score points or is he just ignorant to know that the mighty America, Australia & Canada were once built by migrant workers?

    Please stop this racist crap. Treat our migrant worker more humanely

  14. slone,i just need a favour,my email raj-raman@hotmail.com also being used by somebody.whenever i log in to kit or other bloggers,the message says somebody registered using my email.i not a computer savy.infact i hate paper work and computer.just 3 months ago i got registed my email due to hindraf factor.my business web site also doesnt have email due to i not bothered about replying to my customer.i communicate by phone.so how come someone can have the same email as mine?i only use my email for bloggers like u,anil and haris.others seldom or i cant register with them due to someone using my same email.is it possible?thanks.raj raman.hope you help me.u r the expect and someone have cloned your blogs.same boat,different problem.

  15. Khalib Ibrahim is just a liability to Malaysia! Khalib is using the out-of-date managing plantation system which is beneficial to the directors and not the plantation workers or staffs.

    Managing an ‘advanced state’ like Selangor is a different ball-game and therefore we need a different game plan. Kahlib was only an ‘estate player’ when he was in the plantation. Now he has promoted to a state player but still only qualified as an ‘estate player.’

    Can an estate player compete with a state player? Looking at the score-line:

    Selangor state : 6 Oil Palm Plantation : 1

    Therefore it’s a disaster for an ‘estate player’ to assume the role of a ’state player’.

    If you have in doubt on the above analogy, why not we have a match between the Selangor state team pitting against an Oil Palm Plantation team literally?

    If Khalib couldn’t even helm an estate plantation team profitably and effectively, do you think Khalib could helm a ’state team’ and maintain it at ’state level’, let alone at SEA/ Asia/ Olympic/ World level?

    Looking the the quality of the state councilors in the various states, we know that it’s a gone case for the various states.

    Have the Malaysians in Semenanjung had any confidence with the state or federal levels?

    Why did all these politicians get involved in politics in the first place? Are they like the late Mother Theresa who was really dedicated to humankind? Or like our dear Susan Loone who put service before self?

    The notion is that once a politician got into a plausible position in politics he/she would get whatever he/she could during their tenure ala Khir Toyo and clique.

    Why did the new state executive council refuse to declare their assets? What they have got to hide? Unless they have blended into a new corrupt team replacing the previous regime with another new rotten-to-the-core state system.

    The politicians are crook. Otherwise there will not be so many dynasties all over the parties all over the states.

    Can Theresa Kok be like the late Mother Theresa? For a few years perhaps. Then either she also corrupts or will be booted out by the warlords/ eunuchs in her parties! Why did Fong Poh Kuan resort to threatening to resign before the 12th GE? And that Ding Dong bell in Bahau? The previous three Musketeers and so on….? Politics is a filthy game (highest level) in Malaysia.

    Politicians in Malaysia are just thieves and robbers stealing/ plundering the assets of Malaysia/ Malaysians.

    They are real liabilities to the people of Malaysia. They make Malaysia bankrupt but paradoxically they make themselves super/ hyper rich.

    For example, a money making system for Khalib and clique:

    Levy on legal/ illegal migrant worker : RM 9 per head.

    Total amount of revenue collected from legal/ illegal migrant workers: 1.5 million x 9= RM 13.5 millions / month.

    Total amount accrued from the poor/ miserable legal/ illegal migrant workers per year = RM147 millions.

    Wow! Sure this Khalid knows how to make money for himself the crooked way. He is learning fast and is as good as Kill Toyo!

    Sure in due time Khalib and clique’s assets are catching up with the likes of Mahathir, Daim, Tengkuku Razali, Kill Toya, Ghafa Baba (destination not determined)”’ etc.

    No wonder Khalib has no ba** to reveal his assets!

  16. I think you guys just jump to conclusion too soon. I rather think the idea is worth looking into. Below is the extract of the interview by Malaysiakini with the MB. I don’t think he is been unfair.

    “M : What are your short-term and long term goals for Selangor?

    K: Selangor has got opportunities as much as challenges. One of the challenges is how to accommodate the growth in population. In Selangor and Federal Territory, the Malaysian population is around five million, while the total number of people is about eight million. At least 1.5 million of these people are foreign labourers.

    They bring in economic resources to the state as well as social issues. I thought that over the years, if Selangor is to progress, we have to find ways and means to reduce our dependence on foreign labour. That is one of our objectives.

    To solve that, I think we should also tackle the issue of employment among youth – those between the ages of 22 and 35. I want to make sure that all the youth in Selangor are eventually fully employed. What I want to do is to have a skills training programme to enhance the quality of the youth so that they can work in higher-income areas and be, for example, artisans such as specialised welders.

    Young ladies can train to become nurses, dental assistants, or work as assistants in surgery rooms, for example. Young men could become audio and computer specialists, and move from low-skilled jobs to higher skilled jobs.

    After two to three years in our programme, our target is for these youth to earn at least RM2,000 a month. If that happens, and say there were 500,000 youths in this programme, we would have reduced the income gap while at the same time create more consumer demand.

    How will I fund this project? If we have about 1.5 million foreign workers, I would like to propose that our employers in Selangor who hire foreign workers allocate RM9 a month per foreign worker. This money would go towards helping to train the youths. RM9 a month is equivalent to about RM100 a year. If there are 1.5 million foreign workers, I will be accumulating RM150 million which serves the purpose of funding for the training.

    I don’t think the employers will grumble too much, because they are investing in the future of the state. Due to the decreased dependence on foreign labour, there will be less crimes, less social problems, less dependency on facilities and medical, and so on. That is the tradeoff between the two. If I can do that, then I can move Selangor into the future.

    M : So you’re trying to reduce the dependency on foreign workers.

    K : We need to. It may not be so in the short-term, but it should work in the medium term. I do not think Malaysia can afford such dependency for long. Foreign labour imposes demands on our infrastructure and other facilities such as medical treatment, schooling for their children, and so on.

    M : Foreign labourers are causing these demands?

    K : Yeah. People would say I’m unfair and discriminatory in this regard. We like foreign labour to live and work with us, but we also want to develop our own home-grown capacity.”

