Tuesday, April 30, 2024

I don't need love, treat Indians better - Ramasamy

I don't need love, treat Indians better - Ramasamy

Published: Apr 30, 2024 1:10 PM

KKB BY-ELECTION | United for the Rights of Malaysians Party (Urimai) chairperson P Ramasamy has demanded better treatment for the Indian community.

This is in response to Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil’s suggestion that he seek love by joining Perikatan Nasional.

He thanked Fahmi for the suggestion but clarified that he sought fair treatment for the Indian community and all Malaysians.

“Thank you, Fahmi, for directing me to PN to seek the much-needed love and care.

“Sorry, I don’t need love, but what I need is for the government to be fair to the Indians and other deserving Malaysians,” he said in a statement today.

Following his call for Kuala Kubu Baharu voters not to vote for Pakatan Harapan in the by-election, Fahmi, who is also PKR’s information chief, suggested Ramasamy join the PN coalition as the latter “lacked love”.

Ramasamy responded by urging Fahmi to understand the struggles faced by the oppressed and discriminated, emphasising that true love is achieved through human emancipation.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil

Ramasamy criticised attempts to manipulate the Indian community for political gain and highlighted various forms of discrimination faced by Indians in Malaysia.

The former Penang deputy chief minister said Indians in the country had faced discrimination from all corners and slowly realised that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was full of fluff.

“Indians are discriminated against in employment in the public sector, the entry to matriculation programmes, and public universities.

“Indians are called ‘keling’ to belittle them, and the conventional practice of appointing an Indian cabinet minister was bypassed,” he admonished.

Asserting Urimai’s commitment to protecting the Indian community, Ramasamy criticised MIC, calling the BN component party a pushover and vowed to resist discrimination or bullying from any political party or coalition.

He also questioned the need for Harapan to rely on MIC for Indian votes in the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election, questioning the relevance of a party that is neither “dead nor alive”.

Focus on job, not politics

In another statement, Urimai secretary Satees Muniandy advised Fahmi to focus on his ministerial duties rather than making political statements daily.

Urimai secretary Satees Muniandy

He criticised the government’s suppression of freedom of expression and urged the minister to empower his agencies instead of engaging in political propaganda.

Highlighting the importance of educating Indian voters and challenging Harapan’s narrative, Satees questioned Fahmi’s agitation over Urimai’s campaign in Kuala Kubu Baharu, suggesting that it reflects the government’s insecurity about its performance.

“It is our duty to enlighten Indian voters not to fall for Harapan’s fallacy again. Why is Fahmi restless about it if his government is doing its job?” Satees jibed.

Thirty men have died trying to leave Ukraine to avoid fighting since war started


Thirty men have died trying to leave Ukraine to avoid fighting since war started

April 30, 2024, 2:09 PM GMT+10

A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at his position in a trench at a front line on the border with Russia, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Sumy region, Ukraine January 20, 2024. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo 

KYIV, April 30 (Reuters) - About 30 Ukrainian men have died trying to illegally cross Ukraine's borders and avoid fighting in the war against Russia which started in 2022, the spokesman for Ukraine's border service told Ukrinform news agency.

"Some lost their lives while attempting to cross a mountain river or traverse mountains," said Andriy Demchenko, according to a Ukrinform report late on Monday.

"Overall, since the full-scale invasion began, about 30 people have died attempting to illegally cross the border."

With some exceptions, Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave the country as they may be mobilised to fight, according to Ukraine's martial law.

On Monday, the State Border Guard Service said in a statement on social media that 24 men alone have died while trying to cross the Tisa river on Ukraine's border with Romania.

Demchenko said that since the start of the war border guards have uncovered about 450 criminal groups that have attempted to smuggle people across the border.

"Attempts to illegally cross the border occur every day," Demchenko said. "Most of these attempts are outside of border checkpoints on the border with Moldova and Romania. The largest number with forged documents is recorded on the border with Poland."

Earlier in April, Demchenko told Ukraine's state broadcaster that on average about 10 men are stopped each day trying to illegally leave Ukraine.

Last week, Ukraine suspended consular services for military-age male citizens until May 18, criticising Ukrainians abroad who it said expected to receive help from the state without helping it battle for survival in the war against Russia.

In November, BBC said in a report based on data of illegal border crossings from Romania, Moldova, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia that nearly 20,000 men have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the war to avoid being drafted.

Why hasn’t the US called for an investigation into mass graves in Gaza?


Why hasn’t the US called for an investigation into mass graves in Gaza?

Arwa Mahdawi

Nothing screams ‘covering up war crimes’ like insisting that there should absolutely not be an independent investigation

‘The Biden administration, meanwhile, has said it trusts Israel to look into its own affairs.’

