Rela raids: futile exercises of power

UPDATE:

Sabahan member of parliament Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) said today_

 abdul ghapur sallehAsserting that crime and safety were issues that come under the responsibilities of the federal government, Abdul Ghapur called for a federal-level committee to tackle the issue of undocumented migrants. the issue of illegal immigrants, as they would want to be with the Philippines. What will happen to Sabah?! What will happen to Sabah?!”

Despite having raised these issues many times before, there seemed a lack of seriousness on the part of the administration in Putrajaya to solve the problems raised, he added.

“What goes into the (federal government’s) right ear comes out the left,” he said.

He also said “there are many double-standards in Barisan Nasional” Yes! read this below. For Myanmar citizens, even for the Muslims, we are unfairly discriminated.

There is also widespread discontent in Sabah over the steady influx of illegal immigrants from the Philippines and Indonesia who have somehow managed to obtain identity cards as well as voting rights.

Meanwhile, another component party United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) 

Party vice-president Dr Marcus Mojigoh warned that this could lead to the downfall of the Barisan government.

According to local newspaper Daily Express, Mojigoh said there were claims of “over a million newly-created Malays” from the Philippines and Indonesia in Sabah.

“Imagine (if) you have to address these illegals as ‘tuan’,” he lamented.
 
Mojigoh stressed the authorities must address the problem of illegal immigrants gaining citizenship and acquiring the Malay status through the back door.

 

Rela raids: futile exercises of power

Malaysiakini letter by Alice Nah

May is terrified. A Rela raid is happening around her. They are storming down corridors, shouting at residents to demand entry, threatening to cut the locks. She just got back from the border after months in a detention centre. When she was deported to the Thai border, she had to pay RM1,900 to traffickers to be released and sent back to Malaysia. Otherwise, she might have been sold to a brothel.

May fled from Burma after soldiers raped her. If she is arrested, the nightmare begins again. Only this time, she may not be able to raise the money required to buy her freedom. She is already in deep debt. Kyaw was arrested in 2007. He was kept in different detention centers for two months, and then brought to court. There was no interpreter. He was sentenced to five months imprisonment and two strokes of the cane.

He was extremely afraid of the whipping. He was stretched out on a rack with his buttocks exposed. The pain from the first stroke was so intense that he blacked out. He stayed in jail for another two months, and then got deported. He too, had to pay traffickers to come back to Malaysia. He couldn’t go back to Burma, where he is afraid of the junta military. He will carry these scars on his buttocks for the rest of his life – Malaysia has branded him for his time here.

The Rela raids happen all the time; as I write this, a raid is going on in Ampang, Lembah Jaya, with refugees trapped in their homes, afraid that Rela personnel patrolling outside will bang on their doors. They SMS their fear. In 2007, the (previous) Home Affairs Minister said that Rela conducted between 30 to 40 raids a night. Detention centers have become overcrowded, packed beyond what their facilities are able to provide.

Women, children, and babies, are detained as well. Ex-detainees say that the food is meager; that they get sick often. There are no special provisions for babies and children. The say it is unbearably hot, that it is dirty, and the toilets stink. They sometimes don’t have place to lie down at night, because of the overcrowding. Tensions are high; they are desperate, not knowing how long they will be forced to stay. They fight lice and mosquitoes. I have seen fungus growing on the skin of ex-detainees. They are sometimes beaten badly.

What is the point of arresting refugees and stateless persons? They can’t go back to their homeland, even though most of them desperately want to. Malaysia is obligated under international customary law not to deport them to Burma – doing so would be an act of ‘refoulement’, returning them to where their life and/or liberty are threatened.

Instead, we populate them in our detention centres and prisons (which are already hopelessly overcrowded) and then deport them to the Thai border, where they are handed over to traffickers.

This is futile exercise of power, a waste of taxpayers’ resources. Migrant Care, an Indonesian NGO states that each Rela raid costs us about RM25,000. Add to that the costs of maintaining prisons and detention centers for people who do not belong there, as well as the time and resources of the police and immigration, which are better spent catching real criminals rather than vulnerable people fleeing persecution.

What is the point of arresting refugees and stateless persons, deporting them, and feeding the trafficking industry? Malaysia, like other civilised countries, need to play our part in ensuring that vulnerable populations are protected rather than further traumatised and harassed. We have obligations to protect under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to which we are signatories.

Both the committees who oversee the implementation of these conventions in all member countries have strongly urged Malaysia to put into place refugee status determination procedures so that refugees are legally recognised and given protection. However, Malaysia has not been responding to these calls by the international community.

Granted, enacting domestic laws takes time. However, there are immediate actions that can be done to protect refugees and to stop the waste of government expenditure. Firstly, Rela and Immigration officials can recognise identity documents produced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which identify which individuals are asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons.

The Police recognise these documents, but Rela and immigration don’t. Secondly, they can give the UNHCR access to all asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons in detention centers and prisons, so that they can verify if their claims for asylum and protection are genuine.

Thirdly, the Malaysian Government can formally exempt asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless persons under Section 55 of the Immigration Act, which has been recommended by the

Committee on the Rights of the Child. These are simple steps, in line with international obligations, that have tremendous power to reduce suffering amongst the persecuted.

In a raid last Wednesday in Klang, two days ago, we hear than fifteen children were arrested. They are from the Rohingya community, ethnic minorities from Burma, who are stateless. By accident of birth, and by acts of political power outside their control, they are ‘illegal’ everywhere they go. What will happen to these children?

Will they too, stay detained in detention centers for months, and then get deported to the Thai border? Who will pay traffickers for their release? Will they be sold to brothels or to individuals who will keep them, use them – for sex or as forced laborers – and re-sell them to other ‘private owners’, as has happened to others in the past? It is within our power to help these populations in distress. We are able to, we are obligated to, and we should.

The writer is executive committee member, Persatuan Kebangsaan Hak Asasi Manusia (Hakam) and a co-coordinator of the Migration Working Group.

Compassionate letter number two, for my beloved Nan Sai

Compassionate letter number two,

for my beloved Nan Sai

Compassionate letter No 2

Dear Nan,

I am praying every day for you and your family. Although I am still anxiously waiting for your reply to my valentine letter, I am elated because many of your elder relatives sent letters to my friend Dr Tayza. This shows that they all care for the future of our marriage and most of them are sympathetic with our cause.

We all accepted that it is their right to ask for any thing they wish for their State’s future.

But we have to be pragmatic. Even if they wish or demand the Future Federal Union of Burma, to deliver them with the sun and moon as a dowry, if within our capacity or if possible, we are willing to fulfill their wish and even would try to add on some extra stars as gift for them! But as you know my dear; there must be give and take policy: a negotiated fair settlement for all the parties, which could be accepted by not only us but even by the present Military Government.

We are not just No Action Talk Only, NATO, but like the real NATO in action. Our action is our proof. Just look at this week’s Burma Digest; on the auspicious National day, the heading is “Hailing Shan Nationalist Spirit”. My friends devoted almost the whole publication with your brothers’ and uncles’ letters. This is the proof that all of us, my brothers, and of course I also included, love your Shan Pye.

This is the way to go dear, and they have walked the talk! Please control your anger before finishing this letter or even finishing this paragraph, because you all would misunderstand my following sentence. I am just trying to make all of you to see the whole perspective by looking from the opponent’s eye. (Actually we are even not enemies or opponents.) Sometimes although it may hurt us, we must be willing to listen to the alternative views and opinions to know the truth. We must avoid punishing the whistle blowers with anger, and then only we could know what went wrong with us. Very easy, if we are wrong, just apologize and try to improve our selves. Even if we think we are right, we could have a chance to explain others. If that is in a grey area, we could negotiate for the best outcome acceptable by both sides. If we just wish to be surrounded by yes men, one day we could face the fate of “The King with the new clothes”

So my dear, don’t angry with my following comment or question; Can you just expect your uncles’ Shan newspaper would publish Bama or other any ethnic minority’s cause, letters from one group only devoting almost the whole publication? I don’t think so. I already told you dear, please don’t show your anger.

Once we start detaching from our narrow self interest and started to think or see from the side of others, we could get enlightenment and could understand each other.

Yes, even Burma Digest Patron is Prof. Kanbawza Win, one of your ethnic uncles.

On the Union Day of Burma/Myanmar, most important subject for all of us is that you had asked for a divorce! And we hereby also like to request or apologize our other ethnic brothers not to misunderstand that we are favouring Shans only.

This is the example test case, we all have to discuss the pros and cons of divorce or separation or liberation or independence.

We are indirectly handling or discussing this issue because the future of our country’s fate: whether to be separated into many small states or stay united with better terms and conditions depended on this test case. Some of us, including me, are even suggesting to MERGER, using the EU template, with our neighbours, of course without loosing our country’s sovereignty, dignity, identity and denting our citizens’ interests and rights.