  17. Chan Choon Kit Says:
    March 27, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    To start with, it’s Khalid Ibrahim, not Khalib!

    I believe many posters here are too premature in criticizing Khalid. His proposal of RM9 levy makes good economic sense, never mind if the humane bit of it is compromised a little. Ask any economist on how to control influx of goods, they will tell you to impose extraneous charges. It is then merely a question of how much, how soon, implementation strategy, pecuniary costs versus benefits accrued, etc.

    Furtherelse, I do see a lot of good signs from Khalid ever since he took charge. His take on the Councillors’ bungalows (prefering to rent out to high-flying CEOs and bring in revenue rather than demolishing them) and even his latest vision of a squatter-free Selangor albeit with a more humane approach (again this is implementation strategy) speaks volumes of the passion he has for Selangor. And now, Khalid has instructed Ronnie Liu to look into the hillside development of Bukit Antarabangsa more closely and perhaps stop such developments. Khalid truly has moved on since he took over, don’t the rest of you agree?

    He’s even made more sense as a leader than even the Cabinet Ministers since they took office. And look what stupid things those Ministers have come up with? One said the water agreement is valid although we know a caretaker government can’t be allowed to enter into contract. Another Minister (the one who likes to wield the keris) has ‘quietly’ issued an edict that no leader from those 5 states are welcome into any school functions. Imagine these are indeed the very first concrete words/actions from BN ministers!

    Here we have Khalid performing at a reasonably good speed that a leader should be instead of concentrating on petty stuff. I don’t see the other BN minsters proposing on how to solve the migrant workers issue — so far only talk and more talk! And I also don’t see how the other posters here who were quick to condemn Khalid are giving good recommendations on solving this issue as well. Instituting a minimum wage is perhaps the best suggestion I’ve read so far, but we know that is not something any state administration can act on. So, Susan and other posters, please hold your stance and let Khalid work out a solution. Perhaps some solutions may have leaky holes, but Khalid and Exco will stitch it back.

  18. RM$9 lecy isn’t that much, other countries higher than suggested by Khalid
    & THE RM$9 must be on employers not the workers

    There are solution to get the job done, think out of the box
    Don’t be too emotional

  19. Susan,

    Your concern seems to be that the foreign workers will be exploited by this proposed levy; rather than whether the proposed use of the proceeds will work.

    Well, what makes you so sure that the levy will be deducted from the workers? You seem to have made up your mind that this will happen. Because of this, you then claim “Why must they (ie the foreign workers) be made to pay for our unemployment problems?”

    You then claim, “Everyone makes money when a migrant comes to work in this country. From agents to employers, government official, airline companies, doctors, house owners, everyone! Except the migrant themselves.” How can this be true? As lowly paid as these migrant workers are – they must be better off than in their home country. Otherwise why would they come? It makes no sense !

  20. Maybe he can convince the federal government to implement policies that make employer pay for that? I think it is too soon to judge now. What he wanted to do may be good for the state, but their credibility requires transparency (like where the money is going to go). For sure, it will not be easy and there will be objections from a lot of businessmen.

Let us honor our heroine Daw Suu by voting NO in referendum

Let us honor our heroine

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

to be eligible in the coming election

by voting NO in referendum

Modified and edited the original letter, “Let us be like the orchestra respecting the conductor “, by Antares  in the Malaysiakini .

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that Antares and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

As far as I’m concerned, Sr General Than Shwe, the supremo of Myanmar Tatmadaw is deceased. Finito. R.I.P. Kaput. What happened in the Saffron Revolution was a gigantic samurai sword that moved so swiftly that the 10-headed hydra of Might-Is-Right that has terrorized us for the last 46 years lost all its heads.

The SPDC survivors of the Saffron Revolution debacle are all operating in Safe Mode now, their operating systems having crashed big-time. Perhaps the Tatmadaw hard drive can still be booted up a few more times and some useful data saved – but the SPDC motherboard itself is on the verge of terminal malfunction. So let’s not speak ill of the dead.

Anyone who hasn’t been brainwashed by the SPDC cronies (ASEAN, Thailand, China and India) with vested interests can see that in the Saffron Revolution leaders: monks, 88 Generation leaders and NLD have got what it takes to steer this floundering Burma ship back on course. And what it takes is intelligence, courage, stamina, adaptability, good humor, experience, and most importantly, ethical sense. Their resilience has been proven over the last years by his capacity to transmute tragedy into triumph, transforming themselves from victim to victor – all the while maintaining their dignity, clarity, and focus.

Whatever their early passive political agenda, the Burmese opposition of 2007 has been forged in the furnace of personal pains and endurances.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could have taken the money and run – become an academic or corporate CEO. But she didn’t. She stood up to the Junta Generals and fought like a heroine. That’s how she gained the whole world’s respect, admiration and trust. There are very few in our midst today that I can describe as ‘heroic’.

To my mind nobody can match what Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  and 88 Generation Student` leaders have accomplished: they has led us through the Chapel Perilous of racial politics and now, for the first time since Independence, we can look around and appreciate the beauty of our own diversity and say, Vive la difference!

What has been missing all these decades is the possibility that we can love one another as humans, regardless of skin colour or creed – that’s because cold-blooded ambition and ruthless greed have no use for empathy and warm feelings, nor does it encourage compassion, kindness, and spontaneous joy. No, it feeds and fattens itself vampire-like on fear – other people’s fear.

In the climate of fear Myanmar Military created during their 46-year reign, anybody who dared speak the truth became a hero – or martyr. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  and 88 Generation Student leaders, more than any other political icon in the country, succeeded in transcending to embody the universal values that will unite rather than divide us as a nation. That is indeed the mark of a hero. Let us honor this heroine (who nearly became a martyr during the Depayin massacre) by giving her what she fully deserves – the chance to serve as prime minister (at least till she tires of it or we tire of her).  

