Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

more non-malays have applied or have joined civil service?

September 4th, 2012
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I read few media sources and ended up confused.  Nearly all reports said the number of applications increased (nearly tripled) to 5.6% out of 1.2 million applications between the period of June and August (3 months)  as compared to just 2% as of May. refer (Bernama, Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini). The excerpt below is from TMI:

The government’s efforts to get more non-Malays to join the civil service seem to be bearing fruit.

Job applications from non-Malays rose to 5.6 per cent between June and August this year compared to only two per cent as of May out of the 1.2 million applications received through the Public Service Commission (PSC), said PSC chairman Tan Sri Mahmood Adam (picture).

He attributed the increase to the large-scale campaigns carried out in the Chinese and Tamil print media as well as the dialogues held throughout the country.

 

But according to the Star, its not application but “joining” the civil service:

There has been an increase in the number of non-Malays joining the country’s civil service workforce in the last three months.

“There has been a marked increased from 2% to 5.6% of the total number of non-Malays joining the civil service throughout the country since June,” disclosed Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Tan Sri Mahmood Adam during the press conference after launching Pusat Temu Duga SPA Malaysia office here Tuesday.

Mahmood said this marked increase in the numbers of non-Malays joining the civil service workforce were an indication that PSC’s strategy on perception and direct public engagement are showing positive results.

Looks like The Star made an error here.

Regardless of the number of applicants, to have a more balanced population we have to look at the number of people hired and also the vacancies available. According to PSC chairman, for next two years, the vacancies will be low since retirement age has been extended till 60.  Estimated 7000 vacancies will be available for each of the coming two years.  Now, even if all the 14,000 posts are given to non-Malays, it will barely increase the percentage by 1%! Now, how (and when) are we going to increase the non-Malay percentage to, say about 35%?  Sure, you can take in temporary or contract staff as stop-gap measure, but its not a long term solution (like increasing front counter staff from 1000 to 3000). Create new posts? Not feasible as it means more civil servants => more salary and pension payments. So how?

It will be interesting to hear the reply to MP Hulu Selangor P.Kamalanathan’s oral question number 9 (refer here).

Its not easy to undo few decades of discrimination.

DBKL disallow decoration at MHS event

September 3rd, 2012
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This is quite surprising. I remember reading interview with new mayor where he talked about karma and all (sounded like a well-read and understanding guy), and then this news appears on FMT. Decoration like kolam is quite common even in shopping centers!  Banana trees are usually put at the entrance – can see it at Hindu weddings especially at temples. Wonder what’s the reason for DBKL’s actions. Is it because of cleanliness factors or there are considered religious symbols?  Or perhaps MHS wasn’t aware of such rules?

Senator S Ramakrishnan of the DAP today demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak over Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) decision to disallow cultural decorations to be put up in their hall for an event by Malaysia Hindu Sangam.

“Najib must investigate why an event officiated by his representative was marred by DBKL’s stupid act which hurts the feeling of delegates,” said Ramakrishnan in a press statement today.

“It is totally unbecoming of DBKL since they are under the Federal Territories and Urban Well Being Ministry that has a Hindu deputy minister,” said Ramakrishnan.

He was commenting on DBKL’s decision to disallow MHS from decorating the venue – a DBKL hall – with kolam, a colourful rice based decoration, and banana trees in conjunction with a conference which was held yesterday.

MHS had organised a conference to launch temple worship guidelines yesterday at the DBKL training institute hall in Cheras.

The conference was attended by about 800 delegates from all over the country with PM’s representative honouring the event.

The hall was rented for RM4,600 and an additional RM300 paid for DBKL staff manning the hall for the event.

The conference was supposed to be officiated by Najib but was subsequently delegated to Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

Ramakrishnan also lashed out at DBKL for their lack of sensitivity.

“Why is DBKL afraid to allow such simple cultural decorations?

“DBKL is a public body that serves all Malaysians, so why did it abstain MHS from putting up biodegradable and easily disposal cultural decorations?

“If it is a rule not to allow any decorations by any user of the hall then that should have been made known at the time of hall booking and not one day before the event?