My dear darling Nam: may you kindly allow me to share with you a very precious lesson that my father had given to me. Later only I knew that the original idea was not his own, but adapted from a famous fable. You know, we were staying in Lashio, your Northern Shan State, at that time. My father brought back some apples from the Rangoon trip. During Ne Win’s time, even apples are a rare luxury for us. He purposely chose two different sizes of apples and told me, “My son you are older than your brother and big and wise enough to take some responsibility. Choose one of the apples you like and give to your brother.” I was young and greedy at that time, took the bigger one and give the smaller apple to my brother. Then only my father taught a lesson I never forget.

“If you are given a chance as a leader or an elder, you have to look after the interest of others under your care and command.

You have to give them what you your self would want! You have to take what they had left.”

I was angry because I have to take a smaller apple, but I dare not disobey my father. But the clever witty younger brother of mine shamed me, by saying, “Father, why don’t you give me the chance to choose?” Our father was surprised and just nodded the head and look curiously at my younger brother, what he was going to do. He took hold of the bigger apple, kissed the apple and passed over to me. He told the unbelievably wise words which always stayed in my heart forever, “I want this big one, so I have to give to my Ah Ko, elder brother.” He even continued, “Anyway my mouth is small and my stomach is full for this big apple, as I had just taken some biscuits.”

So actually my younger brother had taught me a big lesson for my life. From that time onwards, if I am in a position to decide, I always consider what the second party would like and the third party, witness or other unrelated person would think about my decision. I know I must be fair and square and must be seen by all as not selfish, greedy, and not bias towards myself. Then only, I am sure, I would be free from the accusations of unfair practices of selfishness, greediness, cronyism, nepotism and favouritism.

The other lesson was given by my uncle, adopted father, U Nu. He forced me to read the book he translated from Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people.” I got a lot of lessons which were useful for my whole life.

If you want the fish, you have to consider what the fish like or want, not what you like. You cannot catch (attract or lure) the fish with the bread and butter you like but have to use the worms that the fish like.

And the story of the coal salesman’s

many years of rejection by the steel boss ended once he found out and used a soft spot of that man. At the latest appointment, although he wanted to sell coal, he never mentioned about that but discussed about the stamp collections, the hobby of the rich man’s beloved daughter. At last he got the order to give his coal samples and won a faithful regular customer and became rich.

Dear Nam, please allow me to repeat the warnings of the author and the translator, my uncle/adopted father, that they were not asking to pretend, but to be really interested in what the other party wanted and to fulfil whole heartedly free from selfish ulterior motives. It must be sincere and genuine interest but not just pretend to be interested just to reap the rewards, or curry the favours.

(Although I am quoting from U Nu’s book, the original idea came from Dale Carnegie. I hope Dale Carnage Institute would kindly forgive us for using this. This webpage is the non-profit web site for the reshaping of our downtrodden country, Burma. I am also writing without any monetary gain.)

Now I want to quote the political analyst, Raja Petra Kamarudin from his

“Keep your enemies close” article, “In politics there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies. So keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer. This would mean ‘today friends, tomorrow enemies; today enemies, tomorrow friends. And that best describes politics. Politics is the art of the impossible (anything is possible in politics).”

For most of the oppositions, SPDC Generals are our enemy. And the SPDC Junta also regarded all the oppositions as sworn enemies. If we could successfully transform our enemy, Myanmar Military, to be your close-friend, or even just a friend close to us, we could win over their heart! They would be most dangerous if they are away from us, stayed as enemies and always trying a plot to harm us.

If we could successfully persuade them to become our friends, nothing is impossible for our country.

The best thing for NLD, Ethnic Minorities and all the opposition is to always try to remain as best friends, close to each other and try to transform our ‘enemies’, SPDC Junta and Myanmar Army to become our even closer friend.

Dear Nam, we must make sure that we are sincere and trustworthy friends.

Even if we departed our ways after a stipulated times for example 10 years, we must act like gentlemen. Could not stab each other from the back. We must never act like the original Bo Aung Din from the famous movie, who made friends with the authorities and continue to commit crimes secretly. But I trusted that our friend Bo Aung Din, who is typing my letter now, which I am dictating to him, would not commit a treason on all of us.

Dear Nam, I know you wish to raise a question; “whether NLD and all the oppositions should sleep with the ‘enemy’ in order to secure the right to form the Government.”

I still remember your argument, rejecting my above suggestion on previous occasions, “NLD will be sounding its death knell if it throws away its principles and forms a coalition with Military influenced parties, a party whose fundamental aim is diametrically opposed to that of the NLD. One aims to write the Federalism based on Democratic constitution where Burma declared a secular democratic Federal state, and the other wants to do away with the Panglong Treaty based old constitution and set up a Military dominated dictator ruled autocratic state, where the Military leaders’ interest is supreme forever.”

But SPDC Junta had something all us wanted; positions of power and authority to govern, whole mighty government authority, manpower, experience to govern the country, control, protect and the capability to change the country’s policy. They could offer all those to us only if they are sure that we could be trusted for; safety of their life, of their property, continued power and influence. We must convince that we are not interested in taking revenge but could be a trusted partner for a long time. We must convinced them that we would never stab their back or commit a treason.

Now they are even avoiding a dialogue with us. So instead of just asking for a dialogue, if we could convinced them with our solid plan with the benefits for them, guaranties for them, plans for our country and the well planned roles for all of us including the Myanmar Military, the pace for the reform and collation would be much faster.

And we in turn had something that they wanted

; support of the whole population and the world’s support, from ASEAN, EU, USA, Japan, Korea up to UN etc. whose political, financial and all the supports the Myanmar Military needed.

So if we can start by becoming temporary friends for, lets say 10 years, we could build a real trust and firm confidence on each other.

Don’t worry my dear Nam, if we sacrifice and compromised at first for about 10 years, although you think we are compromising too much, it may be better than the prolonged status quo. A lot of our people, your uncles, NLD people including our Daw Su are not only suffering now but their talents are wasted. The whole country’s development and progress in all aspects are also frozen like our country’s time machine is jammed.

When we were young “Shwe Ba” was a favourite actor, hero of the rural people. According to the story, hero must suffer first but usually like all the popular stories, the villain must be defeated by the hero. But some naive villagers could not tolerate the scene of their hero tortured and start to throw things at the ‘silver screen’. So the producers of Shwe Ba movies have to show the slide that “Shwe Ba will suffer a little bit at first but at last he will win”.

So “Swe Ba will suffer a little bit at first”,

is the catch word used by many people in Burma. I do not mean that we only are heroes they are villain and we will win over them later! What I mean is we are all in the position of “Shwe Ba” or heroes. We mean NLD, all the Ethnic Minorities, all the oppositions and the present Military government. Yes, if we could start to stop calling or thinking the present government as villain, we are on the right path of reconciliation. We all are heroes in our own way, we all love our country, and we all have to work together as the faithful partners for the development and progress of our country for a limited period e.g. 10 years of interim period.

Of course, after that, we would not became enemies again but may be in the opposite side of politics, when there was no longer anything we needed from each other. But there is a possibility that our 10 year contract marriage would work as many of the arranged marriages.

After that 10 years of Interim Coalition Government, even if we are on the opposite side of the political divide, we have to fight democratically in the fair and square elections, with the Democratic Laws, rules, regulations and most important of all, the Federal Constitution, which we will draw together after a real negotiations and compromised to get a fair and equal treatment for all.

NLD, Ethnic Minorities and all the oppositions inside and abroad must be willing to negotiate and assure the safety and the future of the Myanmar Military, the key mover & shaper of the political landscape in Myanmar/Burma!

Politics should be about principles. It is only when a party has steadfast principles, that it can be in a position to work for the benefit of its country in the long term. But we must accept the reality. We could not just keep on demanding what we want. We have to see from the other’s view.

We must accept that we have to get the negotiated settlement or agreement after comporomise from both sides. This is the only kind of politics possible, also sometimes called pragmatic or real-politics.

Would this be the ends justifying the means? Dear Nan, instead of fighting among our selves and neighbours to get a bigger piece of the cake, we are proposing to try to bake a bigger cake together, so that we all could enjoy with a bigger shares! If we just continue to fight, not only two sides would suffer but our beloved country and its people would continue to suffer.

If any one have the strong feelings about my above advice just look at the present condition;

Myanmar/Burma is in dire straits. The problems are multifarious, many of them deliberately created by SPDC to further entrench its oligarchy. SPDC practices Machiavellian politics to the hilt, turning it into an art-form. But this status quo cannot go on forever, as the consequences of immoral, corrupt and abusive governance will begin to unravel, as we are witnessing on a daily basis. Now NLD and all the oppositions are willing to compromise and ready to negotiate. But the present Military government is dragging its feet for change and avoiding any discussion or dialogue.