At the same time, let us all aspire to become heroes too, so that we will no longer be scared children in need of a grown-up to lead us across the street. Let us each become, in time, self- governing individuals whose relationship to our political leaders is akin to an orchestra’s respect for the conductor, knowing full well that his job is to create a symphony from the potential cacophony of so many different instruments.

The value of trust

The value of trust

Excerpts from the WINNING WAYS by PUAN SRI T.D. AMPIKAIPAKAN

It is something that has to be earned, yet is not difficult to attain. 

“When people honour each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly.” – Blaine Lee 

WE do not trust each other anymore. That’s the feeling I get looking at the events that have taken place over the past few weeks. The word “trust” has become highly overrated and has lead to scepticism. Ask anyone today about trust and they will tell you how difficult it is to trust people.  

If we are lucky enough to trust someone implicitly, the reasons we do so are based on the promises that were never broken or the commitments that were always fulfilled. But many feel that promises made are broken and commitments unfulfilled. 

Few leaders today have the capacity to earn the trust of the people they lead. This is not an easy task. The demands of the people are limitless and juggling these demands with what is available is impossible, particularly when you also have to deal with people’s greed. 

Yet, gaining the trust of those around you is not an unachievable task. Ask a child and she will tell you that if her parents kept their word and fulfilled their promises, trust was generated. Ask a student and she will tell you that if her teacher made sure that the students were adequately-prepared for the next level of their education, then trust was created by the teacher.  

Ask an employee and he will tell you that if the boss honoured his word to the staff, then trust was achieved. In all these situations, even small actions made trust possible. Trust was created because of the following: 

  • The feeling that you can depend on someone or anyone. 

     

  • The cooperation and experience of working within a team. 

     

  • The ability to take risks and be protected. 

     

  • The experience of communication, whereby people believe each other. 

    We all know that the best way to maintain a trusting work environment is to prevent distrust. This means a strong corporate vision and mission, a show of integrity of the leadership, truthfulness and transparency of the communication with staff within the organisation, all of which are critical factors. All this boils down to is, “I trust my boss/my supervisor/my staff … to do the right thing all the time”. 

    In the real world, there are many things that can go wrong daily and trust is often compromised. It is a fact that you may do a hundred things right and no one will even think about how trustworthy you are. But you do one thing wrong, or one promise is unfulfilled, and it will never be forgotten and trust would be lost.  

    Employees also learn to mistrust even in the best of workplaces because of their life experiences, often, bad ones at the hands of an unfair boss or unscrupulous leader. On the other hand, bosses will tell you that no matter how well the employees are looked after, they will still walk away if someone offers them a better deal.  

    It is quite apparent that trust is an issue, to some degree, in most organisations. 

    How do we build trusting relationships in an organisation? It is all about the way you conduct yourself and the values you have, which promote trust in the relationships.  

    Here are some ideas that might work: 

     

  • Look at people who are capable of developing good interpersonal skills with others in the organisation. Encourage them to build trust within the firm so that, although everyone may be different, they will behave in a professional way. 

     

  • Make sure that the people you hire are trainable in the manner you want them to behave to ensure trust is created and nurtured. 

     

  • Your staff members must be kept informed of whatever is happening in the organisation. It is really wise to give them whatever information you can safely divulge in any given situation so that gossip and misinformation do not destroy the trust created by the organisation. 

     

  • See that staff in supervisory positions act with integrity. They are expected to keep their commitments and if they cannot do so, then they must explain why. 

     

  • If there are issues, deal with them in a timely fashion. People watch you all the time and if you are unable to create the necessary checks and balances in the workplace, you lose their trust. 

     

  • Protect the interests of all your staff. We should know by now that discrimination of any kind creates distrust.  

    As a supervisor, if you are not competent in what you do, you lose the trust. If you do not know something, admit it and your staff will admire you for it. 

    If you profess to be a leader of an organisation, do engage in trust-building activities only when you desire a trusting, empowering, team-oriented work environment.  

    Engaging in these activities is only for the honourable and not for the dishonest. People will know the difference, or when they eventually find out, they will never trust you again. 

    “The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between the leader and the led – is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” – Brian Tracy

  • March 27 Myanmar Military day message

      March 27 Myanmar Military day message

    Modified and edited the original letter, Arrogance? Never again”, by Tanya  in the Malaysiakini .

    I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that Tanya and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

    The absolute power of the successive ruling Tatmadaw Junta Generals corrupted them absolutely and their hubris led to their downfall.

    The military dictators ravaged Myanmar/Burma for over 46 years, taking away our right to free speech, instilling fear, corrupting the country to the core, and depriving us of the wealth of this country by allowing it as largesse for his cronies. The ruling top senior general’s arrogance filtered down to the `little Napoleon generals’ who outdid him in his arrogance in implementing his will.

    One of the greatest crime of the Sr General Than Shwe was the crime of ‘commission by omission’. He also let his greedy family enrich themselves at the country’s expense. However, I still do think he is a cut above the diabolical council of Tatmadaw’s crooks.

    Cronies sat down and wagged their tails, happy that they got the crumbs from the table.

    Dear Senior General, with all the wealth that you have now, and after all these years of your so-called “service to your people and country”, did you manage to buy peace of mind and dignity in your old age?

    General Ne Win was the kind of shameless and under-handed leader we have had for over twenty years. He and his band of brigand cabinet ministers rode roughshod over the people, especially the non-Burmese, very often with barely concealed contempt for them, and most often with open contempt. His was the legacy that was continued during the days of the Than Shwe.

    I call on all Myanmar/Burmese citizens from today to never, never, ever again tolerate the kind of arrogance we have been subjected to all these years at the hands of these fellows who have been mistakenly thinking they are our lords and masters. From today we will reclaim our birthright, which includes the right to liberty, freedom of expression and equality before the law. And we will remind the despicable autocrats that they have been put in their positions to serve and deliver, as our servants. They will listen when we speak our minds.

    Tatmadaw Yebaws or military rank and file have been made pawns in the game played by these heartless; morally bankrupt generals, solely for the purpose of enriching and empowering themselves.