“This act of DBKL shows how they look down on cultural practices of Indian Malaysians,” said Ramakrishnan.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/09/02/dbkl-lacking-cultural-sensitivities/

Madam Nagamah, her children and their religion status

August 24th, 2012
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Some facts gleaned from newspapers (the facts may change as more details are revealed):

  • Madam M Nagamah passed away on 14 August 2012 at Sg Bakap Hospital. She was 64 years at the time of passing. She was from Byram Estate, Nibong Tebal.
  • Eldest son of the deceased is M Kamasantheran, aged 46 [ meaning he was born when she was 18 years old].
  • Her body was taken back to home by the family for funeral preparation.
  • JAIPP officers came for the body, saying she was a convert. No documents were provided.
  • Family refused to give in. And the officers left [how ridiculous does this sound? You’d think that a such a serious matter would involve some documentation or proof]
  • Family proceeded with funeral (cremation) at Batu Berapit Crematorium.
  • JAIPP officers went to crematorium and took the ashes of the deceased. Family got to know about it from the crematorium staff.
  • According to Penang state Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, the deceased had converted to Islam in November 2006 [Meaning she was aged about 58 at that time].  He said that  initial investigations as reported to him by JAIPP and the state Mufti Department showed that the 64-year-old had converted at the South Seberang Perai (SPS) Islamic Religious Department with registration number 11/06. The conversion was overseen by Ustaz Anuar Ismail.
  • Her name was registered as Nagamah @ Mariah Abdullah when she converted after marrying one Ibrahim Noyan and had nine children who were registered as Muslims by the National Registration Department.
  • Since both family and JAIPP had made police report, the EXCO said will leave it to police investigation.
  •  The family insists that the deceased has been a practising Hindu all this while and there’s not mention about her converting.
  • Family wants ashes back to conduct funeral rites on 14th day.

sources:

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/469470

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/470546

http://www.freemalaysiakini2.com/?p=43085

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/206890

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2012/08/20/no-dignity-in-life-or-in-death/

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/206819

http://www.mmail.com.my/story/nagamah-muslim-says-department-27661

If one does a search, can find documents back in 2007 related to the husband Ibrahim Noyan. Below are the facts from 2007:

  • 10 siblings (5 men and 5 women) were seeking to change their religion from Islam to Hindu. These 10 people were born to Ibrahim Noyan and M.Nagamah.  The 10 of them grew up as Hindus and even got married to Hindus.
  • On Feb 16 2007, the 10, all of them with Muslim names and listed as Muslims on their MyKad, submitted individual sworn declarations at the magistrate’s court in Jawi, South Seberang Prai, claiming that they had been practising Hinduism since birth and prayed at Hindu temples.
  • In their declaration, they said that they wanted to change the status of their religion from Islam to Hindu.
  • They also said they were married to Hindus – although none of them had their marriages registered – and took part in Hindu celebrations, including Thaipusam. Their children were also given Hindu names.
  • Their plight was highlighted at Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng’s service centre on that day.[ So she should be aware of this case by now as back then she “hoped that the authorities can settle this issue“].
  • Their father, Ibrahim Noyah, 67, said he first married a Muslim woman known only as Sabariah but she died in 1958. He then married M. Nagamah but did not require her to convert. “Nagamah was my neighbour and I fell in love with her when she took care of me after my wife passed away,” he said.
  • Ibrahim Noyan is visually impaired since 3 years old and Nagamah took care of him after his first wife died.
  • Ibrahim and Nagamah, 60, have 10 children and 30 grandchildren. Three of the grandchildren do not have birth certificates, while some have only one parent’s name in their birth certificates.
  • V. Rathiga, 27, an athlete married to Ibrahim’s son, Kamis, 27, said she left out Kamis’ name in the birth certificates of their daughters – three-year-old Prami and one-year-old Sakti – as Kamis wanted them to be recognised as Hindus. [that’s one solution! if the law hinders, then find a workaround.]
  • While the 10 children wanted to be Hindus, the parents didn’t (meaning Ibrahim and Nagamah). According to Ibrahim he was still a Muslim and that his wife M. Nagamah had converted to Islam in 2005 and assumed the name Mariah Abdullah.
  • “I know my children and my grandchildren are facing problems with their identity cards and I don’t mind if they want to change their names from what it is now in their birth certificates,” said Mariah.
  • Ibrahim had said he started following Hindu culture and customs after his marriage to Nagamah although all their children were given Malay names while being raised as Hindus and had never stepped into a mosque.
  • The Penang Islamic Religious Council has recognised the elderly couple as Muslims.
  • However, the council also accepted the fact that the couple’s children are Hindus. “As far as we are concerned, the matter is resolved as the man had returned to the Islamic faith and his wife has embraced Islam,” said religious council chairman Shabudin Yahaya. “The council has built a house for them in Kebun Baru and are living separately from their children.”
  • Shabudin said the couple were considered Muslim as they had married according to Islamic rites.
  • He said Ibrahim Noyah, 67, had returned to the Islamic faith and his wife, M. Nagamah, 60, embraced Islam in August 2004 and her Muslim name was Mariah Abdullah.
  • Their Muslim marriage was solemnised at the religious department on Aug 11, 2004 and had been issued with the relevant documents.
  • The couple’s eldest son, Jamal Ibrahim, 42, said he hoped the authorities would help resolve their problem.

sources:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/2/24/nation/16965034&sec=nation

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/2/27/nation/16983857&sec=nation

NST article: Islamic department urged to check family background (25/2/2007)

NST article: Council: Children are Hindus (25/2/2007)

NST article: In a spot over religious status (25/2/2007)

 

So far I can’t find any article reporting the outcome of their application to change religious status.