So now please refer back the article, “Burma Must Have A Good Plan” by Min Khin Kyaw.

Yes, we need a sound and fail-safe political game plan to tell the present government.

In order to get all the necessary facts, ideas, data and strategy:

We must have a Centre for Strategic Studies, a THINK TANK, for Burmese Democracy.

We have to brain storm to get all the facts; what to do and what to avoid.

What we could offer for them for how long.

What we want e.g. Democracy, Federal system with up to which power for each state.

We should concentrate what we all could offer for the:

(a) present Military Government,

(b) for the Ethnic Minorities and

(c) the future Union of Burma/Myanmar.

(Note: we mean NLD, all oppositions, Ethnic Minorities, rebels etc.) We should make sure, up to how much we could offer for others, especially the present Military leaders and all the Military, but not up to how much we want for ourselves. But at least we must have the details of what we want immediately, e.g. release of all political prisoners including our Ah Ma Gyi Ma Ma Su.)

In reality, we all could not meet together for a conference.

So those in the developed countries and safe from repercussions from the host governments and Myanmar Military should start with what they could. Others could contribute with all other means.

Dear my darling Nam, my letter looks more like political articles, rather than a love letters. I think it is nothing wrong if you remember the late Indian First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s letters for her daughter, Indra Gandhi. (She also followed her father’s foot steps and later became the PM of India.) The epic saga of humankind right from 6000 BC to 1935 has been written as a series of letters and later those letters have been compiled into a book called the Glimpses of World History.

All these letters were written by Nehru during the periods he spent at various jails. So all the reference he had were his own notes he made while reading the great books in the jails.

The book contains about 196 letters written from 1930 to1933. All these letters, though not a first hand reference on history, contain Nehru’s personal remarks on all the “great” moments of history. (http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/reference/glimpses_of_world_history )

Dear Nam please does not think that I am megalomanias or is suffering from senile dementia because I dare to compare my love letters with that of the great man’s classic literature in history. I am not equating my self with him or his letters but just searching some excuses to justify my action of discussing geo-politics in my love letter to my wife. I know although you love me, you use to hate that kind of excuses from me.

Do you still remember that you used to tease me like that when you were angry because you could not defeat me during our arguments? Like Kam Leik/Hti Sai’s song, please don’t forget that you had sought my assistance numerous times for your Ph.D. thesis. Sorry for my teasing you back with the remarks, “the cat now got the wings”. You could not forgive nor forget that teasing because you wrongly thought that I was jealous of your success. Now you flew away from me like a winged bird. Although I wish you to come back to me, I never even imagined putting you in a cage. Instead, I wished to have a pair of wings and free from the cage to be together with you flying around the world. (By the way, be careful and avoid the bird flue areas. Don’t be angry my dear, I cannot stop teasing you, you have to try to accept my habit of over-dosed sense of humour.)

So you see during the period of EMPIRE, political prisoners were treated very well in India and Burma. They had accesses to all the media and the library. They could write letters and books.

Ludu U Hla

, husband of Ludu Daw Ah Mar, wrote “The Caged Ones,” while he was under detention as a Political Prisoner in the 1950s. Ludu U Hla – penned these sensitive portraits of his fellows behind bars. His sympathetic probe of ‘criminals’ underlying social conditions described so masterfully in this book. This collection of stories won Ludu U Hla the UNESCO prize for literature in 1958.

(http://www.dcothai.com/product_info.php?cPath=33&products_id=380)

Note: above is the name of English translated version. The original is in Burmese and the title “The caged birds.” Just coincidence only, but do you remember my first letter about the “Fighting Peacock” in the golden cage was blamed by the dried fallen leaf, Hti Saing’s song.

Dear darling just compare the above two persons and my uncle, U Win Tin, who is a prominent journalist and writer, behind bars since 1989. He is also a member of the CEC of the NLD. All the political prisoners in Myanmar nowadays are not allowed to write, no access to any media and treated very badly. During the days before and just after independence political prisoners were put in “B” class, separated from criminals and some even said it was a luxury. Now they are treated very badly, worse than criminals’ status. And the criminals were encouraged or instigated by the prison authorities to bully or torture the Political Prisoners.

So we wish to appeal to the SPDC Generals that even if they have not yet decided to release the political prisoners immediately; please kindly consider to put the elderly and ill prisoners under house arrest only with strict restriction, and to protect and treat the remaining political prisoners more humanely, if possible in the special “B” class as before.

Please show some mercy and good will to all of the political prisoners. All of us and the whole world will appreciate and thank all of you for that kind humane act of benevolence. This is the time to build mutual trust, understanding and confidence.

Dear my darling Nam, see, I never forget our uncle Khun, but care about all the political prisoners. Please try to understand and accept all the problems of our country with more patience. After all Lord Buddha taught us that ANGER and REVENGE would burn our heart first. Although we all are not ready or mature enough to turn another cheek to the SPDC Generals, as Jesus preached, we should forgive all the wrongs done on us and concentrate on the plan for the future of all of us.

Dear Nam, in every deal, discussions, discourse, deliberations, negotiations, dialogue, talks, bargaining in either business, political or personal; every person or party would like to get the best deal or best score for them. This is nature only. But for our country’s future, all of us already knew what each and every side want. And the present Military leaders also already knew what the people, opposition, Ethnic Minorities want.

If each and every party just insists on pushing others to compromise for them to get the best deal, there is no ending and the process would be prolonged.

And I am sure, the present Military Government, who is in power, would naturally try to drag on the process and if possible even will try to avoid any dialogue or discussion as they are doing at the present.

Dear Nan, do you remember the Economist John Nash’s ‘Game Theory’ you used in your PhD Thesis? If we all just push for the best deal for our own group’s ‘selfish’ interests and try to cut the throat of others, we must understand that all the players are not stupid, but clever, and would definitely have the same best strategy, for selfish gain, no matter what the other chooses.

This is the ‘dominant strategy’. When all the players have this same dominant strategy, all of us would be in the ‘Nash Equilibrium’. The result for all of us is check mate. If we stay longer in status quo we all would suffer. All the oppositions, SPDC Generals, our country and all the people will suffer the great loss.

Common sense dictates that the best strategy for all of the opposition and the SPDC Generals is for all of us to cooperate and form a coalition government. This is the ‘cooperative solution’ in ‘game theory’ as it maximizes all the players’ joint welfare. And if all of us are sincere and try to save others’ neck, we all are safe and sound.

All of us must be pragmatic and accept the above truth and ‘Think out of the box’ dear Nam. All of us, NLD, the Ethnic Minorities, oppositions and all the interested parties must accept that we have to get the negotiated settlement or agreement after compromise from our sides first and offer the present Military Generals with the deal they could accept or difficult to ignore when the whole world, UN, USA, EU, ASEAN and all our big neighbours are watching closely.

I think, this is the only kind of politics possible at present, also sometimes called pragmatic or real-politics for us.

Once we start detaching from our narrow self interest and started to think or see from the side of others, our opponents, enemies e.t.c., we could get the trust for each other, work together and easier to get an agreement or at least we could PERSUADE THE military to the negotiating table to start a dialogue.

With Eternal love

Ko Tin Nwe.

BO AUNG DIN

Compassionate letter No 1: A Valentine Music DVD with Love for Dear Nan

A Valentine Music DVD with Love for Dear Nan Sai

 

Compassionate letter No 1

 

 

As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest

I know you were angry with my step mother, Daw Than Shwe for bribing the local authorities to put your uncles including U Khun Tun Oo behind bars. When you decided to go and stay with your father, I was not worried much. I believed that you already knew how much I love your uncle Khun, may be even more than you. Although he was your uncle he always treated me like his own younger brother and as you know, he was the one who introduced me to you. I tried my best but could not get him released immediately yet.

Sorry dear, I even stupidly teased you at that time to defuse your tension, with the song, “If you want to stay, stay put but if you wish to leave (me) and if you have no more desire to stay, go. I would not stop you. All human has pride. I could not provide every thing you like.”

But when I got a letter from my friend, Maung Chan regarding the meeting of my closed friend, Ko Tayza’s discussions with your father, Hso Kham Hpa, I was shocked that you really meant what you say. You want a divorce from me! I know that as the son of your grand father, who was the chief of your tribe but  became the head of our village, your father is always serious, straight forward and was upset with my family.

Before that, although we have some differences, you sometimes left me alone went to stay with your father; I always believe that our old (love) flames would never die. On previous occasions, although all the others pity us thinking that we were separated, we were never far apart. When I closed my eyes, if we just think about each other, we were never far apart, always in each of our hearts. We felt that we were physically far apart but psychologically present every where near each other.