    I am saying this from the bottom of my heart: if the Tatmadaw wants to be a strong and respected force that counts on the global stage, if they want their progeny to be a generation of winners, then they don’t need such generals. All they need is to believe in themselves, claim their pride and dignity, and compete on a level playing field with the civilians. I sincerely believe they can do this. Just go for it.

    Most crucial at this juncture is that the delicate balance of racial and religious harmony is maintained. Without that everything else will be futile.

    The Myanmar Tatmadaw will go all out to turn the Bamas against the other races. They must never succeed in this. Let us not be deceived by the Tatmadaw generals’ lies and start to distrust each other. If we work for the common good, we can ensure that all of us, will prosper. Isn’t that what we all want?

    I would like to exhort all Tatmadaw rank and files not to let these evil generals poison your minds against the other minority races and minority religious persons.

    If we let those generals win at their game we will all become abject losers. Above all, let us all have generous hearts. Let us not believe in the adage ‘beggar thy neighbour’. On the contrary let us believe in ‘prosper thy neighbour’. Together we will prevail.

    Note: Rank and file (Idiom) =

    • Followers,
    • the general membership.

    This expression comes from the military, where_

    • a rank denotes soldiers standing side by side in a row,
    • and file refers to soldiers standing behind one another.

    The first recorded figurative use of this term was in 1860. 

    e.g. This new senator really appeals to the rank and file in the labor unions.

     

    Diversity, not race, our strength

      Diversity, not race, our strength

    Comment by MARINA MAHATHIR in the Star online

    I saw a report in a Chinese newspaper on how the newly appointed MB (Chief Minister) of Perak had stunned a Chinese crowd in Ipoh by speaking to them in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil, English and Malay.

    It may well have been no more than words of greeting but still, the very idea of a Malay politician speaking to a Chinese audience in their own language and dialects is novelty enough these days to be impressive.

    As with anything else, there may soon come a day when seeing politicians and other public figures “cross over” racial lines becomes something very normal and no longer anything to remark on.

    Perhaps the day when vertical thinking along racial lines is nearer than we dreamt.

    I had the opportunity to listen for the second time to Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault and Nissan, the other night on how diversity should be viewed as a strength.

    Coming from a diverse background himself and successfully managing two very different car companies with very different cultures, Ghosn knows what he is talking about.

    The important thing, he said, is_

    • to acknowledge
    • and respect people’s separate identities
    • and view that as a strength
    • that can be tapped for success.

    These days, smart global companies don’t impose one type of management style all over the world but adapt to each cultural situation.

    The people who used the racial rights argument were waving an old tattered banner, out of a lack of ideas. We yearn these days for leaders with new ideas. We want to be given hope for the future, not revisit the same old problems over and over again. Not that we want history ignored because we need to know where to start from but we do want to see that shiny path ahead of us clearly and within reach.

    I read the extraordinary speech made by US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama in Philadelphia where he tackled the problem of race.

    In reviewing America’s history with race, he said: “I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that

    • we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together
    • unless we perfect our union by understanding that_
      •  
        • we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes;
        • that we may not look the same
        • and we may not have come from the same place,
        • but we all want to move in the same direction

    – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.”

    Some of the issues that have concerned Americans have also concerned us, and the lack of unity is one of them.

    To this, Obama responded by acknowledging his mixed ethnic background and saying, “It is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.”

    And indeed Democratic voters agreed with him and voted for him even in states that had seemed prejudiced against black men.

    The same thing happened in our country. Unfortunately, race politics has not really died down yet, and some people reacted as if ethnic cleansing had just taken place.

    Where is our own Obama to lead us into our future, with faith and hope? Have we heard yet one speech of optimism recently that inspires and unites us all?

     

     

    Push now for the real civilian democratic government for Myanmar

      Push now for the real civilian democratic

    government for Myanmar

    Modified and edited the original letter in Malaysiakini written by Yogeswaran Subramaniam.

    I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that Yogeswaran Subramaniam and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

    The results of the 1990 General Elections are indeed a heartening sign for all Myanmars/Burmese who believe in the basic tenets of democracy. In what that seemed to be a long lost phenomenon in Burma a majority of the general voting public demonstrated their willingness to participate in the democratic process by voting out the parties affiliated to the ruling military government.

    All the Burmese citizens and most of the world hailed the outcome as a fundamental paradigm shift in Burmese politics saying that it will never be the same again. And who can say that they were wrong? The result signified both a symbolic and ideological change in Myanmar Military Dictators’ prestige and legitimacy.

    Having said all this, what now, SPDC? It would seem that the paradigm shift only means new challenges for the new-look Myanmar Military government disguised as civilian politicians and its people would stay downtrodden forever as before.

    True enough that the ruling Myanmar Military Junta now is going to approve with impunity in the coming referendum its one sided constitution by hook or by crook. They had rejected the independent pool observers from abroad. Not even from UN nor ASEAN nor China nor India nor Thailand. They will continue to do all of what they wanted to do and had also already been done while they had the power. Given the Tatmadaw’s power, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible for the opposition to undo the damage done to constitutional rights that have been severely denied over the years under military dictators.

    The mere existence of a ‘strong’ support from around does not mean that the Burmese people can sit on their laurels and expect change to happen. Previously overwhelming majorities for the NLD coupled with strong outside support did not necessarily propagate change so there is no reason to take it for granted that Tatmadaw will give true democracy

    The sad reality is that systemic corruption, the lack of transparency, imminent worldwide economic woes and the continued military monopoly policy all require urgent action.

    The people must therefore be vigilant in constantly reviewing the progress made on the not impressive roadmap and guided or deciplined democracy so proudly flaunted by SPDC before the referendum. As demonstrated prior to the 1990 election, the people must continue to voice out and express their dissatisfaction when they have been wronged.

    The people of Burma must made sure that these referendum and elections would see change in the military government by the people and of the people, let us now push for government for the people!

