Crisps of the Week (23-29 Nov)

Sandra Rajoo brings you another edition of REFSA Rojak – a weekly take on the goings-on in Malaysia by Research for Social Advancement (REFSA). REFSA Rojak – “trawl the newsflow, cut to the core and focus on the really pertinent. Full of flavour, lots of crunch, this is the concise snapshot to help Malaysians keep abreast of the issues of the day.”

System lockdown in 6P programme

What happened to the ‘noble’ efforts of the federal government when it set up, with much fanfare and promise, the 6P programme to regularise migrant workers in Malaysia? Tenanganita executive director Dr Irene Fernandez charges 6P is now infested with corruption and abuse and that the government is “complicit” in this matter.

What is scandalous and shocking is that former Home Minister and current MP Mohd. Radzi Sheikh, a director of SNT Universal Corporation which was appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the 6P plan, is accused of fraud and being investigated by police. Migrant workers who paid RM3000-4000 per person to 6P agents have been cheated. What’s worse, they are still undocumented and in a state of limbo. Radzi has conveniently claimed ignorance.

Numerous police and official reports on the ill-treatment and defrauding of migrants, in particular Bangladeshis, have been lodged in the last 18 months. But all have come to naught. Seeing that the MACC is quiet and the federal government quieter still, Fernandez wants the Bangladesh Minister of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment and the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia to step in and do right by its people.

Migrants cheated, rights violated, lives threatened – is this what the 6P programme is all about?

In defence of perpetrators

The theatrics of colourful personalities have spilled forth in the run-up to the Umno general assembly which began yesterday, Thursday 29 November.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s dramatic rhetoric was intended to impress. Calling all Umno members to “charge our enemies wherever they may be” and “lay waste to the Pakatan Rakyat coalition”, his words are reminiscent of the speech style of Britain’s Winston Churchill during war time in the 1940s. It’s “war to the last breath” if everyone follows Khairy into battle, complete with weapons and armour. The danger is his statements might be taken quite literally by some. Perhaps it is his fervent hope that his fire and brimstone-laced speech may put him in the same league as Churchill?

Another person who is all fired up is Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat who is certainly not down and out, despite what her detractors say. Remarkably, she champions Utusan for its “sincerity in championing religion, the nation, the country and the people”. In the same breath she derides news portals which do not know how to “write with pride, honour and dignity!

Did she mix-up the media names or has she forgotten that many have sued Utusan Malaysia for libel and defamation and won? Even as we write, Utusan, the MACC, the federal Government and various MACC officers are being sued by lawyer Rosli Dahlan, for “criminal conspiracy, wrongful arrest, assault and defamation”. Rosli was arrested in 2007 on some “trumped-up charge” but was vindicated by the courts in 2011.

“Protect me,” says Deepak

All the wheeling and dealing you partake of will come back and haunt you one day. This is what Deepak Jaikishen, the man embroiled in Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder controversy and private investigator P Balasubramaniam’s second statutory declaration (SD), is realising now. He wants to spill the beans on what really happened and implicate the country’s top leadership in the convoluted tale but fears he will be at the mercy of the powers that be. He had been warned earlier to “be silent”.

Deepak had in 2008, offered Bala RM5 million to retract the first SD incriminating PM Najib, and to make a second one absolving the PM of any involvement. Deepak’s intention then was “to protect the interest of Najib”. Bala’s revelation of the ‘truth’ in 2009 from his base in India probably prompted Deepak to let the skeletons in the dark closet loose.

Apparently he wants to see “justice” for Altantuya. But perhaps the government contracts he lost due to his “fallout” with the powers-that-be had something to do with his change of heart, too.

Himpunan Hijau running the government gauntlet

Himpunan Hijau is making a last-ditch effort to stop operations in the Lynas rare earth plant in Gebeng, Pahang. It plans to block ore imports from reaching the plant in an attempt to “interrupt and paralyse” Lynas. However, 100 containers have already arrived at the Lynas plant, albeit under police escort.

Himpunan Hijau chairman Wong Tack is pointing an accusing finger at the federal government for giving approval to the project “through backdoor dealings” and without a Detailed Environment Impact Assessment. A base camp with an initial staff of 100 has been set up at Balok Beach in Kuantan for its anti-Lynas activities.

Like Altantuya’s murder, this matter cannot be laid to rest. Something’s got to give.

 

Why ‘Rojak’? Disparate flavours and textures come together in a harmonious mix to make this delicious but underrated concoction. Our Rojak weekly is much like this mix, making sense of the noise of daily newsflow and politicking.

It is also our ultimate dream that our multi-ethnic melange of communities can be made richer within the unique ‘sauce’ that is Malaysia. Let’s take pride in the ‘rojakness’ of our nation!

[pic credit: migrant workers - AsiaNews.it]

Why ‘Rojak’? Disparate flavours and textures come together in a harmonious mix to make this delicious but underrated concoction. Our Rojak weekly is much like this mix, making sense of the noise of daily newsflow and politicking.

It is also our ultimate dream that our multi-ethnic melange of communities can be made richer within the unique ‘sauce’ that is Malaysia. Let’s take pride in the ‘rojakness’ of our nation!


Click here for previous issues of REFSA Rojak.

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REFSA is an independent, not-for-profit research institute providing relevant and reliable information on social, economic and political issues affecting Malaysians with the aim of promoting open and constructive discussions that result in effective policies to address those issues. Visit us at www.refsa.org

Posted on 1 December 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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