I recently got a DVD collection of your favorite songs composed by Sai Kham Leik and Sai Hti Saing’s voice. I hereby sent this latest version of their songs, as a Valentine gift to you. I listen to these songs with the very heavy he art. The song I like best is asking his girl friend to think back before saying good bye and reminding her to think about the good times together before. If she has to cry once, requesting her, just to remember the more number of times (he made her) smiles…..

In good times we were flying in the wind, happily together. Now the wind stopped and you think yourself as a dried leaf without wings, lying helplessly on the ground. You blamed me that although I have wings, I am not with you anymore, failed to fly to you and ignored you.

Do you know that although I am a “Fighting Peacock” I am now confined in my cage by my step mother? You should know that according to nature (flying) birds are not happy even if kept in the golden cage! It is natural that birds love flying and flowers blossom. But my step mother is also trying to stop our love bud of democracy from blossoming.   She is trying to stop the process of nature. The power of nature is tremendous and no one could stop, or even if the whole world tried, they will definitely fail. THE BIRDS INCLUDING THE FIGHTING PEACOCK WOULD FLY AGAIN AND DEMOCRACY WOULD BLOSOOM IN OUR HOMELAND!

All the wrongs are not because of my fault alone my dear. Even if the roof is leaking I should not be blamed for the Rain. The darkness prevails in our country; there is no electricity and the moon is waning but the waning moon is the nature dear, not my fault! But from now onwards I try my best to repair the roof, try to buy a generator or repair our Kerosene lamp in time.

You must understand that all our problems are because of the in-laws only. You must accept that your mother-in-l aw i.e. my step mother, Daw Than Shwe is the root cause of all our problems. We are lucky; her sister Daw Khin Nyunt could not disturb us any more. She was beautiful, always smiles, sweet talk with any one but stab the back of the every one with her dirty tactics. As you know, as my rich, generous, kindhearted father U Aung San, who was loved by all of the people, passed away before I was born.

I was adopted by my uncle U Nu and all our estate were controlled by him. Although he looked after our family well, he was so soft, ineffective, and just wastes all the time praying, so his wife Daw Ne Win effectively take over our house and estate. Once she passed away we thought we all would be free but her cousin Daw Than Shwe trap my adopted father into marriage and is occupying all our estate my father U Aung San left behind.

What can I do immediately; I cannot fight back or pulled her out of our house because of respect for my late adopted father and her strong relatives of village goons and thugs. But we engage a lawyer and I hope the case is going to the UN Court soon. By the way our previous lawyer, Ko Yazali, who we never trusted, is still helping us now. Actually he also has our Burmese blood, quite diplomatic and is upset with Daw Than Shwe.  Our neighbours U Asean’s family is also now with us, persuading and pressuring softly Daw Than Shwe, to settle out of court and give back our rightful belongings. Actually our village’s influential strong men, U Sa, U Kay and U Eu are the real power giving pressure for us. We have to thank them. They are also requesting Ko Fi Annan from UN to help us. We hope and pray that the younger brother of Daw Than Shwe, U Maung Aye would persuade his sister and her rowdy relatives to abide by the law.

Do you remember my eldest sister Daw Su, who was married to a British academician? During one of the trips back home she saw all of us sufferings she stayed with us for a long time to help us. Because she took a strong stand supporting for you and me, Daw Than Shwe bribed the authorities and put her in a lock up with the trumpeted charges.

But she is well experience, full of wisdom, religious and fair minded. She promised that she would never revenge Daw Than Shwe and others and even proposed to work together as partners. She is right! The estate our father left is the biggest, largest, full of recourses in this region. There is place for all of us.

Only thing we need is to be fair to each other and every one of us must have a say in all the important decisions. My brothers and sisters living together in one roof and all of those staying outstation are all trying to help back all of our villagers including  you and me and our children.

Now you are asking for a divorce! Hti Sai’s same song came in to my heavy heart, “(I would not force you) if you want to stay, stay according to your decision, or  if you decided to leave for good, no more desire to stay with me any more, just go, I would not stop you by force. No need to ask permission from me. If you think any one could take care of you better that me, if any one loves you more that me, or any one could make you happier, go ahead. No need to seek permission from me.

But I am surprised and sad that even before we are legally separated, you are planning to marry again. I hope it is just the rumours or may be you want to make me jealous so that I would kneel in front of you.

If you stay alone, I hope you still remember the Wai Sansara Jattaka which we enjoy reading together. Madi Devi’s words to persuade to allow her to follow her husband King Wai Sansara are very real and pragmatic. No one will respect the divorced lady, single mother. Many men would try their luck just to have a short term pleasure.

If you are going to marry your distant cousin U Thak Sin @ U Thai or U Laos, I am worried about our daughter, who wishes to follow you. There is a saying that the devil you know is better than angle you don’t know. I am afraid of the possible exploitation of our daughter by the step fathers.

And U Laos house is a land locked place, no way to the water way, and he is poor and less developed and a Communist. Actually you are trying to take the time machine, to go back to 70’s of Daw Ne Win’s time. I hope you have already tasted enough bitterness of Socialism/Communism.

U Thak Sin is Yunan Chinese. (Please forgive me for this racial remark. Sorry, I am blinded with love.) Do you know that he is not fair to even with his own son because he married Ma Lay? Now they are living in the servant quarters in southern part of his compound. And do you know how he treated his own Ethnic Minority brothers? I had read that many of their daughters ended up in the brothels of the town. And his family is richest in the whole of his village. Villagers are now accusing that he misused his position to acquire wealth. And he is famous for the cruel rulings. He even has shoot to kill squads who killed few thousand of people in the north and south of his village.

If you marry U Ta Yoke, you will just become a minor mistress. He had to support many children from his numerous wives. Do you forget how this man chased out U Dalai Lama and took his wife Daw Tibet? And he recently got his favorite beautiful, rich, young wife Eurasian Ma Hong Kong. And he is threatening Ma Tai Wan to marry with him. Ma Ma Cao (Macao) is also one of his prized wives. So where is your place dear? I think he would just keep you as a concubine.

And if you really had decided to divorce me, think twice before you marry with any one again. If you have problems later it is very difficult for you to divorce and marry again. I hope you know the meaning of two types of socially outcast persons:

(1)   The young monk who changes three monasteries and

(2)   The lady who changed three husbands.

And you said you are also considering staying at the condominium together with the group of young men (1) forming a United Family of Southeast Asia – UFSA with the Arakan, Chin, Kachin, Karenni, Mon & Karen OR (2) Form an EU like grouping with the above partners, SEAU. OR OR OR….

Please stop hurting me my dear, Nan Sai Kham. If you can stay and work together with my other (ethnic) brothers, why want to exclude me out? If I am not around but you just go and stay with my brothers, the gossips will start to spread.

Even if you do not wish to continue staying as husband and wife, we all can still work together; stay together with all of us, including all of my brothers, for the good of our children. I hope dear Nan is just inciting me to do something quick to solve all our problems.

And I wish to inform you that at our latest ASEAN village meeting, we decided to draw a Charter for all of us to cooperate more, to start joint ventures and start cooperation. We could all work to mechanize our farms, orchards, animal husbandry, fish ponds, even to built factories, cooperation in trade etc. Actually we even agreed to look after our socio-political needs.

We even wish to copy the EU village group’s rules and regulations. No need to worry about local family heads, ten-house ward leaders, village chiefs. There will be Law and Order. Rule of Law but not Rule by Law. All must respect basic Human Rights. Even parents have to acknowledge the rights of their children. Our village would impose the Laws to prevent Domestic Violence. Even the husband could not do any violence on the wife or children. (Of course the effect of law must be vice versa, to be fair to all.)

Dear Nan Sai just look around at our neighbours. Naturally the problems are not only confined to us; almost all of the family members of our whole village are suffering from family domestic problems. We all have to work together to over come all those problems.

You know, U Mar Lay kicked out his wife Ma Singer Pu many years ago. We all thought that young, rich and beautiful Ma Singer Pu wished to separate. Actually her father Mr. Lee was so wise, intelligent, clever and efficient; U Mar Lay was afraid of Mr. Lee taking over the control of his house and decided to divorce. I heard Mr. Lee was in tears at that time. Now they are neighbours as conjoint twins. Always quarrelling but they know that they have to work synchronously together to prosper. You see, now U Mar Lay wanted to build a new bridge so that the trading boats could row under it. It would increase his trade.  Ma Singer Pu is demanding some sand for the land fill. Because of the wind condition, her children’s kites sometimes fly over the former husband’s compound. Because the children are noisy, U Mar Lay prohibited that. Now Ma Singer Pu is asking to let the children have some fun. (My favorite words spoken by Khin Than Nu to Ne Aung from Thin Gyan Moe movie, facing the similar situation.) Other children of U Mar Lay are also dissatisfied with their father’s favoritism practices. You see, how funny it is; after divorce these minor things were magnified by both sides and became big problems for them.

