Posts Tagged ‘Statistics’

Stateless Indians

December 12th, 2012
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What is statelessness? It means you are not tagged to a nationality (country), or in other words, you are not a citizen of any country. You may be given a status of permanent residents, but that’s not the same as being a citizen.

There are many figures being bandied about on the number of stateless Malaysians of Indian origin in Malaysia. Ranging from a small 9000++ (result of MyDaftar forms taken) to 450,000 (estimation by Hindraf based on Khir Toyo’s statement of 40,000 stateless Indians in Selangor itself, back in 2008). Pakatan Rakyat in recent times is saying there’s about 300,000 of them, which is based on some hypothetical estimation.

The truth is, no proper study has been conducted on this issue. At best we can have some sampling or exercises like MyDaftar which can provide some estimates. MyDaftar relies on the number of forms taken by potential applicants. If 9,000 forms were taken, doesn’t mean only got 9,000 cases, although one can ask why others didn’t take the forms. Maybe unaware, or unable to do so?

I’m taking an unorthodox (and probably another ballpark figure) way to estimate. If I add up my family, relatives, friends, acquaintances etc., probably there’s about 1000 Malaysian Indian people in my circle of contacts. Out of that, I know of less than 5 cases of people having permanent residence status. If extrapolate to 2 million Indians, then would be at least 10,000 PRs. Let’s triple it, for the sake of missing out those in underserved areas. so, 30,000 cases.

Secondly, the number of Indian plantation workers is dwindling by the day. If there are 30,000 such workers (x 4 for family members = 120,000 people), is it possible all of them are stateless? Further more, there is an influx of workers from India, so there’s a risk of these workers being categorised as stateless Malaysians as well. Let’s say 50% of the people are stateless, so that’s about 60,000 people.

Third, Tamil schools are one way to identify kids with no documentation. If a school has 20 such cases, then x 523 schools = 10,460 cases. If the family of the kid is also stateless, then 10, 460 x 4 (4 in a family) = 41,840 cases.

Total them up: 30,000 + 60,000 + 41,840 = 131,840, round it upwards to nearest ten thousand -> 140,000 stateless people is my upper bound ballpark figure. Obviously some of the people will be double counted if school and plantation is in same place. I guess a more realistic figure is about 50,000 – 100,000 stateless people.

Question that arise is are the efforts taken to register them sufficient? Is some sort of “amnesty” required to get them citizenship? Can there be a one-off process to settle this issue?

While politicians battle it out, one NGO has been working in these kind of issue for nearly 30 years. DHRRA Malaysia has plenty of experience handling statelessness issues. They estimated that between 2003 and 2006, 20,000 cases of women without documents were recorded. While in the article below, they mentioned about submitting 7,000 cases to NRD.

IT all started in 1974, when a group of young volunteers ventured into the outskirts of cities to help empower Indian women with knowledge and basic skills.

However when they got there, they had to deal with a much bigger problem involving statelessness, which was prevalent in the rural communities especially in estates and plantations.

The group that later registered themselves under the name Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas, Malaysia (DHRRA), decided to take on the monumental task of giving back identities to these stateless people and have been doing so for over three decades now.

“Since we started, until today, we have submitted over 7,000 cases of people not having any reliable data on them to the National Registration Department (NRD) and we have managed to resolve about 5,000 cases so far,’’ said DHRRA president Saravanan Sinapan.

Saravanan said a major stumbling block was the long and winding process with some cases taking as long as three to four years to resolve.

“A big problem we face is when gathering information such as the mother’s name when trying to help stateless children.

“It makes our job doubly hard as it takes time, effort and funds to track down lost family members,’’ he said.

He related a case of a young boy who had come to them seeking help to get a permanent citizenship and the struggles he and his adoptive family endured with government agencies.

“His mother had left with a neighbour when he was a baby,’’ related DHRAA women’s programme director Nanthini Ramalo.

“The neighbour decided to adopt him, and when he was 12, they managed to get him a green IC, which is only temporary identity document,’’ Nanthini said.

According to Nanthini, green IC holders are neither citizens nor permanent residents. However, those with green card ICs and birth certificates are able to apply for a MyKad.

But the problem was, the boy had no information of his birth mother. Her identity was a crucial information required for him to apply for his legal documents.

“He came to us seeking help when he wanted to further his studies in a local university but was deemed stateless and could not qualify,’’ she said.

The process to get his MyKad was a long and frustrating process of government red tape and endless trips to the NRD office to track down his birth mother.

“The NRD’s requirement is that the mother’s name must be furnished and luckily for us, we managed to eventually find her through a public appeal via The Star.

“Just imagine if we could not find her (the mother), the boy would never have been able to further his studies and would have ended being exploited for his statelessness through no fault of his own,’’ Nanthini said.

According to Saravanan, there are hundreds of similar cases of parents not registering their children’s birth in Malaysia, and the majority are from the plantation and estate workers.