Interestingly, the conversion date ranges from 2005 to 2006.  Anyway the religious department says the marriage according to Muslim rites were done in 2004,  meaning she converted after marriage.

Back then, these kind of marriages existed and registering them legally wasn’t a big focus, I guess.

Ok back to the issue at hand. The religious department had shown no respect for law and order. No empathy, no sympathy. No sense of respect. No sensitivity. If conversion happened, then should bring the documents and do it properly. They simply came and took the ashes away.

So, did the deceased marry another person? If not, then M Kamasantheran (or is he Johan Ibrahim?), the eldest son should also be a Muslim and his father should be Ibrahim Noyan. Its quite impractical that they don’t know the existence of the other 9 siblings nor of their father/step-father. It feels like the deceased lead a double life with the children not knowing what happened to her.

Maybe she converted but didn’t inform her children about it and continued to live as an Hindu.

There’s no mention about the husband.  Maybe he had passed away and she returned to her Hindu family?

In the above case, if the whole family is following Hindu religion (including the deceased), then might as well leave it to the family to perform the last rites accordingly.

If the families provides proof of the deceased being a practising Hindu (especially after 2006), does it make the conversion void?

I think to safeguard ourselves, a MyDaftar-like campaign should be conducted by government to provide opportunity for non-Muslims to reaffirm their religious status via a official document or statutory declaration.  We don’t want to be victims after passing away and cause misery for the family.

And what happened to the suggestion that future converts-t0-be must inform their families/next-of-kin? All quiet?

The silence from MHS is also deafening.

On a political note, since this happened in Penang, can expect brickbats for the PR government. But I wonder what can be done legislation wise to avoid this issue in the first place. Can the enactment be amended? Would need approval from MAIPP or King?

Section 114A of the Evidence Act 2012

August 14th, 2012
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The controversial section 114a of the Evidences Act (2012)

Presumption of fact in publication

114A. (1) A person whose name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner, host, administrator, editor or sub-editor, or who in any manner facilitates to publish or re-publish the publication is presumed to have published or re-published the contents of the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(2) A person who is registered with a network service provider as a subscriber of a network service on which any publication originates from is presumed to be the person who published or re-published the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(3) Any person who has in his custody or control any computer on which any publication originates from is presumed to have published or re-published the content of the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(4) For the purpose of this section—

(a) “network service” and “network service provider” have the meaning assigned to them in section 6 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 [Act 588]; and
(b) “publication” means a statement or a representation, whether in written, printed, pictorial, film, graphical, acoustic or other form displayed on the screen of a computer.”

source: http://www.parlimen.gov.my/files/billindex/pdf/2012/DR162012E.pdf

[click for larger view]

In the cartoon above, I think only the second scenario is acceptable. As administrator, you have authority to remove the comment and can do so. But for the other cases, the amended Act will brand the ignorant/unprepared/trusting as criminals.

I can understand the problems faced by authorities in solving cases involving online postings/comments.  And this is not only limited to those “seditious” crimes, but can cover scams, online theft, and other cybercrimes. Its not easy to prove you are the one who did it. Yes, we can trace via IP addresses, mobile phones, cameras, email headers etc. But, the ICT technology evolves fast. Those intent on doing criminal stuff can find ways to circumvent or “hack” their way and hide their tracks.  Its impossible for every person to protect themselves fully.

If this Act comes into play, you can’t claim ignorance easily. You’ll need to protect your internet access, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, PCs from unauthorised use. Not easy. You need to be vigilant and don’t simply borrow your things to others. Don’t share passwords or access codes. Don’t set your accounts to “always logged in” or “remember my password”. There’s so many “don’ts” that you may as well close your internet account and throw away your tablets/laptops!

Perhaps we can find that restaurants and other business may stop providing free Wifi as anything you do may implicate them. Anyone in the chain of providing network service can be charged. Imagine, robbers used your house area to enter another house and rob the owners. Are you an accomplice because robbers made use of facilities provided by you? This may well be the problems faced by kopitiams, for example.

Yes,  these kind of stringent laws can help reduce the fraud and lies, but at what expense?

Do you expect the citizen to be IT savvy? Do you expect him to be ace investigator who can prove he did not do it? By shifting the burden of proof to the accused, the accused is now a policeman who is to find prove of his innocence? Perhaps he need to enrol in ICT Security courses in order to be vigilant.

