It's not so much our sluggish economy that Malaysian ethnic minorities are leaving the country, says a reader.
On Bad economy: Chinese may 'return' to China
YSM: Dr Mahathir has argued that Chinese Malaysians could move elsewhere given the lackluster economy in Malaysia. He is right, many Malaysian ethnic minorities are moving - some to China, some to Australia, some to Canada or some to New Zealand. The reason however is fundamentally rooted in the bigotry and racism which has been wildly fanned by none other than ruling party Umno and its youth wing.
When a large sum of money from the government coffers are blatantly dispensed only to bumiputera contractors and when Umno leaders boldly declare that the "pendatang" or "immigrants" can go back to their home countries (as if there is any) then it is time to look for a safe haven for the future generations.
There are systematic courses organised by Biro Tatanegara that teach bigotry and racism. This is further fuelled by the leaders from Umno Youth who make racist remarks and wave the keris for their own selfish political gains. You see, Dr Mahathir, it is not that we don't love Malaysia, but that Malaysia loves us not.
On Income tax: 'Pay first, then argue'
Kapit: Since Monday I tried to do e-filing to pay my income. After numerous failed attempts, I tried calling the help-line. The help-line does not 'help' since it just asks you to "call back because our operators are busy". After days of frustrations, I finally gave up and went to the IRD office. Guess what? The officer there told me that e-filing only works if you have a fast Internet connection, or broadband. Now how many people have that here in Sarawak (or in the rural areas)?
IRD is a typical government department. They promised the world but never delivers. The whole government machinery is like that - they promised all sorts of e-government but when you actually try to use the service, it does not work.
Can government departments please stop "offering" services they know that do not work properly? Why don't they just say "only for broadband users". Is this too much to ask?
On Deepavali greetings: Mohd Fauzi apologises
NF: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Dr Abdullah Mohd Zin said that the directive from Takaful Malaysia's head of Syariah Department advising his staff from extending Deepavali greetings to Hindus was "a narrow interpretation of Islam".
Though it may have been a narrow interpretation and was addressed to the 2,000 staff of Takaful Malaysia but the fact is that the offensive directive is sufficient to poison the minds of 10,000 people if we take into account that each staff has a family of five members. It is time to recognise that people like Mohd Fauzi Mastaffar are no longer the exception.
He is part of a force which is in ascendancy and purveys distorted views and accentuates ethnic and religious cleavages rather that the common bond of Malaysian identity and consciousness. Just read the Al-Islam October edition and it shows the extent of religious polarisation and bigotry.
The basic foundation of Malaysia as a secular nation - multi-cultural and multi-religious and built on mutual respect and tolerance - is being insidiously but effectively undermined. The future does not augur well for Malaysia.
On Housemen need guidance, not punishment
Raymond: I am writing to voice my dissatisfaction and disapproval at the way some health administrations function.
Being a house officer is one of the most grueling and difficult period in a doctor's medical career. Some hospitals advocate the duration of housemanship to be at 3-5 postings (ie. 12 - 18 months). At some places, however, the duration is two years. Why is there such discrepancy in the duration of housemanship? The Health Ministry is suppose to have a uniform ruling in the exact duration for this crucial period instead of leaving it ultimate to the hands of the hospital director?
Imagine how frustrated it could be looking at your colleagues or even worse still, your juniors from university already being made medical officers and you are still a house officer.
It would be really appreciative if the Health Ministry would delve into this matter with adequate concern though it may seem a petty issue.
On Muslim vs Non-Muslim: A M'sian ritual, not a debate
Scott South: Sharaad Kuttan's response to my letter about Arabic/Islamic greetings is fairly reasonable and educated, but it is also an overly intellectualised, common-sense-challenged, sociolinguistic exercise in deconstructing the "discourse of territoriality" and rationalising the user-unfriendliness of what should be friendly greetings for all.
This "discourse" is actually a very simple matter: it is boorish, arrogant, unfriendly and exclusionary behaviour to yell at non-Muslims for attempting to show courtesy by respecting and using local forms of greetings.
Kuttan further states that it is an oversimplification to lump all non-Muslims as a single group. That may be true, but it is also true that many Muslims do in fact categorise all non-Muslims as 'inferior', as they have not embraced the perfect religion. Saudis, for example, commonly believe all non-Muslim women are prostitutes. Is there not some of this attitude in the more parochial Malay circles?
When we travel the world, we not only learn about different cultures, we learn from them. I for one have learned self-actualising lessons by having lived outside my own country, around the world, for 32 years of my life. I'm sure the more parochially pious Malays would put their Arabic greetings in proper and more gracious perspective by observing Emiratis and Omanis.
I would recommend HL Too's letter (Courteous for non-Muslims to say Walaikumsalam) as the more logical, narrative in this topic. Meanwhile, have you taken your dinner? (My favourite Chinese greeting.)
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