    Tibet – support the Dalai Lama

    Tibet – support the Dalai Lama

    By Feraya Nangmone

    Hi,

    I just signed an urgent petition calling on the Chinese government to respect human rights in Tibet and engage in meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama. This is really important, and I thought you might want to take action:

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/tibet_end_the_violence/98.php/?cl_tf_sign=1

    After nearly 50 years of Chinese rule, the Tibetans are sending out a global cry for change. But violence is spreading across Tibet and neighbouring regions, and the Chinese regime is right now considering a choice between increasing brutality or dialogue, that could determine the future of Tibet and China.

    We can affect this historic choice. China does care about its international reputation. Its economy is totally dependent on “Made in China” exports that we all buy, and it is keen to make the Olympics in Beijing this summer a celebration of a new China that is a respected world power.

    President Hu needs to hear that ‘Brand China’ and the Olympics can succeed only if he makes the right choice. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get his attention. Click below to join me and sign a petition to President Hu calling for restraint in Tibet and dialogue with the Dalai Lama — and tell absolutely everyone you can right away. The petition is organized by Avaaz, and they are urgently aiming to reach 1 million signatures to deliver directly to Chinese officials:

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/tibet_end_the_violence/98.php/?cl_tf_sign=1

    Thank you so much for your help!

    Life beyond Referendum

    Life beyond Referendum

    _ by Thuria Tayza (He sent this e-mail to me)

    The referendum is coming. Regardless of political opposition’s denunciation of it as a sham, a sham referendum for a pro-military constitution drafted by a convention of much compliant delegates hand-picked by the military; and despite United Nations’ request to the junta to formulate a more inclusive and more transparent process, the de facto military rulers of Burma are going ahead with their planned referendum where existing and newly crafted laws threaten any body who dares to speak anything against it will face long prison sentences, which in Burma usually comes with an automatic bonus of tortures and ill-treatments. The military junta has rejected United Nations’ proposal to send UN monitors for the referendum. Notwithstanding the plan to hold constitutional referendum in May, majority of people in Burma haven’t seen the draft constitution; actually they don’t even know yet when exactly the referendum will be. Electoral registers are not yet complete, virtually non existent in many remote places of Burma where at least half of the country is either covered by jungles or on difficult terrains of steep hills and tall mountains. In spite of all these it is quite certain, at least for the junta, that the result of the referendum will be a “Yes”, that is even if people actually vote “No” in an overwhelming majority. The referendum is just a formality for the junta to enable them to announce that Burma has been given a new constitution, whether people like it or loathe it. That’s why junta has already declared that general elections will be held in 2010 under the new constitution which is yet to be approved by referendum!

    Even though people loathe it and international community denounce it, the new constitution is going to be a very useful tool for the junta. After brutally killing dozens of Buddhist monks in a peaceful demonstration for better living conditions and improved human rights in Burma last year, the military junta came under immense pressure from United Nations and wide ranging sanctions from all self-respecting democratic governments around the world. Even junta’s main sponsor, communist Chinese government, felt embarrassed by Burmese Generals’ blatant breach of human rights. And there is a personal need for Senior General Than Shwe, the supreme leader of junta, who is alleged to be suffering from severe hypertension, diabetes and some intestinal tumours, to get a safe way out before he dies to leave a secure future for his family and a powerful legacy for his loyal followers in the military. A new civilian government, controlled by the military from behind the scene, under the new constitution will give Gen. Than Shwe a chance to claim that he has given a disciplined democracy to Burma. He has already time and again emphasized that Burma’s democracy will be in Burmese style, not American style. And junta’s big brothers China and Russia, and neighbouring countries like India and Thailand who want to get natural gas at a cheap price from Burmese generals will endorse junta’s claims of achieving disciplined democracy in Burma. So, although every self-respecting politician in the democratic hemisphere knows that Burmese people have been given a very bad deal for a fake democracy by their military government, the establishing of a so called disciplined democracy will buy Burmese generals some credibility in other hemisphere influenced by China, Russia and India.

    As it is, the political opposition inside Burma and in exile know the fate awaiting them beyond the referendum. But, as terribly weak they are, as dreadfully disunited they are, and as woefully disorganized they are, the political opposition have no ways and means, i.e. no political institution or influence, to stop the referendum, or even to disrupt it. Since all brave and bold activists have been put behind bars during the Saffron Revolution last year, only a few elderly politicians are remaining outside jail, and they are these days just acting as care takers of the apparently exhausted main opposition party, looking forward with their weary eyes to a day in the dim future when the party will be revived by some miracle.

    Some exile activists are suggesting boycotting the referendum. Perhaps, they may be able to persuade people in Burma not to vote in the referendum. The low turn out at the referendum may discredit it; but as the latest referendum law does not mention the minimum level of turn out for its validity, low turn out will not stop junta from declaring victory. On the other hand, it’s a certainty that junta will force its soldiers, soldiers’ families and civil servants to cast a “Yes” vote. And, junta lackey militant Kyant-phut and Swan-arr-shin organizations will mobilize their members to intimidate people to go to voting stations and vote “Yes”. Eventually, junta will just count what ever “Yes” votes they can garner and declare that more than 99.99% has voted Yes!

    So, alternatively, some suggest making a “No” campaign, to urge people to go and vote No. There’s no question about people’s loathing of corrupt military rulers, and in all possibilities people will take “No” vote as their natural revenge on the brutal military junta. So “No” vote is the natural outcome for the referendum, provided it be genuinely free and fair with real secret voting system. “No” vote will teach a tough lesson to the military and seriously damage their ambition for a perpetual dominance in Burma’s politics. That’s why the all powerful military will not allow “No” campaign to win. Even now, to dishearten “No” campaigners, military is spreading rumours that if “No” campaign wins, another national convention will be convened again which will take another fifteen years like the previous one, effectively giving the military another fifteen years at least to go on ruling as transitional de facto government.

    No one knows exactly how the military will respond to a victory of “No” vote. But, nonetheless, people will just have to vote “No” to a constitution which gives 25% of seats in both houses of parliament to military officers hand-picked by their commander-in-chief, which allows military to operate as a totally independent institution with no control what so ever by civilian government on it, which allows military to take over power virtually at any time they like, which allows only three presidential candidates with one of then to be hand-picked by the military. Only fools and soldiers will vote “Yes” to such a constitution; “No” vote is the only choice for people, and “No” campaign is a must for all political activists.