Love is blind but hate has a microscope to magnify all the minor problems.

You know, when Daw Indon’s son, Ko Ti Moe (Timao) wish to separate from his step-mother, Ko Au (Ausie) used force to help built a border fence. Now Ko Au is exploiting his weak neighbour. He even dug well in Ko Ti Moe’s compound without his consent. You see once you are divided and became weak, others could easily exploit or bully you.

You already knew about Ko Thai and Ma Lays’ marriage problem. Now Ma Lay wishes to divorce from Ko Thai and marry the neighbour, her distant cousin. Ko Thai refused to divorce and start to accuse his neighbour of all the things.

Ma Nilar’s family is also facing some problem with her husband Ko Mar Lay. Ko Mar Lay asked for a divorce and wish to stay with Daw In Don or Ma Mar Mar Lay.

So we are not alone. All the families in the whole village group have problems. You already know about problems of Daw Tibet.

And Ko Kalar’s children, Ma Ni Pur, Ko Nagar, Ko Ah Than are also not happy with their families. Actually they are half brothers of our Kachin, Chin, Naga e.t.c.

Amagyi Daw Su and all of us even agree to share a nd cooperate with all the above parties. Not only with your Ethnic Minorities of all the races and religions, Myanmar Military, ASEAN and may even include all the above mentioned children of our neighbours.

U Ta Yoke would not object if his eldest son Ko Yunan could join us together with Daw Ti Bet to form a loose union like EU. We all will be free to work, trade and live peacefully with human dignity. All our rights would be in the laws, rules and regulations. And all of us will be treated fairly, lawfully and equally under the same law.

The last thing I wish to remind you is don’t forget that although you are a Shan, you were born in Mandalay and I, a Burma was born in Taunggyi.

So could we cut our umbilical cords with our birth places? I am sure I love Taunggyi and I strongly believe you would not be able to forget Mandalay.

How about our five children? They were born in different states of Burma while we were in the Government Service. Now they all are in different states, three of them are with Government Services and the other two with their own business.

As they are married to different ethnic groups and are already settled in their spouse’s states, if Union of Burma divided into many small states, what will be their positions?

Mixed blooded, Shan and Bama, born in other state and staying in another state, will they need passports, visas, work permits? I dare not continue to think about their children, i.e. our grandchildren, I wish I get amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease. If not,I would get a heart attack.

Do you know that the last President of Singapore was born in Malaysia? Israel PM Sharon was born in Iraq? Present Indian PM was born in Pakistan? Do you know that ex-President of India, who passed away recently had a Burmese born Indian wife, who was graduated in Rangoon? Do you know Arafat was not allowed to bury in Jerusalem, which was his last wish? Do you that the ex-Malaysian Agricultural Minister’s wife was a Burmese descendent, last time blacklisted from entering Myanmar because she acted in a Hollywood movie about 8888 uprising, Beyond Rangoon? But after marrying the rich Agri Minister the Myanmar Junta welcome her with the Red Carpet.

Do you know that when the following countries were divided, the closed relatives were separated for dozens of years? To name few of them: Korea, Taiwan, Germany, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir. Do you know that when Soviet Russia breaks apart into many states they still needs to form a coa lition with Russia? Russia is still a big brother. (Dear Nam Sai, I am not giving excuse for some of the Bama leaders, who are acting like a big brother on all of you, Ethnic Minorities.) When some of them tried to stay away from that old big brother, and associated with EU, there are some problems created. See just the Ukraine gas price problem.  

Now you see after break up of Indian Sub Continent in to many countries; India fight with Pakistan for three times. When East Pakistan tried to break away, there was a bloody war with Pakistan and India helped to form a new country, Bangladesh. Now India and Bangladesh are not in good terms. When Myanmar/Burma wants to build roads and gas pipe line to India, Bangladesh is demanding a lot. You see India had also refused to give a land bridge between, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Pakistan is indirectly or secretly helping the Indian part of Kashmir for the liberation but it wants that part to be theirs. If they really wish to help all the people of Kashmir, they should offer their part independence so that divided Kashmir could stand strong. Now the people are divided and fighting, no hope of peace at all.

And you have to notice the difference of the leaders; General Than Shwe is not President Mikhail Gorbachev. Myanmar Military will use its might to prevent the breakup of Myanmar. Most of the citizens and even many opposition groups would not agree that breakup. If I am not wrong, even a leader of Shan rebel opposed openly about your divorce plan.

Dear my love, this is not the time to go backwards but FORWARDS. Not the time for BREAKUPS but to cooperate and for mergers. Many big companies and some countries are doing this. This is the time of GLOBLIZATION. The world is shrinking into a GLOBAL VILLAGE.

If you are interested I will later write to you about ASEAN CHARTER. We could model our ASEAN +++  with the EU/USA or other groups. We could even push for the fast track and overtake them.

You should listen to the advice of The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan:  

Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda… Our mission therefore is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will and must be defeated.  

He continued that “There is no country in the world exempt of discrimination. …. there is still a long road to cross”.  

For decades, thousands of people have been victims of discrimination, preferences and exclusions in view of their race, skin color, sex, religion, language, national or ethnic origin and form of expression, causing extreme suffering and even loss of life.  

Racial discrimination is the ability or power to make distinctions among people based on race, color, decent, national or ethnic origin rather than individual merit.

I agree with your father’s wise words, “We MUST establish real Federal Union in which all nationalities enjoy equal rights, human rights, peace and democracy.  We MUST unite and strive hard to catch up ASEAN’s level and speed. It is more necessary to work hard, after we have got democracy, for a more progressive and prosperous future in our country.

So if we all form a loose Federation/Union, not separated from our parents, work together with Laws that respect Democracy, Human Rights all our problems could be wiped out with one stroke of Common Law/ Rules/Regulation.

Who ever is the head of family, village elder or PM or President or King is not important. All are equal and could decide where to live and work. Any way, remind your father that your grand father was even appointed the village head during my adopted father’s time. And one of his Ethnic Minority brothers, U Man Win Maung was also our head once.

You see, dear Nan, when there is democracy and LAW is more powerful than all the politicians, of course in Myanmar scenario, including Military, Police, Judges and Prison Authorities, all the citizens are equal, safe, content and happy. You can notice that in U Sa, U Kay and U Eu’s village tracts all the villagers are protected equally with the established laws. Politicians are actually behaving like the servants of the people. Peoples are masters and politicians need the favour of the people to be elected to serve the peop le and country. You may not believe this because you were always in Myanmar, where ordinary citizens are the untouchables, at the lowest strata of class.

Dear Nan, you see when Ko Ger and Ma Ni’s village was last time divided and many people were killed by the border security thugs just for crossing the fence without permission. Now the big brother Ko Ger who is very rich, successfully persuaded poor Ma Ni to take down the fence and to merge the two villages and changed their name to Germany. They are much advanced than our politics dear, now with real democracy, the POOR MANI is the head of the village Germany.

If you wish to marry with Ko Ta Yoke, ask him first whether your children could be one day like that? I don’t think so. Even his favourite wife, Ma Hong Kong’s children are far away from that position. If U Ta Yoke really love Ma Tai Wan, he should give his villagers more democracy and offer one of the Ma Tai Wan’s villagers to be head of his village. No need to make a lot of show of force or twisting of hands is needed to continuously threaten Ma Tai Wan. I am not gossiping others, just want to present my dear that all that glitters are not gold and persuading you, not to marry U Ta Yoke.

If there is a real democracy there are chances and opportunities for each and every minor ethnic minority races and religions. Just look at the Ko Kala’s village: Ko Mus Lim is the chairman of the village council. Ko Pan Char is the village head. And you see, Ma Italy is o ne of the most influential person in that country. She was from other village, but she married into Ko Kala’s father and became a new “Ywar Thu” or citizen. Once she is accept as a villager, she got all the rights to be even the head of the village.

But she is clever enough to dodge the extreme nationalists by offering her closed friend a minority, Ko Pan Char to be the village head.

See, Daw Than Swe and her goons’ mentality is much lower than the Ko Kalar’s people! Our sister Daw Su was denounced many times because she had married the man from other village. This kind of discrimination is never accepted in true democracy.

One thing you should understand is “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Any one could be changed to a monster once he got the absolute power. So we must practice and defend for the democracy, transparency, good governance and the rule of law. If any one breaks the law, there should be no exemption, no immunity even for the heads and leaders. Then only each and every villager/citizen would be safe from the dangers of Dictators. And we must protect the minorities’ right from the tyranny of Majority. This is the essence of democracy.

Enough about others for now: let’s consider some effects or repercussions if you go ahead with the divorce plan.

How about my favorite “Shan Pae Poke” and Aung Ban Potatoes? We may need trade agreements; import/export permits/taxes etc.  Your favorite “Ayi Tawn La Phet” would face more problems. Have to import from Shan Country and export back the finished products; so even if you are lucky to have a chance to get your favorite food, you have to pay more for the same thing.