“Due to the their statelessness, they have lived a life of poverty and discrimination and often end up languishing in detention centres simply because there is a lack of data on them, and what is worse is this vicious cycle of statelessness is handed down to the next generation,’’ he said.

While DHRRA deals with each application on a case-by-case basis, but with countless trips to the NRD and long delays are hampering them from helping people in a similar state in a more holistic manner.

But the matter, Saravanan said, can be expedited if the government were to conduct an amnesty exercise for stateless communities just like what they did for illegal immigrants under the “6P” programme last year.

“An amnesty exercise for the undocumented Malaysians can solve the problem stateless community as it is crucial to have good data to know the numbers as there have been a lot of confusion of late over the true number of stateless communities,’’ he said, adding that there still many people living without an identity in the outskirts.

Apart from that, another aspect of DHRRA’s role is to legalise marriages in the Indian community.

“You will be surprised to know that we have cases of couples going through a customary Hindu wedding ceremony without registering their marriage.

“We continuously stress the importance of having proper legal documentation and empowering women by educating them on their rights; as they fail to realise that the ramifications of not being legally married pose future problems like their right to pension and property as well as the legitimacy of their children,’’ Nanthini said.

This, she added, was also common in the estates and plantation areas where the community does not see the need to register their marriages and children’s birth; as many families felt that they would continue to live in the plantations for the rest of their lives.

“It is only later when they migrate into urban areas, and when they start to look for jobs or try to secure bank loans or even apply for a government low-cost house, that the bitterness of their stateless state sinks in,’’ Saravanan said.

DHRRA also conducts marriage registration ceremonies nationwide as well as counselling services, workshops and training programmes for women.

It has centres in Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Negri Sembilan with the help of some 215 volunteers.

“Our volunteers are retired civil servants, headmasters, teachers and university students whose dedication and passion have made us stronger.

“Now, what we need is a change in policies and laws that would enable us to do more for the marginalised community,’’ said Saravanan.

For details, call 03-7874 7680/81.

source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2012/11/22/central/12221251&sec=central

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.

Gerrymandering of election seats

February 2nd, 2012
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I wonder what is the reply from the respective groups on this revelation by a citizen on gerrymandering of election seats. It would be good to see EC come out with some report to rebut or  justify the presentation given below. Just maintaining silence means agreeing to what the presenter revealed.

Its horrifying to note that its possible to gain power to run the country by getting win seats in areas that total up to only 15.4% of voters! would the election reform also cover this issue?

 

A retiree arrested the attention of opposition members at the public hearing by the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform, when he told them to forget about marching to Putrajaya under the current electoral system.

ng chak ngoon complain to psc 271111Armed with printouts of his presentation slides, Ng Chak Ngoon (right) who described himself as a retiree, presented the panel with a graph that showed 222 lines with every one being taller than the other as it progressed.

The graph, said Ng at the hearing in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, which saw several others testifying, was plotted against the population size of all the constituencies in ascending order for the 2008 general election.

“All on the left (in blue) are won by BN, on the right (in red) are all won by the opposition. The BN constituencies are very small and the opposition constituencies are very big. So what is happening here?

“It’s not by chance that all the people in big constituencies like the opposition and all those people in the small constituencies like BN. I would think there is a design here for the Election Commission (EC) to sub-divide all the BN areas into smaller areas to increase their number of MPs,” he said.

Ng added that the smallest constituency, BN-held Putrajaya only had 6,008 voters but Opposition-held Kapar had a staggering 112,224 voters, 17 times more than Putrajaya.

‘Kapar can have 17 MPs’

“If we break down Kapar to the size of Putrajaya, you would have 17 MPs from Kapar instead of just one.”

If all the seats are made into equal size, Ng added, the last general election would yield a result where BN and Pakatan Rakyat would only have a difference of seven seats in Parliament as opposed to the actual results of 140 to 82 seats.

He further estimated that if a party relied on all the small seats to win power, it would only require 15.4 percent of the total votes to form a majority in Parliament.

“If the opposition thinks they can march to Putrajaya, forget about it.”

At this point, PSC member Anthony Loke who is DAP’s Rasah MP quipped: “Very demoralising.”

Explaining further, Ng said the smallest constituency in Malaysia was 13 percent of the national average while the largest was 288 percent, in contrast to the UK’s which smallest and largest constituency are 77 percent and 153 percent of the national average respectively.

“If the EC is sincere, it should redraw all the constituencies, this is not gerrymandering, this is outright cheating.”

psc size of constitutencies general election 2008

PSC member Dr Hatta Ramli later concurred, pointing out that the Baling parliamentary constituency, supposedly a rural seat, had an unusually large number of constituents at around 70,000.

“This was because PAS has won the seat before,” said Hatta, who then asked if Ng thought this was ethical.