Did you know that the Palestinians are the very first people in the world to ethnically cleanse and mass murder themselves? I know it sounds weird, but – as American and Israeli politicians keep reminding us – these are “savages” that we are talking about here. Normal rules don’t apply, you’ve got to follow the Palestine Rules.

The Palestine Rules dictate you do the following: ignore every international agency if that agency says anything remotely critical about Israel. Certainly don’t listen to international aid agencies like Oxfam when they argue that the government of Israel is “deliberately blocking and/or undermining the international humanitarian response in the Gaza Strip”. Nope, the fact that babies in Gaza are dying of malnutrition is all their fault. The fact that children in Gaza are starving at the fastest rate the world has ever known is nothing to do with Israel, it’s the fault of those pesky Palestinians.

The fact that there are an unprecedented number of child amputees in Gaza is the Palestinians’ fault. Let’s be very clear here: if every single Palestinian had fled the land they were born in back in 1948, when Israel was founded, if they’d just completely renounced their Palestinian identity, none of the horrors currently unfolding in Gaza and the West Bank would be happening. Can’t argue with that logic, can you?

You know what’s also the Palestinians’ fault? Those mass graves that have recently been discovered at the ruins of hospitals in Gaza. “Among the deceased were allegedly older people, women and wounded, while others were found tied with their hands … tied and stripped of their clothes,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN high commissioner for human rights, last week.

It shouldn’t be remotely controversial to say that when you discover evidence suggesting gross violations of international law have occurred, then there should be an immediate independent investigation. And yet, the Palestine Rules have kicked in once again: Israel has said they didn’t do anything wrong – arguing that it’s all “fake news” and saying the Palestinians dug their own graves. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has said it trusts Israel to look into its own affairs.

While US officials have called for Israel to “thoroughly and transparently” investigate reports of mass graves they have refused to call for an independent investigation. Why, one has to wonder, the reluctance to investigate? If it’s really all “fake news” then Israel and the US should welcome a proper investigation. Nothing screams “covering up war crimes” like insisting that there should absolutely not be an independent investigation.

I was supposed to write this column a couple of days ago but every time I sat down at my desk and tried to write about the horrors in Gaza, I felt physically sick and had to stop. How can anyone be OK with our tax dollars funding this, I keep asking myself? How can anyone be OK with the fact that innocent children are suffering unimaginable horrors and Americans are helping to pay for it? How can anyone be OK with the fact that Gaza has basically been rendered uninhabitable? How can any journalist be OK with the fact that nearly 75% of journalists killed in 2023 died in Israel’s war on Gaza?

The answer to those questions is and always has been: Palestinians simply don’t count. They certainly didn’t seem to count to the attendees of the glitzy White House correspondents’ dinner on Saturday. The annual event has long been criticized for making the press look too chummy with the politicians they are supposed to be holding to account and Saturday’s event certainly seemed to reinforce that idea. In the middle of what many people argue is a US-funded genocide in Gaza – one in which Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed zero empathy for Palestinians – comedian Colin Jost stood up and told the room what a decent guy the president is.

“[My grandfather] voted for you,” Jost told Biden. “And the reason that he voted for you is because you’re a decent man. My grandpa voted for decency, and decency is why we’re all here tonight. Decency is how we’re able to be here tonight. Decency is how we’re able to make jokes about each other, and one of us doesn’t go to prison after – we go to the Newsmax after-party.”

A child is killed on average every 10 minutes in Gaza. By the time that Jost had finished his speech, finished waxing lyrical about decency, there were a couple more dead kids killed by Biden administration bombs. By the time they’d finished their little after-party, another dozen kids would be dead. This, people like Jost want us to think, is what decency looks like. And he’s not the only one: American elites are obsessed with toxic notions of decency and civility. All of which tends to be code for: keep quiet and accept the status quo. We must reject this idea. There is nothing more indecent than staying silent in the face of injustice.

  • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian US columnist

Chinese school students loyal to M'sia: Pang's ex-headmaster

Chinese school students loyal to M'sia: Pang's ex-headmaster

Published: Apr 30, 2024 12:14 PM

KKB BY-ELECTION | The headmaster of SJKC Chung Hua in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan has sprung to alumnus Pang Sock Tao’s defence, saying Chinese school students have unquestionable loyalty to the country.

Chong Joon Kin also said Malaysians regardless of race or educational background have the right to become election candidates, as with Pang (above) in her bid to become Kuala Kubu Baharu’s next assemblyperson for Pakatan Harapan.

He then cited DAP national publicity secretary Teo Nie Ching, deputy secretary-general Liew Chin Tong, and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, as examples of those who forged successful political careers after graduating from Chinese independent schools.