    But, as no one knows if the military will really hold a free and fair referendum, as no one knows how military will respond to a “No” victory, and as nothing is certain in Burma where a bunch of unreasonable military generals have absolute control over everything, “No” campaign alone will not be enough solution for Burma’s problems. And, politicians and activists who want to carry on the torch of their political aspirations into long distant future, however bleak it might be, need to start preparing now for all eventualities beyond 2008 May referendum.

    Here, it’d not be very impolite to point out an important reason of the chronic failure of Burma’s pro-democracy movement, that is the very re-active nature of many a movement leaders who lack pro-active plans but like to issue one ineffectual statement after another only in a sluggish response to those cunning political moves by street-wise military generals extending and strengthening their powers. Usually, whenever Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is under house-arrest, her deputies just wait for her return, acting only as quiescent care-takers in the mean time. But the problem is she has been under house-arrest most of the time during the last two decades. So, it’s not surprising that she seems to become quite frustrated with the current situation of apparent lack of life in her party. And she, during her last meeting earlier this year with her party elders, pointed out to them the need to carry on the fight with or without her inspiration, and to be able to make decisions with or without her guidance, especially at this critical moment for the future of the country.

    So, while making “No” campaign, activists should also start thinking about the next steps to take when military junta declare, in a believe-it-or-not manner, that their constitution has been approved by referendum.

    When the new constitution come into effect, by hook or by crook, there will open up three main options to continue the fight against military oppressors _

    1. To take the new constitution as the symbol of total defeat and failure of current non-violent struggle, and launch an all out armed revolution.
    2. To continue the non-violent struggle but in a more active manner, taking direct actions frequently, mobilizing Saffron Revolution style people power uprisings as frequently as possible, trying to destabilize any future puppet civilian government under military control.
    3. To play along with the new constitution and take part in elections and attempt to fight any future puppet civilian government from inside, or from inside the parliament
      Actually, all these three components can be used in a harmoniously synchronized combination. But to accomplish such a massive political effort and organization, pro-democracy parties will need new generations of more daring and more active leaders.

    In reality, number two and number three options are more practically feasible than the first, as armed revolution nowadays seem to become totally obsolete. Since “nine eleven” no government around the world would provide assistance to an armed revolution in Burma, however much sympathetic they are to Burma’s struggle for democracy. And all those successful coloured democratic uprisings (velvet one in Georgia, orange one in Ukraine, etc) in recent history are based on non-armed movements. Even the terrorist Hamas has finally come to power in Gaza Strip through political elections. Likewise, today’s major armed ethnic resistance groups in Burma, if they understand changing trends in the world, will in near future need to form political wings like Sin Fein of IRA, to take part in elections and to make two-pronged efforts (non-armed political offensives as well as armed self defence against any attempted genocide) ultimately towards self-determination and autonomy in their homelands.

    If the pro-democracy movement, especially the movement’s main political party the National League for Democracy NLD, is to survive and thrive beyond 2008, and beyond 2010, the party must try to build political muscle. Of course, military junta and its security apparatuses and its future successor puppet civilian government will all try their best to contain and crush NLD party. But if there’s a will, there will be a way. There had been many instances in the past where activists successfully organized strong movements despite intense scrutiny and tight control by security forces; e.g. , under difficult situations students organized and mobilized protests in 1987, 1988, 1996, and student leaders initiated white shirt movement and open heart campaigns of 2006 and anti-inflation demonstrations of 2007 despite the junta stamping down on them. And with the new constitution and new elections in 2010, it will become inevitable for military junta to allow some room for political activities inside the country. So NLD must try to regroup and rebuild itself, and must try to establish a well organized political institution inside the country, mostly above ground but also some under ground elements as required; and there must be a long line up, a virtually endless supply, of new generation leaders who will take over and carry on the fight whenever their senior colleagues are arrested or eliminated by the military.

    Most important above all else will be to bring together people power; to re-align the movement as one for the people, and by the people, instead of a movement by a small group of politicians for transfer of power to their party.

    Recently, there has been poverty relief efforts and rice distribution by Amyotheryei U Win Naing and group. And, there was Ko Htin Kyaw and group who voiced people’s concerns for the worsening poverty, lack of credible social welfare and lack of electricity supply, etc. And, there was an effort by Phyu Phyu Thin and group to provide assistance to HIV patients. And there were attempts by Su Su Nway and group to protect the rights of people used as forced labourers by the military. And there even is a group led by actor Kyaw Thu providing free funeral arrangements for poor families. And there are many a faceless civilian journalists and bloggers from inside Burma who try to record the sufferings of people and spread the word to the outside world. And there are numerous groups which are providing healthcare, education, food, shelter and other helps to refugees, migrants and displaced people along Thai-Burma border.

    But sadly, we haven’t seen anything significant done, or said, by current caretaker leaders of the movement, and the elected people’s representatives inside and outside the country, for the relief of poverty and sufferings of the people.

    Since 1990, all policy platforms of current caretaker leaders of the movement and the elected people’s representatives inside and outside the country have steadfastly been based on 1990 election results; all statements issued, all request and proposals made to the junta, all petitions and open letters written to United Nations, all policy initiatives laid down, and all political strategies designed have consistently been centred around 1990 election results and the need to get power transferred according to 1990 election results.

    But the truth is, after nearly two whole decades, under very terrible real-life situations on the ground, the long suffering and now virtually starving people are no longer interested in election results of twenty years ago. And, the younger newer generation activists of today were either born after 1990 elections or were in a very tender young childhood at the time of the election. So, although they care very much about nowadays’ terrible poverty suffered by their fellow country men under a corrupt military junta, they do not care that much about an election result some two decades ago which the military junta refused to recognize.