“Unethical is a mild word, Can I answer outside?” replied Ng in reference to parliamentary rules that require members in the hearing to abide by appropriate language.

State by state breakdown

Ng later proceeded to present similar graphs with a state by state breakdown at which PSC member Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said: “Can you rate Kangar?”, in reference to his own constituency.

“If you have Negeri Sembilan’s, I would like to see my chances of winning,” added Loke.

At this, Ng quipped: “I’ll have to charge you for consultancy.”

When asked by PSC member Fong Chan Onn (right) on how the panel can accommodate the increase of seats for Sabah and Sarawak to meet the Malaysian Federation agreement of 34 percent into his recommendations, Eng replied: “What is your objective?

“To win the election or to have an equitable dispersion of votes? If these are conflicting desires, obviously we cannot come to a compromise. BN has to answer that question, not me, I’m a retired man.”

psc general election bn votes needed to win majority

source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/182546

Malaysians work longer

November 12th, 2011
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 So, we work about longer, and also nearly half of us bring back work home often. Working longer doesn’t necessarily relate to better pay or productivity, but it can be one of the indicator for wages. Not sure what kind professions the survey covered though. If talk to security guards, workers at shopping complexes, factory operators etc., 8 t0 12 hours shift is normal.

I guess the economic conditions may force some (or many) to work longer or work few jobs.

Are you one of those who work long hours, more than 40 hours a week?

As for bringing work home, its partly due to the availability of ICT tools and infrastructure. We can work from anywhere nowadays. Also, some “bring back work” is for reading or sorting out stuff.

My policy – work stays at office. Leaving office at 5 or 6 or 7pm means leaving work behind.

Anyway, this would be good news for employers to push more employees to work longer.

 

Malaysians are clocking in more hours at work and bringing their office load back home, too.

“Some 47% of workers in Malaysia take tasks home to finish at the end of the day for more than three times a week, compared to 43% globally,” statistics in a global survey by workplace provider Regus showed.

Another 15% of Malaysian employees regularly work for more than 11 hours a day, compared to 10% globally.

The survey also showed 32% of Malaysian workers usually worked between nine and 11 hours every day.

Some 12,000 business people in 85 countries participated in the survey.

William Willems, regional vice-president for Regus Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia said the study found “a clear blurring” of the line separating work and home.

“The long-term effects of such over-work could be damaging to both workers’ health and overall productivity.

“This is because workers may drive themselves too hard and become disaffected, depressed and even physically ill,” he said.

Willems said businesses that enabled employees to work from locations closer to home and manage their time more independently could offset the stress of a poor work-life balance.

On a global scale, the survey revealed that women were less likely to take work home compared to men, with 32% of women bringing tasks to finish at home more than three times a week compared to 48% of men.

“Workers in smaller companies globally were more likely to take work home than those working in large firms,” the study said.

 

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/11/9/nation/9866319&sec=nation

We want to…but we can’t pay more for eco-friendly products

September 7th, 2011
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Looks like Malaysian have the heart but don’t have the means. Of course its nice to say that we support eco-friendly products and companies, but no point when we are unable to purchase those products due to cost factor.

We worry about pollution but we are the ones who patronise restaurants that dump waste into drains. We are not bothered about the pasar malam or market sellers who pollute the environment, nor are we concerned about the factories and industry that damage in large scale. We are the ones who dispose garbage everywhere, litter in public places, don’t maintain vehicles till cause air pollution, grumble when there’s no plastic bag offered at supermarkets, print paper as we like, and so on. Ideally it would be nice to be eco-friendly, but realistically, not many can afford to do so. Most people are busy working 2 or 3 jobs trying to put food on table, where got time for all this.

 

The majority of Malaysians worry about the environment but only one in five is willing to pay more for eco-friendly products, according to the Nielsen 2011 Global Online Environment and Sustainability Survey.

The survey polled over 25,000 Internet respondents in 51 countries.

It said the huge disparity between environmental concerns and price sensitivity placed Malaysians as the second least likely group among their Asean counterparts to pay more for eco-friendly products.

Survey results showed 38% of people said they would buy cheaper non-eco-friendly products despite preferring eco-friendly products.

Another 41% said they would buy whatever was cheapest, on promotion or better value for their money.

Nielsen Malaysia managing director Kow Kuan Hua said the high prices of eco-friendly products such as organic food were a hindrance to Malaysian consumers.

“They are also concerned about other push factors such as the economy, rising living and fuel costs, which will drive them to buy cheaper options,” he said.

However, the survey also revealed that Malaysians had a positive view of retailers and manufacturers with environmentally-sustainable practices, with 52% saying they would be influenced to shop and buy from them.

Nine out of 10 Malaysians surveyed also expressed great concern over air pollution, water pollution and global warming.

This put Malaysia in ninth position among all the countries surveyed in terms of consumer worries about the impact of air pollution and global warming.

source: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/7/nation/20110907181455&sec=nation