Dear Nan, please reconsider your decision to leave me. I hope you would still remember the first Valentine Day we met at ‘our’ beloved uncle Khun Tun Oo’s house. Valentine day is just around the corner. Like Hti Sai’s song, Now, I realized that I have to look back like “The lion looking back over its shoulders and understand that I have to tune back my songs.”

Now I know that our marriage deed or contract at Panglong town was a problem. Not that it was wrong; I failed to treat you as an equal partner and my step-mother’s misinterpretation and trying to rough out all of us, including minorities, in stead of persuasions and cooperation.

If I have a chance to start my life, I would still love you, I would still marry you. (Even if others say I was wrong to marry you) I would repeat that wrong decision and walk the wrong path hundreds of time again and again. After all we all know that Love is blind.

Now I don’t know how to continue with my life. I became crazy, half fool because of you. Anything I do I think about you, any thing I look I saw your face.

If any one is extreme or radical another partner will suffer. Because I am one sided you had suffered unfortunately. I know I have to change myself. In the future I will try to find out what you wish, what you want and will definitely try to fulfill all. I will be kind on you and will take care of you always.

We were now very near but felt far apart. .” Please don’t go, please don’t leave me my dear. From now on wards I would always consider what you want. Your wish would be my command.

Even if you decided not to come back to me, and Shan State says farewell to Burma, what can I do. I could blame the “Director of Nature” or fate, but now I understand that the main cause is misunderstandings, misinterpreting of others’ feelings and sufferings. Yes it is our fault, we Bamas including me must change.  

I hope my dear love; Nan Sai would allow me to inform my feelings about Shans and kindly request one favour from your father.

Please just accept and believe the truth that not only I, but all Bamas and Burmese/Myanmars love Shan and ShanState. He will be surprised if you inform him that even my Burmese Chinese and Burmese Muslim friends love Shan States and some of them had married Shans. And just because I am a Bama man, please do not make a sweeping accusation that Bama men love to marry the Shan girls only. Some of my above mentioned friends are ladies married to Shan men! And just look at Sai Kham Leik, he is a Shan man, married to a Burmese lady Nwe Nwe Tin. I strongly believe at the bottom of my heart that you or your father would not attempt to separate the hearts of those lovers.

Although I am requesting a favour from you, I strongly believe that Human Rights must be mutually practiced by both sides. Although I am a Bama, I was born in Taunggyi, Southern Shan State. And I had a Shan spouse and had several half Shan children. Even if you decided to turn your back upon me and Shan Country successfully became a reality, I have the RIGHT TO CLAIM A SHAN CITIZENSHIP.

Forgive me my dear; I may be a little bit uncouth and very emotional , because I am intoxicated by the real fact that you are going to leave me behind alone and I also missed my birth place, Shan Land.

Anyway, please my dear, kindly request your father a last favour for me. Even if he refused to accept me as a Shan Citizen, please grant me a Shan Green Card (Permanent Residency status) so that I could spend my last days of sunset in Taunggyi, my birth place. Let me die and buried in my beloved SHAN LAND.

And I hereby make a sworn statement that if you decided to come back and stay together, I would re arrange the decision making process in our home. As the figure head of the house, even if the others thought that I am the GENERAL and you are just the MAJOR of the house, I would not be like SPDC Generals but I will decide only the general things that are not important. I will let you decide on all the MAJOR events.

So please show this letter of passionate plea to your father and discuss with him about our future. I am sure, after reading this letter; he will understand how much I love you and your Shan Pyi.

The choice is yours, but please consider all the situations, pros and cons above and made the informed wise decision, not an emotional knee jerk response.

Please, please dear Nan, think or consider back the two songs we love most before you decide. “The nature’s children” about the place free of wars and the one the one you changed the name of Sai Kham Leik’s song, “A song for Ko Tin Ngwe.”

My letter is too long already. You and I and we hope the readers also knew the songs. So I wish to end my letter with one suggestion for the future leaders of the Federation of Burma, “please reward all the SHAN ARTISTS who contribute a lot to our country with some awards and titles. There is the tradition in Burma and in U Kay’s village a lots of artists were awarded with “Sir� � titles.

With eternal love,

Your loving husband,

(Ko Ti Ngwe) 

Bo Aung Din: I hereby sincerely wish to apologize, Hso Kham Hpa for using his name as Ko Tin Ngwe’s father-in-law. It is actually not totally wrong as Ko Ti Ngwe represents Burma/Myanmar and Nan Sai Kham represents Shan State and  as Hso Kham Hpa is the virtual head of Shan State. And I also want to apologize Dr Sai Kham Leik and Dr Ngwe Ngwe Tin also for using their names, of course as in reverse gender. I also could not ask permission to use his songs. And I had never attempted to translate his songs word by word, sentence by sentence. I just write down my feelings of the songs while I try to write this article.  And some of the songs were written by other composers. I hope all of you could understand and forgive me for all the above, because I am blinded with the love for our country and Shan State.

RELA, the organization, the refugees fear

 RELA, the organization, the refugees fear

The Star Online

 

Foreigners nabbed for violating work permit

[NATION  9-May-2008]

Ninety-eight foreigners working in two factories in Port Klang have been arrested for violating their work permits.

 

 

Pakistan embassy man held by Rela personnel

[NATION  10-May-2008]

A Pakistan embassy staff was allegedly detained by Rela personnel as they did not recognise his

Wisma Putra-issued identity card.

 

Odd-job worker punched to death

[NATION  4-May-2008]

A 39-year-old odd-job worker was pummelled to death after he got into a fight with an acquaintance. A

 

 

Tour guide cries foul over Rela raid

[NATION  8-Apr-2008]

A 42-year-old tour guide has lodged a police report after a group of Rela members allegedly tried to break into her apartment in KL while apparently tracking a suspected illegal immigrant.

 

Crying foul over raid on foreigners

[NORTH  6-Feb-2008]

SHOP owners at a shopping mall in Bukit Mertajam are seeing red over the decline in their business after a raid on foreign workers was conducted in the building.

 

Immigration summons bosses over Bangladeshi workers

[NATION  1-Feb-2008]

The employers of 686 Bangladeshi workers now camping along Sungai Gombak have been asked by the Immigration Department to explain the situation.

 

Handover of depots for illegal

[NATION  16-Jan-2008]

Immigration depots holding illegal immigrants will be better managed since its administration has been taken over by the Immigration Department.

 

Pekan Nenas detention centre to increase capacity

[NATION  15-Jan-2008]

The capacity at the Pekan Nenas detention centre for illegal immigrants would be increased to accommodate 2,000 detainees.

 

24 foreigners held at factory

[NATION  27-Dec-2007]

More than 20 Indonesians and Bangladeshis working at a furniture factory without work permits and proper travel documents have been detained.

 

Memo on curbing Rela’s powers

[PARLIAMENT  7-Dec-2007]

GIVING more power to Rela members will pave the way for more abuse, several non-government organisations claimed in a memorandum which they submitted to the Home Ministry.

Rela to take over immigration depots

[NATION  22-Nov-2007]

Rela members will be trained to take over the full-time running of the country’s 14 immigration depots by the end of the year.

 

19 foreigners held in raids

[NORTH  17-Nov-2007]

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Police detained 19 foreigners for various offences in raids on 15 premises here.

 

Illegals caught sneaking out

[NORTH  16-Nov-2007]

BUKIT MERTAJAM: A Rela team caught 27 illegal immigrants, including two pregnant women, trying to leave the country.

 

Home Ministry now in charge of detention centres

[NATION  7-Nov-2007]

The Home Affairs Ministry has been given control of all detention centres in the country to ensure smooth handling of illegal immigrants detained by Rela.

 

Rela chief instructs officer to lodge police report

[NATION  12-Oct-2007]

Rela director-general Datuk Zaidon Asmuni has instructed his officer to lodge a report in response to an Indonesian student’s claim that Rela officers damaged the door to his apartment during a raid.

 

Are Rela members really necessary?

[FOCUS  12-Oct-2007]

A letter from BAHAROM CHE ISA, Shah Alam, Selangor.

 

Rela backs its claim with visit to apartment

[NATION  11-Oct-2007]

The door of an apartment rented by Indonesian student Muhammad Yunus Lubis was not damaged in a raid conducted by Rela officers as claimed by the Indonesian embassy.

 

Syed Hamid: Ties with Indonesia still strong

[NATION  11-Oct-2007]

Malaysia has described the current controversies over the use of the Rasa Sayang folk song and the brief detention of an Indonesian diplomat’s wife during a Rela operation as “hiccups” in the bilateral ties with Indonesia.