    And remember that the massive Saffron Revolution of 2007 was not at all about politics or political parties or political elections. The people in 2007 were already absolutely poor and on the brink of starvation which was dramatically worsened by junta’s five-fold increase in fuel prices. Angry people led by their student leaders came out onto streets and marched and made protests which were supported by Buddhist monks, which led to brutal beatings by soldiers on the monks, which in turn angered the mass of Buddhist monks and devotees in majority Buddhist country Burma, eventually leading to the explosion of the Saffron Revolution. So it is very clear that Saffron Revolution exploded solely and spontaneously out of people’s poverties and miseries, nothing to do with politicians or political parties.

    Since before 1990, and until now, people of Burma have been trying to get rid of an unwanted military rule. But there is a delicate and gradual change in underlying reason to get rid of the military rule. In 1990s people were angry with the military junta because they felt that, by refusing to recognize 1990 election results, the military had cheated people of their legitimate choice of government. But in 2007 and now, people are angry with the military junta because military generals’ corruptions, brutalities and incompetence has caused so much and so terrible sufferings to the people.

    So, if the pro-democracy movement is to survive and thrive beyond 2008 and 2010, there are two imminent and immediate requirements to fulfil.

    The first is to reinvigorate the movement by getting more energetic new generation leaders who can get along and go along with people better, and are bold enough to initiate, organize and lead people power movements as required to take direct political action against military aggressors.

    Nowadays’ younger generation of grass-root junior activists are looking for new generation leaders, like the 8888 generation students, who understand the people and are understood in return by the people, who sympathize with the people and are sympathized by the people, who speak out for the people and are spoken very highly of by the people, who stood up for the people and are rallied around by the people.

    And the second requirement is to realign the movement with the people by speaking up about people’s sufferings, representing people’s interests, trying to help people in every possible way, fighting for the people, fighting to get power for the people but not fighting to get power for a party.

    Usually, in democratic systems politicians whose policies best reflect people’s most pressing concerns have the best chance to get elected. Bill Clinton on economy platform during economic recessions of the beginnings of 1990s. Second Bush winning second term with a tough warrior stance on national security platform during an era of terrorist phobia.

    As people in Burma are suffering quite a lot, there are a lot of things which Burmese politicians can speak out for their people. First of all there is very high inflation and low income, coupled with high un-employment and low morale. Many people are starving, and millions of children are malnourished. Child mortality rate is very high. With very meagre and poor quality health-care, maternal mortality rate is also high; and general population’s life expectancy is also very low. Nasty infectious diseases like HIV, TB, etc are very prevalent. Education system is very chaotic. Starving and un-educated children are sold into sex-slavery or used as under-age under-paid labourers. Jobless women also fall into prostitution in neighbouring countries. Military frequently uses people as unpaid forced labourers. Military also uses child soldiers. Military can confiscate people’s houses, land and any thing they want at any time and any where they like without giving any compensation. Judges, juries and the whole judicial system runs on bribery. The entire government bureaucratic system from top to bottom is rife with corruptions. And there is no media freedom, and all phones and emails and internet access are tightly controlled and monitored by security forces. If we go on and on (I¡Ä(B.. there will be an endless list of people’s sufferings. There is quite a lot for politicians to speak out on behalf of the people; they only need to have a will to do so. If politicians really love their country, as they usually tend to claim, they must think more about helping the people rather than about getting power for themselves. In a democratic system politicians really need to serve the people.

    And, by the way, a few words about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; there is a very strong possibility that the people’s long drawn-out struggle for human rights in Burma may outlive their leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. There is a very essential need to keep the freedom struggle and revolutionary spirit alive as long as necessary, until Burma become fully democratic with genuine and complete human rights, which may take up to twenty years or fifty years or even a century if all these democratic reforms and human rights improvements are to develop so very gradually against generations upon generations of hard-line dogmatic aggressive military generals who want to maintain their dominance in Burma’s politics. The need is real, and may be even urgent, to make sure that the struggle will not die down or fizzle out when, in an eventuality, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer there to inspire it and lead it.

    And concerning exile politicians; although they cannot serve the people directly, must try to make a difference in Burma’s politics by repeatedly telling the international community time and again about the non-inclusive nature of the constitution drafting convention, the un-democratic nature of the new constitution, the lack of transparency in the referendum, so the illegitimacy of coming elections in 2010, and also the puppet nature of the future civilian government which the military is trying to install under their control.

    And for the United Nations and the international community; if they really want to help Burma, they must first try to understand the true nature of Burma’s current problems, and need to see clearly that Burma’s problem is not a power struggle between a political party and a military junta, but is about the suffering, poverty and misery of the people under a corrupt and incompetent military junta. So if international community want to give a genuine help to people of Burma, they must try to help relieve sufferings of the people, and also get more freedom for the people if possible. Before UN envoy Mr Gambari’s latest visit to Burma, when he sent five written requests to the junta, one of the requests was about co-operations between UN and Burmese junta to make a joint effort for poverty relief for the poor people of Burma. But it was rudely rejected by the military junta. But Mr Gambari should not be disappointed by the junta’s total indifference towards people’s sufferings, but keep up his good work and try again, and again, to provide direct help to the people.

    And the future civilian government after 2010 elections (even though it most probably will be a puppet one); it should try its best to reduce hostilities among all political factions in Burma, and try to build trust, try to be flexible, and try to work well with all politicians and parties in the parliament; should even try to form a broad-based big-tent government if possible.

    One last word, for the generals, about sanctions_ generals need to understand that sanctions are the fruits of their own wrong doings. As long as military dominance is persisting in Burma, so also will the sanctions be on the businesses of military generals, their families and cronies. Sanctions nowadays are a default response mechanism of international community to any authoritarian regime. So if they really want lifting of sanctions, Burmese generals need to show that they deserve it by making solid credible, even if gradual, reforms in the right direction.

    (The author got the M.B.,B.S. Medical Degree from Burma but is not practising in UK. He  is now a post graduate Law student in London; and general secretary of the UK-based exile branch of Burma’s National League for Democracy)

    Myanmar mainstream media urgently needs new philosophies

      Myanmar mainstream media

    urgently needs new philosophies

    Modified and edited the original letter in Malaysiakini written by JD Lovrenciear.

    I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article.

