'Barisan still not waking up'

Modified 20 Jan 2009, 3:32 am

vox populi big thumbnail ‘There have been too many ‘wake-up calls' and BN/ Umno continues to sleep, after slamming the 'sleep button' of the alarm clock.'

On After KT, there is hope for Sarawak

Mat Al-jajawi: The BN will never hesitate to bribe the voters by promising all kinds of contingency fund allocations whenever there is a by-election, or should I call it ‘buy-election' as many people have suggested. This is the established BN culture, come rain or shine.

So, if this can't be changed, how do you expect the BN to effect changes in the effort to combat corruption?

The corrupt culture at ‘buy'-elections is accepted as a norm by all BN politicians, starting from the PM/DPM, all the way down to the branch chairpersons at the grassroots.

The only way Malaysia can remove this culture is to remove the BN in the next general election and at every by-election that comes along before the 13 th GE.

The BN top guns have been insulting the intelligence of voters for a long time now.

They all think the rakyat can only think about physical and economic development, which in most cases benefit the BN cronies/ contractors, who are fortunate enough to win the contracts. Any benefits trickling to the rakyat is merely a coincidence.

When the BN loses a ‘buy'-election, despite promising millions of RM to the electorate, they say it is merely a wake-up call.

Problem is, there have been too many ‘wake-up calls' and BN/ Umno continues to sleep, after slamming the 'sleep button' of the alarm clock.

They will never want to wake up and listen to the rakyat, unlike in the 70s and 80s. They talk of reforms but are very stingy with real reforms.

They merely carry out window dressing which scratch only the surface - like the recent ‘reform' of the judiciary, where the PM still wields unlimited powers in the appointment of the head of the judiciary.

How do you achieve independence of the judiciary with this kind of reform?

Perhaps the BN should change its logo from the dacing to some bronze-age tools of the past (like a double-headed axe) to reflect its archaic method of thinking.

Umno is correctly using the keris to tell the world that the keris can defend oneself against missiles.

In the area of higher education, the BN is too scared to do any drastic review of the UUCA. They want college students to be controlled like the schoolboys and girls in secondary schools.

On Poll watchdog howls foul over 'vote-buying'

John Tan: Now that all the euphoria has settled over the KT by-election, what happens to all those 'promises and allocations' dished out by BN during the campaigning period?

I certainly hope that there is a 'watchdog' to monitor and ensure that all those supposed allocations for the good of KT were not for election vote-buying and will be honoured.

Each and every one of them.

On 'Hudud' issue only theoretical

Mahindar: What is the fuss about hudud laws? Bring them on if they can. They may be able to:

a. lower the crime rate

b. let my mom sweep the front of the house without fearing snatch thieves

c. eradicate the raping of minors and murder

d. treat the feminine gender equally

e. wipe out corruption

f. remove human trafficking

g. encourage respect and tolerance for all religions and races.

Probably, there is fear of these hudud laws as we may not all understand what these laws mean. So educating all of us will be the first step.

What we want are strict laws for the above crimes. Call it hudud or otherwise, who cares.

One of the reason why five states went to the opposition on March 8 is because the government over the years was not able to come down hard on crime.

The public also has the perception that corruption in the country now is a cancer in its final stage.

On Ku Li: GDP not at 3.5%

Vijayandhran Valayatham: I can only guess at the reasons behind the government's proposal to mandate a monthly withdrawal of EPF funds upon retirement, as opposed to a lump sum amount that is usually doled out.

My best guess is the concern that retirees would mismanage the funds quickly on that dream car, the once-in-a-lifetime tour around Europe, speculating in the stock market, a few extra trips to Genting Highlands and so on.

Though the concern is real, the real long-term solution is in education. Our current educational system does not equip us with the knowledge of money and how it works.

As a result, most school leavers graduate knowing mathematics but not of topics such as the time value of money, or why keeping all savings in the bank is not sound financial advice (especially when inflation is higher than the average savings rates).

As a short-term action, I would like to urge the government to invest annually in public seminars on the basics of financial knowledge, with a particular focus on the long awaited EPF withdrawal upon retirement.

Focus should be for the kampung and rural areas, not only the large towns and cities.

A longer term solution is to inject subjects on finance into the curriculum - the earlier the better, and for all students, not just those who pick accounting subjects at the SPM and higher levels.

Resorting to forcing retirees to accept a monthly withdrawal upon retirement is merely a knee- jerk reaction to a real problem and is myopic at best.

Above all, let the retirees decide on their own what they want to do with their hard earned money. Making that decision for them is a step back in governance.

Focus on educating the public on an important subject that is not taught in schools today, and start now.

On Farewell, Helen of South Africa

Audrey Ambrose-Yeoh: I just wanted to say how much I appreciated reading the above article; it was excellent!

The passion of the writer for what Helen Suzman stood for and her absolute integrity was clearly reflected.

It certainly made the point that the greatest champions of the downtrodden often emerge from not among them and that often, the efforts and sacrifices of the voices of those who dared to be different and spoke out against injustice are often forgotten in the jubilation of the those taking over power.

I made a trip to South Africa during the height of the affirmative action in the early 1990s and it was indeed saddening to hear good black teachers stating simply that things were not looking up for schooling for black children.

Even the salaries of the teachers were not paid on time. This was something that had not happened in the previous regime.

Nations need to take heed that the greatest evils of society have always been injustice and corruption. Peace, progress, and social integration continue to be sacrificed in many nations by greedy politicians in power.

We certainly need inspiration from the memory of the great Helen Suzman.

On Time running out for 'deviationist' sect

Amjad Mahmood Khan: I read with trepidation the above report and other stories about the Ahmadiyya Muslim community published by your esteemed daily.

The tragic irony of the persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Malaysia is that Ahmadi Muslims practice the most moderate brand Islam in the world.

In the face of brutal persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, Ahmadi Muslims advocate universal human rights, non-violence and absolute justice.

They have vociferously condemned militant and perverse manifestations of Islam.

They have set up schools, hospitals and welfare programmes all over the world. They have built inter-religious coalitions against affronts to basic civil and religious liberties.

Indeed, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community provides hope to a world that desperately struggles to understand and embrace Islam's true and peaceful teachings.

Malaysia stands a beacon of prosperity in Asia. Vibrant and progressive communities like the Ahmadiyya Muslim community keep that beacon shining bright.

Qasim Rashid: With great sorrow I read the above report.

The most amazing and downright abhorrent realisation of the persecution faced by Ahmadi Muslims stems not from the extremists who persecute Ahmadi Muslims, but from the governments who persecute Ahmadi Muslims.

While extremists are by definition irrational, any judicious government should thrive at the opportunity to support peace-loving, educated and moderate citizens, regardless of religious differences.

These attributes of peace, education, and moderation have been the hallmark of the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

Yet, despite the vast contributions to humanity offered by Ahmadi Muslims worldwide, they have been most vehemently persecuted in established sovereign nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.

It seems, most unfortunately, Malaysia seeks to join this cast. Pakistan and Bangladesh have been utterly decimated by allowing extremists to rule their governments.

Indonesia has taken the first step in the same direction. I can only hope, not only for the welfare of Ahmadi Muslims, but for the nation of Malaysia as a whole, the government of Malaysia makes the right decision.

Allowing free thought supports not only basic human rights, but basic common sense. Let us hope that Malaysia stands strong and emphatically rejects the hope of extremists to bring down this great nation.

Doing so will be the sure fire way to guarantee success for the nation, as well as its citizens.

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