Do you notice the word “presumed” in the amendments? So, one is presumed guilty instead of presumed innocent. If you retweet or share a FB status that’s deemed a criminal posting, yes, you are part of the criminals. If you forward emails, same too.

DNAs and fingerprints can be used to nail criminals. Are user accounts, IP addresses, MAC addresses, email address etc.  now considered as  DNAs and fingerprints? Are these tamper-proof?

In our overzealousness to solve crimes, hopefully we don’t punish the innocent.

An article in the Star today:

Things looked vastly different Tuesday on several popular websites that had pledged their support to the campaign against the controversial Evidence Act amendment (no. 2).

Black pop-ups on their main pages greeted website visitors, explaining to them about the recently gazetted Section 1114(a) of the Act which presumes guilt on the part of Internet users.

Bloggers such as The Star columnists Marina Mahathir and Niki Cheong also took part in the Internet Blackout Day, posting up the pop-ups and banners which plainly said “Stop 114A”.

News portals Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today as well as the Bar Council website also put up the pop-ups on their websites, together with online journal Loyar Burok.

Scores of local Internet users changed their profile pictures on their Twitter and Facebook accounts to a black “Stop 114A” button.

The Internet Blackout Day is coordinated by the Center of Independent Journalism as part of the “Stop 114A” campaign.

It called for Internet users to show their displeasure by blackening out their websites and profile pictures in protest of the amendment, which would automatically presume guilt on Internet users for offensive postings made using their identities or devices.

However, some Internet users opted for a harder approach and going offline completely.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/8/14/nation/20120814122218&sec=nation

Discrimination. What is it?

August 2nd, 2012
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Discrimination can exist in many forms. US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lists age, disability, equal pay/compensation, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race/color,  religion, retaliation, sex and sexual harassment as types of discrimination at workplaces. (source)

Discrimination is defined as:  prejudicial treatment of an individual based on his or her membership – or perceived membership – in a certain group or category. It involves the group’s initial reaction or interaction, influencing the individual’s actual behavior towards the group or the group leader, restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to a group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making. (wikipedia source).

The same source above says UN’s stance is that “discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection”.

Can discrimination be good? For example, if KTMB offers discount cards to students and the senior citizens, isn’t it discrimination to the the other commuters who are not students or senior citizens? Can an individual complain or sue KTMB?

How about denying entry into an educational institution based on race or ethnicity? Is that discrimination? Perhaps no, if the educational institution is funded by groups with their own funds.

If a education institution selects students based on “status”, is that discrimination? If there’s quota, is that discrimination? Can it be justified by using economic status or lack of opportunities for some? If there are more females than males in universities, would a quota for female students be discrimination?

Have you seen vacancies asking for “Mandarin speaking” applicants? Isn’t that discrimination based on language? Or can the employer justify it by saying the position requires the knowledge of that particular language? Is Mandarin restricted to any one group only? Is it a workaround to hire Chinese candidate? Possible.

If we were to post “BM speaking applicants only”, would be discriminatory towards foreign workers who may not be fluent or certified in BM?

How about saying that only Muslims can be Syariah court lawyers? Is that discrimination based on religion? Or is it a requirement by the religion?

Can you choose not to hire a disabled person? Perhaps can, if the work involves physical activities that is hindered by the disability of the applicant. You can hire a visually challenged person to be a telephone operator, right?

Can you deny a disabled person the right to drive a vehicle? Possible, if it can be proven that providing the license may endanger the person or others due to the incapability of the disabled person to drive correctly.

By not having disabled friendly facilities in buildings, are the building operators/management being discriminatory?

When the salesperson chooses to ignore you, and approaches a “more realistic” potential customer, is that discrimination? (happens to me often, which can be a good thing after all!).

When Tamil drama is shown at 3.30am in national TVs, is that discrimination? When no programs for other communities are shown, is that discrimination? Can lack of budget be an acceptable excuse?

When provision for places of worships for some groups are not provided, is that discrimination?

When your colleagues seems to be drawing higher salary even though you are equally or more qualified, is that discrimination? Maybe yes, maybe no. Perhaps they negotiated well?

Not hiring married women because “they may get pregnant” is discrimination? How about penalising pregnant ladies by pressuring them, so that they will resign? Is that discrimination?

If the bus seat is not big enough, is the bus company discriminatory towards large-sized persons?  If the large size is due to genetics, then would it be discriminatory?

Wonder how its related to racism. Is racism a subset of discrimination? Seems to me its part of discrimination. Is discrimination same as marginalisation? Can discrimination be unintentional? It certainly can be institutionalised, made into laws.