Justice For All Malaysia

Malaysiakini: Days of hope: A check-list for reform

Posted on: March 15, 2008

Days of hope: A check-list for reform
Kua Kia Soong | Mar 15, 08 11:58am
When the euphoria of the 2008 general elections has evaporated and we have all come down to earth, it is time to see what is possible to reform in the states ruled by the PKR-DAP-PAS coalition.

As each community pushes forward their demands and grievances, let us not neglect the Orang Asli community, our original people who need the most assistance and are the only community that deserves affirmative action because they are still largely unruffled by class differentiation.

Basically, the whole State List and the Concurrent List of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution are potential targets for reform but feel free to add to the list. These include:

1. Land

Land tenure for indigenous peoples, farmers and titles for New Villagers who have used their land for years should be settled once and for all instead of being given out only as election candy to a few at each election. Only then will landowners have the incentive to develop their land or enterprises to the benefit of the whole nation.

2. Rent

To regulate rent and regularise the relation of landlord and tenant, we should institute a Rent Tribunal to ensure fair rents for tenants and landlords.

3. Forests

Re-gazette forests that have been degazetted and rectify all the despoliation by the old regime. Allegations of corruption in these development projects involving permanent forest reserves and wildlife reserves should be investigated and the culprits brought to book. Halt all projects involving destruction of hills and forests and gazette all possible green lungs in the state.

4. Local government

Introducing local government elections is a priority. Also, services including education, housing, health, transport, places of worship and burial/cremation grounds should be brought under the purview of local governments.

Local Education Authorities should be brought back as a means not only to meet the needs of the various ethnic communities but also as an effective way to stop the politicisation of education. Allocation for the various services including the different language-stream schools would then be on the basis of proportionate need.

5. Water supply and rivers

Each state under PKR-DAP-PAS should implement a State Water Policy as an example for the other states. This would incorporate water conservation; water demand management through pricing and fiscal measures; re-piping; cleaning up rivers and preserving our natural water catchments. All new water supply projects should be halted in view of this state water policy and until proper evaluation and peoples’ views have been heard.

6. Libraries, museums and heritage protection

The PKR-DAP-PAS-run states should be an example in providing excellent libraries in every town and city; aim toward having at least one good museum in their state, and gazette as many heritage buildings as they can throughout the state.

7. Social welfare and social services

Priority should be given to lifting the livelihood of the poorest in the state, especially the indigenous peoples, plantation workers, urban settlers, and farmers; more facilities for women, young persons, children and the disabled; a system of mean testing to ensure that the poorest are helped and a sliding scale of diminishing assistance for those higher up the scale. Throughout this exercise, emphasis should be on empowering the communities concerned and encouragement of self-help.

8. Scholarships

Awarding of scholarships should be based on merit although consideration should be given to under-represented groups. Grants and loans should be based on means testing according to a sliding scale of affordability.

9. Housing

A new housing policy would ensure decent housing for the lower income groups and adequate compensation for those who have to make way for new housing or development projects.

10. Culture

The PKR-DAP-PAS-run state governments should implement a truly multi-cultural policy by giving adequate allocations and encouragement to all cultures and language streams. Thus, they can compensate for the federal government’s discrimination against Chinese and Tamil schools in terms of financial allocation by providing much-needed assistance.


DR KUA KIA SOONG is director of human rights group Suaram.

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Must Attend Program

Please go to this link: https://justice4allkuantan.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/invitation-public-forum-the-isa-and-the-police-reform-process-whats-next-after-pak-lah/
To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of people - Emily Cox

Siphoning EPF money

On 'Why should Valuecap borrow from EPF?' Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud: MTUC condemns the government's move to bail out Valuecap to support the local stock market using RM5 billion from EPF, as the provident fund is the custodian of the workers' money and not some sort of ‘automated teller machine' for the government.
If at all the EPF were to lend its money to the government, it has to be under the condition that there be transparency and accountability in the activities for which the money has been purposed. We want to know who is doing what with the money that belongs to the workers. This is the hard-earned money of the workers, their retirement plan. How is this bailout plan going to benefit the workers? We also question the reason for this bailout. If the economic fundamentals in Malaysia are strong and reserves sufficient as has been stated several times by the government, then why is there a need to offer so much money to the GLCs? Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop should prove how the EPF would profit from this loan. Bernama had reported that Nor had given the assurance that the loan given out by EPF would reap profits for the fund judging from Valuecap's past performance. But where is the paperwork and calculations to show that this move will benefit the EPF? MTUC is concerned that the loan might be mismanaged or misused and this, in turn, would affect the returns for the contributors. Mere assurances are not enough. We want to proof that this RM5 billion will not go down the drain. (The writer is president, MTUC). Sharyn: The government wants to use our pension money to prop up the Malaysian stock market which is the playing field of the rich people. If so, the government must ensure that the EPF account holders - who are predominantly the poor to average citizens of Malaysia - be guaranteed all of our pension money with a compound 8% growth (interest). It's so selfish and sick of the government to use the poor's pension money to help the rich to make more money with all the risks taken by the poor/average citizen. We can better use the RM% billion loans to Valuecap for our children's education, shelter, medical bills etc. Why not get those rich people to prop up the share market instead? Why should they park their money overseas and gamble with our EPF money instead? Kumar14: Who is behind this Valuecap organisation? Why suddenly, this separate entity is allowed to access funds from the EPF? Are they capable enough to handle it or is it just another desperate and blind move? It has been a very infamous trend where the people's funds are channeled to a company for investment purposes and suddenly POP! the funds disappear and there is nobody to be held responsible but a RM2 shell company. Charge who? Sue whom? The RM2 company (just a registered name)? We have seen this many times. People in power and with connections allow such things to go through and reap/rob the people's wealth and then blame it on organisations which actually don't exist. What if a lot of EPF funds are looted via such scams and nobody is to be pointed at? Where will the government get the funds to replenish the EPF? The people are very bored, disappointed, angry and frustrated at seeing all these dumb and unaccounted for measures being allowed by the government with lame excuses. Please, somebody verify the true purpose, integrity and capability of anybody attempting to use the people's fund.

Raja Petra

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ANWAR IBRAHIM

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