 

We’ve lost that loving feeling

[FOCUS  11-Oct-2007]

The extent of Malaysia-bashing in the Indonesian media is mind-boggling, especially when we have always regarded Indonesians as close friends and neighbours.

 

Oops, Rela does it again

[FOCUS  11-Oct-2007]

From DR SHIREEN NAH, Kuala Lumpur

 

Najib: Wife of Indonesian envoy was not detained

[NATION  10-Oct-2007]

The Indonesian Embassy’s assertion that Rela officers had detained a wife of a diplomat during an operation was wrong, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Embassy blasts Rela officers

[NATION  9-Oct-2007]

Rela officers have come under fire from the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur following the harsh treatment of an Indonesian diplomat’s wife and a university student during the agency’s anti-illegal immigrant operations in Chow Kit and Kajang.

 

Rela officer on wanted list held

[NATION  22-Jul-2007]

He went to a police station with three men to resolve a personal dispute. But the tables turned on the Rela officer, when it was found that he had been on the police “wanted list” since 2002 for a criminal intimidation case in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

 

Rela members just a bunch of ‘little Napoleans’

[FOCUS  13-Jun-2007]

From SH, Kuala Lumpur

 

Wrong to give Rela power to detain illegals

[FOCUS  12-Jun-2007]

From AZRUL MOHD KHALIB of Kuala Lumpur

 

Ever Rela to help

[FOCUS  10-Jun-2007]

With powers to crack down on illegal foreign workers, Rela, the People’s Voluntary Corp, is enjoying a new lease of life. But it has found itself in the news for the wrong reasons with its members being accused of beating up illegal workers, stealing from them and detaining legitimate foreign tourists. Rela directo

 

Food court operator sues Rela

[NATION  29-May-2007]

A food court operator has filed a suit against Rela for alleged abuse of power and corruption.

 

 

 

Archives from Star Online about Myanmar Refugees

Archives from Star Online about Myanmar Refugees

The Star Online

Rohingyas: Help our countrymen

[NATION  10-May-2008]
They may be hard-pressed for money, but Myanmar refugees want to come forward to help their compatriots back home after the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis.

39,000 asylum seekers registered in Malaysia

[NATION  7-May-2008]
A total of 39,000 refugees and asylum seekers from 33 countries registered themselves in Malaysia in the first three months of the year, reported Sin Chew Daily.

Only one Malaysian for Harvard

[EDUCATION  20-Apr-2008]
Despite failing to secure scholarships from local organisations for six months, Kajang lad Lee Jia Hui, 19, managed to obtain an offer from Harvard University to pursue his undergraduate studies.

Rock band emerges champ and wins RM8,000

[CENTRAL  25-Dec-2007]
CHRISTIAN rock outfit Bus Company from Good Samaritan Home impressed judges to win the annual Battle of The Bands held at Sunway Lagoon Surf Pool recently.

Eight bands to do final battle

[CENTRAL  11-Dec-2007]
Music and charity is the main agenda at the upcoming Battle of the Bands 2007: Operation Just Cause which saw 306 bands battling it out during the preliminary rounds with eight bands making it to the finals.

Finding refuge

[YOUTH2  20-Jun-2007]
Forced to flee to Malaysia where everything is unknown and the language is foreign, young Myanmar refugees have to quickly learn to fend for themselves. StarYouth tells their stories in conjunction with World Refugee Day today.

Lunchtime treat for child refugees

[CENTRAL  19-Sep-2007]
Myanmar child refugees, victims of the political situation in Myanmar who had walked more than 1,000km from the land of their birth to seek shelter in Malaysia, forgot those painful steps as they played gleefully at the St Francis Church of Assisi in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Myanmar refugees celebrate will to survive

[NATION  24-Jun-2007]
Myanmar refugee groups celebrated World Refugee Day with vibrant music and graceful dances at the Selangor Chinese Association Hall here yesterday.

 

 

Archives from Star Online about Myanmar Cyclone Nargis

 Archives from Star Online about Myanmar Cyclone Nargis

The Star Online

Documents 1 to 10 of 63 matching the query “nargis”

[NATION  12-May-2008]
The Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) is on standby for deployment to Myanmar to provide assistance to Cyclone Nargis victims.

2.Myanmar: Mercy M’sia recruiting local medical personnel

[NATION  12-May-2008] Mercy Malaysia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with international non-governmental organisation Save the Children of UK (SCUK) and is now recruiting Myanmar doctors and nurses to provide basic medical services to Cyclone Nargis survivors.

3.Offering of alms to 300 monks at PISA on June 22

[NORTH  12-May-2008]
SOME 300 monks and thousands of Buddhist devotees are expected to throng the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) to celebrate the 2008 National Maha Sanghika Dana on June 22.

4.Call to give visas for volunteers to help cyclone victims in Myanmar

[NATION  12-May-2008]
The Myanmar Government should issue special visas for volunteers to help the victims affected by Cyclone Nargis.

5.Death toll from Cyclone Nargis’ aftermath may be alarmingly high

[NATION  12-May-2008]
Once old and battered, Yangon, Myanmar, is now strewn with debris. Cyclone Nargis not only devastated Yangon, but it now looks like a war-zone.

6.Fund raising for Myanmar

[CENTRAL  12-May-2008]
Joining in the effort to aid victims of the Cyclone Nargis, Buddhist chief high priest of Malaysia Ven K. Sri Dhammaratana Maha Nayaka Thera is organising a fund raising campaign until May 20.

7.Boat carrying aid for Myanmar cyclone victims sinks as death toll jumps to 28,000

[APWORLD  12-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP): Myanmar’s monumental task of feeding and sheltering 1.5 million cyclone survivors suffered yet another blow when a boat laden with relief supplies – one of the first international shipments – sank on its way to the disaster zone.

8.Myanmar’s junta holds election to cement hold on power despite cyclone crisis

[APWORLD  11-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP): Myanmar’s military rulers held elections aimed at solidifying their hold on power, while brazenly turning cyclone relief efforts into a propaganda campaign. In some cases, generals’ names were scribbled onto boxes of foreign aid before being distributed.
 
[NATION  11-May-2008]
The Myanmar government should be more lenient in issuing special visa passes for volunteers to help out the victims affected by Cyclone Nargis, which has killed about 60,000 people in the military-ruled nation.

10.Groups sending relief teams and aid for cyclone victims

[NATION  11-May-2008]
Peace Malaysia will send a medical team carrying vaccines and water treatment tablets to Myanmar, to help victims in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.
[NATION  11-May-2008]
Protesters gathered in force near the Myanmar embassy here yesterday, in a show of defiance against the Myanmar junta’s go-ahead with yesterday’s constitutional referendum in spite of the country’s current turmoil.
[NATION  10-May-2008]
Fujifilm (M) Sdn Bhd became the latest corporate company to contribute to The Star Myanmar Relief Fund, as donations continue to pour in for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.
[NATION  10-May-2008]
They may be hard-pressed for money, but Myanmar refugees want to come forward to help their compatriots back home after the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis.
[APWORLD  10-May-2008]
UNITED NATIONS (AP): The United Nations was seeking $187 million (euro120.97 million) from donor nations to help cyclone survivors in Myanmar.
[APWORLD  10-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP): Myanmar’s military government pushed ahead Saturday with a referendum on a controversial proposed constitution despite a devastating cyclone that killed tens of thousands.
[NATION  9-May-2008]
PAS is sending a three-member relief team to Myanmar today to provide assistance to the victims of Cyclone Nargis.
[NATION  9-May-2008]
For a week starting today, 10 sen from every Rapid Penang bus fare paid will go to the company’s Cyclone Nargis Myanmar Victims Humanitarian Fund.
[NATION  9-May-2008]
Malaysians who wish to donate to help victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar can forward their donations to the Foreign Ministry.


[NATION  9-May-2008]
The first two Mercy Malaysia’s relief officers who flew over to Myanmar on Wednesday night have started to establish contacts there.
20.[NATION  8-May-2008]
Mercy Malaysia has received approval from the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur to allow them to enter Myanmar and deliver aid to the cyclone-hit country.