“It’s not news for Chinese independent school students to enter politics,” he said.

“We fulfil our responsibilities to the nation and society with integrity and we have the right to become candidates, regardless of race or educational background. There should be no questioning.”

Chong also highlighted the trilingual education adopted by Chinese independent schools and the singing and playing of the national and state anthems during important occasions.

“We have preserved mother tongue education through a century of struggle but the schools also use three languages for teaching, and they also teach the Rukun Negara.

“Whether it’s during assemblies or at important events, we always sing the national anthem, state anthem, and school anthem. So, there’s no doubt about the loyalty of (Chinese independent school students) to Malaysia.”

PAS information chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari

PAS information chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari previously criticised Pang for not revealing her primary and secondary school qualifications in her election profile.

This followed questions about the academic qualifications of Perikatan Nasional candidate for the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election Khairul Azhari Saut.

In response, the Harapan candidate posted her UPSR and SPM results - straight As for both - on social media.

However, Fadhli then singled out the fact that Pang received her primary and secondary education at Chinese vernacular schools.

High achiever Pang a ‘political talent’

Meanwhile, Chong said he believes Pang is a suitable talent for politics and that the directors and school authorities of Chung Hua are proud of her.

“It is commendable when students participate in elections, regardless of which political party they join. They do so out of concern for society, dedication to politics, and a desire to contribute to the nation,” he said.

He said Pang was well-liked by teachers when she was in school and actively participated in the debate team, adding that after graduating, she frequently returned to school to mentor the debate team alongside other alumni.

He added that despite Pang scoring well in SPM, she did not leave school but continued her studies and took the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).

“Despite her (Pang) achieving excellent results in SPM, she did not leave. We take the SPM in the fifth year, and we still have to take the UEC for the last year, and she stayed to complete her studies and take the UEC.

“She is articulate, proficient in three languages, and I believe she is a very suitable talent for politics.”

Jakim, national unity ministry have different functions, says Na’im


Jakim, national unity

ministry have different

functions, says Na’im

FMT Reporters-

The religious affairs minister was responding to former Sungai Benut MP Tawfik Ismail who said the national unity ministry deserves a budget equal to or greater than Jakim’s.

Total Views: 218
 Na'im Mokhtar
Religious affairs minister Na’im Mokhtar said the RM1.9 billion allocated for the management and development of Islamic affairs in the 2024 budget was not solely for Jakim. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The government’s allocation to the Islamic development department (Jakim) marks its steadfast commitment to strengthening the position of Islam in the country, says religious affairs minister Na’im Mokhtar.

Responding to an FMT news report in which former Sungai Benut MP Tawfik Ismail said the unity ministry deserved a budget equal to or greater than that given to Jakim, Na’im said he welcomed such feedback but stressed that he viewed it as a “mere suggestion”.

He also said while the government allocated RM1.9 billion for the management and development of Islamic affairs in the 2024 budget, this sum was for all of the agencies under the Islamic affairs division of the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD).

“The Islamic affairs division of the PMD wishes to emphasise that Jakim’s function is different from that of the national unity ministry,” said Na’im in a statement.

“The national unity ministry’s mission is to enhance unity-building efforts and strengthen the spirit of harmony among the people, while Jakim’s mission is to strengthen the governance of Islamic affairs through a compassionate approach towards the welfare of the ummah.

“In this regard, the allocation provided to the Islamic affairs division is meant to develop a ‘Malaysia Madani’ that upholds the values of religion, moderation, and mutual tolerance, ultimately benefitting the nation.”

Yesterday, Tawfik said the national unity ministry should be given a bigger budget due to its role of bridging divides and fostering good rapport among Malaysians.

The national unity ministry was allocated RM635.82 million in this year’s budget.

Na’im said that apart from Jakim, the RM1.9 billion allocated in the 2024 budget was also meant for other agencies under the Islamic affairs division including the federal territories Islamic religious department (Jawi), the Malaysian syariah judiciary department (JKSM), and Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim).

He did not provide a breakdown of the amount granted to these agencies.

However, he said that in general, Jakim was allocated a total of RM730 million for Al-Quran and Fardu Ain (Kafa) teachers, takmir teachers, and imams throughout Malaysia.

He also said RM249 million had been allocated for Jakim’s management expenses and RM50 million for development expenses.

Meanwhile, RM150 million had been allocated to Jakim for the maintenance and upgrading of Islamic educational institutions, which included public religious schools, registered Islamic boarding schools, and tahfiz schools.

Na’im said the government had reinstated a grant of RM20,000 to all public religious schools registered under Jakim.

Meanwhile, RM50 million had been set aside for special contributions to more than 70,000 imams, bilals, siaks, nojas and marbuts.