    I hope that  JD Lovrenciear and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

    The largely unexpected turn of events arising from the recent Safron Revolution and the spread of the news photos and VCD news spreading out through internet and U Tube, defying and escaping the very strict censorship on all the media (read mainstream media), only further reaffirms the opinion and thinking of viewers about the Myanmar Military’s brutality.

    Some honest questions need to be raised, reflected upon and addressed in a learned manner if we are to see the survival of the media – especially the mainstream print and electronic media and the laws affecting them. This is the responsibility of not only those on-the-job, but also more importantly the media owners (in Myanmar all the newspapers are owned by the military government and most of the private journals are also owned by military, ex-military, cronies of military and journalists who are sycophants or affiliated to the military) together with the law makers. And of particular crucial importance are the Myanmar medium mainstream media given our geographical demographics.

    A continuing disregard for the harsh realities affecting the reputation of the mainstream media is not going to add any advantage especially to the government of the day as we have witnessed from the outcome of the 1990 elections.

    As aptly stated by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the media world has been ‘turned upside down and inside out’ given the ‘rise of consolidation and deregulation’ (2006).

    While the aim of this letter is not to give a lecture on the media – which the media is only all too familiar with – lawmakers and politicians need to pay particular attention to and learn to leave the job of journalism and its business to professionals.

    The starting line is the expired need to re-look our media laws, namely the Printing Presses and Publishing Rules and Regulations and the Internal Security Act. While these Acts were introduced with good intentions and at a time of bygone urgencies, the continued use of them without any objective and impartial review has not served us well and never will anyway.

    Today, we have seen on a first-hand basis how the media, despite its long years of walking a ‘safe’ path in reporting news owing to an innate fear of being hauled up and axed, has miserably failed to safeguard the interests of its political masters who own and or manipulate its existence.

    Today we are all well aware of how the ‘new’ media namely the Internet and the mobile phone have driven an obvious wedge into the mainstream media’s operating patronage and its many silly spins.

    In the light of this new age media presence, its influence and growing credibility, the Myanmar medium newspapers, in particular, need to come to terms with their blind and patronising allegiance to the military corridors of power. If the lessons learnt in the recent 1990 elections, 8888 revolution and Safron Revolution do not shake the blinkers off their current stance, the military generals who use these media can only be prepared for more disasters in the years ahead of the next referendum and poll.

    In the wake of failings, military generals would never trying to hide that our Myanmar media is never free and that the alternative media is the to be blamed as its is exercising no self-censorship but full of lies and propagandas churned out by the axe handle Myanmar exiles dancing to the tune of their financier new colonial powers e.g USA, EU and Australia e.t.c. But journalists will confide away from the presence of their military bosses that if they do not toe the line, the exit door awaits them and could even end their lives in the notorious Ye Kyi Aine..

    In a nutshell, our Myanmar mainstream media is merely for some to have a job to pay their bills and let us not kid ourselves on this underpinning truth..

    We all Myanmar citizens are day-dreaming for the time that the media – particularly the Myanmar print media and the Myanmar television stations Myanmar TV, Myawaddy and MRTV – recognise the revolutionising media scape and take pains to champion professional journalism and not continue to suffer under strong arm of military censorships. And to facilitate this, it is about time that military stopped taking ownership stakes in mainstream media or dailies. Opposition Political parties should also be given the permission to print newspaper and journals.

    Hopefully, as the nation remains focused on the path of seven steps to democracy, Myanmar Military Junta leaders will wake up and accept the fact that a free media has all the ingredients to help the nation grow from various vantages.

    For one, investors will appreciate the presence of a non-political media. The people will be more receptive to facts presented and therefore make healthy and informed conclusions. This, in turn, will enable our military junta generals and opposition politicians to stay on their feet.

    A free media will also mean that the fight against corruption and the government’s pledge to eradicate any form of crony and corrupt practices will gain credibility and support.

    And, most importantly, a media that is free from political affiliations or patronage and control will play a significant role in the urgent need to influence perceptions.

    Hopefully, we Myanmar citizens can see some significant changes in the philosophies of our media and their business direction. Otherwise, the media must only prepare for its own burial over time.

    The true purveyors of power – the people of Burma

      The true purveyors of power – the people of Burma

    Modified and edited the original letter in Malaysiakini written by Naragan.

    I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that  Naragan and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

    When we have to move the mountain there is only one way – that is through synergy, the type of synergy achieved on 8888 and during Safron Revolution was through the People Power. We have taken that first step in working collectively as a block to deny the legitimacy to the Myanmar Military Governments so as to check their arrogance.

    I must congratulate the Burmese citizens for this wonderful exercise in synergy. If any military leader tries to play around with the people, the people are going to send them packing before too long. If they choose not to listen to the people and insist on playing the race card and hope to promote their interest by the old divide and rule policy, they can see what will happen – the race card is not working any more.

    Look at NLD’s phenomenal success in the 1990 elections. This is a learning experience for us, the people, and is clearly writing on the wall for the Tatmadaw leaders who persist in continuing to play the race card.

    If Than Shwe, Maung Aye, Shwe Man, Thein Sein and all the other Tatmadaw leaders do not start to come clean from here onwards, the end surely awaits them the next time around. I really do not expect that they will come clean, so surely the next step for the people is to force them totally out by the People’s Power Movement.

    To Than Shwe, when you use unjust laws to suppress caring and sensitive people who try to raise genuine grievances, this is what you will get – a kick in a very painful place. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction is an old adage.

    To the racist Tatmadaw generals, you must realise the futility of the repeated racial riots in your playing of the race card.

    Kyant Phut and Swan Arrshin, stop your petty gangsterism, the days of such tactics are gone – we live in a more complex world.

    And Kyaw San, do not think you can do whatever you want or say whatever you want and get away with it. Look back at the verdict of the people. Where is the racism in these elections other than what you have been pushing?

    Those SPDC Generals remaining in power should by now understand the people indeed are the true and ultimate purveyors of power. If you do not acknowledge this and do not adjust your behaviour appropriately, the worst is yet to come for you. 1990 election spoke for itself. United the people stand and united the people will act.