[NATION  11-May-2008]
Protesters gathered in force near the Myanmar embassy here yesterday, in a show of defiance against the Myanmar junta’s go-ahead with yesterday’s constitutional referendum in spite of the country’s current turmoil.
[NATION  8-May-2008]
Two Myanmar brothers tell of how they lost their father in the killer cyclone Nargis.
[NATION  8-May-2008]
One of the first things Dijaya Corporation Berhad group chief executive officer Tan Sri Danny Tan Chee Sing did after reading about the plight of Cyclone Nargis victims in Myanmar was direct his staff to make arrangements to help them.
[NATION  8-May-2008]
Malaysians who wish to donate to help victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar can forward their donations to the Foreign Ministry.
[FOCUS  9-May-2008]
A letter from DR TAN ENG BEE, Kajang.
[BUSINESS  7-May-2008]
It is business as usual for Malaysian companies which have operations in Myanmar despite the havoc wrought by tropical cyclone Nargis on the country.
[APWORLD  8-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP): Hungry people swarmed the few open shops and fistfights broke out over food and water in Myanmar’s swamped Irrawaddy delta Wednesday as a top U.S. diplomat warned that the death toll from a devastating cyclone could top 100,000.
[ASIA  8-May-2008]
Myanmar’s junta, which has appealed for international aid to cope with the disastrous impact of Cyclone Nargis, is barring foreign journalists from entering the country and has expelled one BBC reporter.
[ASIA  8-May-2008]
Hundreds of Buddhist monks were on the streets here yesterday helping residents clear roads of fallen trees and other debris caused by killer tropical cyclone Nargis.
[ASIA  8-May-2008]
The stench of death hung yesterday over this Irrawaddy delta town, where the blackened bodies of people and animals, rotting in the tropical heat, were washed aground as Myanmar’s cyclone floodwaters receded.
[WORLDUPDATES  8-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military government came under pressure on Wednesday to open its borders to more international help after a devastating cyclone that a U.S. diplomat said may have killed more than 100,000 people.
[WORLDUPDATES  8-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military government came under pressure on Wednesday to open its borders to more international help after a devastating cyclone that a U.S. diplomat said may have killed more than 100,000 people.
[WORLDUPDATES  8-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military government came under pressure on Wednesday to open its borders to international help after a devastating cyclone that a U.S. diplomat said may have killed more than 100,000 people.
[WORLDUPDATES  8-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Aid trickled into Myanmar on Wednesday for an estimated one million victims of Cyclone Nargis in military-ruled Myanmar, with the death toll rising to nearly 23,000 and expected to go higher.
[WORLDUPDATES  8-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Aid was trickling in on Wednesday for an estimated one million victims of Cyclone Nargis in military-ruled Myanmar, with the death toll of more than 22,500 expected to mount.
[APWORLD  7-May-2008]
NEW DELHI (AP): India warned Myanmar that Cyclone Nargis was headed for the country two days before it made landfall there, an official said Wednesday.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Aid was trickling in on Wednesday for an estimated one million victims of Cyclone Nargis in military-ruled Myanmar, with the death toll of more than 22,500 expected to mount.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Military helicopters dropped food and water on Wednesday to the cyclone-stricken people of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta, where entire villages have been washed away and one million people left homeless, officials said.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
BANGKOK (Reuters) – About 1 million people were left homeless by the devastating cyclone that hit Myanmar and about 5,000 sq km remain underwater in the Irrawaddy delta, a U.N. aid official said on Wednesday.
[ASIA  7-May-2008]
Myanmar’s military government raised its death toll from Cyclone Nargis yesterday to nearly 22,500 with a further 41,000 missing, nearly all of them from a massive storm surge that swept into the Irrawaddy delta.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Military helicopters dropped food and drinking water to the cyclone-stricken people of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta, where entire villages have been virtually washed away, officials said on Wednesday.
 
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Disease, hunger and thirst pose a major threat to hundreds of thousands of survivors of Cyclone Nargis, aid agencies said on Wednesday, urging Myanmar’s military rulers to open the doors to international humanitarian relief.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Disease, hunger and thirst pose a major threat to hundreds of thousands of survivors of Cyclone Nargis, aid agencies said on Wednesday, urging Myanmar’s military rulers to open the doors to international humanitarian relief.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Disease, hunger and thirst pose a major threat to hundreds of thousands of survivors of Cyclone Nargis, aid agencies said on Wednesday, urging Myanmar’s military rulers to open the doors to international humanitarian relief.
[ASIA  7-May-2008]
Rice fields littered with corpses, desperate survivors homeless and with nothing to eat or drink – witnesses paint a horrifying picture of Myanmar’s remote typhoon-devastated south.
[ASIA  7-May-2008]
Indian meteorologists tracking the cyclone that killed more than 22,000 people in Myanmar said yesterday they had given their neighbour 48 hours warning of an impending storm.
[NATION  7-May-2008]
The thoughts and prayers of Myanmars living here are with their countrymen as the death toll of Cyclone Nargis soars.
[NATION  7-May-2008]
Join The Star in extending a helping hand to the people of Myanmar.
[NATION  7-May-2008]
A four-member relief team will be sent by Mercy Malaysia to Yangon to evaluate the situation in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.
[NATION  7-May-2008]
It has been a “wet affair” for the Malaysian embassy in Yangon the last two days.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military government raised its death toll from Cyclone Nargis on Tuesday to nearly 22,500 with another 41,000 missing, almost all from a massive storm surge that swept into the Irrawaddy delta.
[WORLDUPDATES  7-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military government raised its death toll from Cyclone Nargis on Tuesday to nearly 22,500 with another 41,000 missing, nearly all of them from a massive storm surge that swept into the Irrawaddy delta.
[APWORLD  6-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP): Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta, where nearly 22,000 people perished, remained largely cut off from the rest of the world Tuesday, four days after a cyclone unleashed winds, floods and high tidal waves on the densely populated region.
[APWORLD  6-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP): Myanmar’s ruling junta, which has spurned the international community for decades, urgently appealed for foreign aid as a Cabinet minister said that more than 10,000 people may have died from a cyclone that swept through the country.
[WORLDUPDATES  6-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Countries worldwide promised help to Myanmar after a cyclone killed 10,000 people in just one town, suggesting the overall death toll in the impoverished military-run Southeast Asian nation will be much higher.
[WORLDUPDATES  6-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military junta believes at least 10,000 people died in a cyclone that ripped through the Irrawaddy delta, triggering a massive international aid response for the pariah state in southeast Asia.
[WORLDUPDATES  6-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military junta believes at least 10,000 people died in a cyclone that ripped through the Irrawaddy delta, triggering a massive international aid response for the pariah southeast Asian nation.
[APWORLD  5-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP): Residents of Myanmar’s biggest city lit candles Monday, lined up to buy water and hacked their way through trees felled in a cyclone that killed more than 350 people, destroyed thousands of homes and caused widespread power cuts.
[WORLDUPDATES  5-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without shelter and drinking water in military-ruled Myanmar after a devastating cyclone tore through the Irrawaddy delta, a United Nations official said on Monday.
[WORLDUPDATES  5-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without shelter and drinking water in military-ruled Myanmar after a devastating cyclone tore through the Irrawaddy delta, a United Nations official said on Monday.
[WORLDUPDATES  5-May-2008]
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military authorities and foreign aid workers struggled on Monday to assess the damage from a devastating cyclone that killed more than 350 people and left tens of thousands homeless.
[APWORLD  5-May-2008]
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Residents of Myanmar’s biggest city lit candles Monday, lined up to buy water and hacked their way through trees felled in a cyclone that killed more than 350 people, destroyed thousands of homes and caused widespread power cuts.
[FOCUS  8-Oct-2007]
Former Bollywood leading lady Vyjayanthimala broke the unwritten convention in the Indian society when she chose to touch upon delicate relationships with her leading men.
[FOCUS  6-Aug-2007]
Emotion does not, and should not, interfere in the administration of justice, said the judge who jailed Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt for an arms offence

Luxury cruiser for Mercy M’sia and is recruiting Myanmar doctors

Luxury cruiser for Mercy M’sia and is recruiting Myanmar doctors

The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Mercy Malaysia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with international non-governmental organisation Save the Children of UK (SCUK) and is now recruiting Myanmar doctors and nurses to provide basic medical services to Cyclone Nargis survivors.

The doctors and nurses would set up basic medical facilities among internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are in areas with poor or no health facilities, according to a statement released by Mercy on Monday.

Mercy will also turn a luxury cruiser, donated by a tour operator in Britain to SCUK, into a floating hospital that will reach vulnerable communities in Ngapudaw, Haing Gyi, southern Labutta and the surrounding areas to provide medical access to those affected by the cyclone.

SCUK will also provide food and accommodation for the teams in Yangon.

The MoU was signed at the SCUK headquarters in Yangon after discussions had concluded on Sunday.

Meanwhile the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a new assessment on Sunday that between 1.2 million and 1.9 million were struggling to survive in the aftermath of the storm.

“Given the gravity of the situation including the lack of food and water, some partners have reported fears for security, and violent behaviour in the most severely afflicted areas,” it said, according to a Reuters report.

It said “the number of deaths could range from 63,290 to 101,682, and 220,000 people are reported to be missing”. It said “acute environmental issues” posed a threat to life and health.

“Unless there is a massive and fast infusion of aid, experts and supplies into the hardest-hit areas, there’s going to be a tragedy on an unimaginable scale,” said Greg Beck of the International Rescue Committee, Reuters said.

Related story: SMART team on standby