Isnin, 2 September 2013

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1,000 nabbed as KL begins crackdown on illegal migrants

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 04:22 PM PDT

Malaysia launches nationwide raid, plans to deport 400,000 in largest clampdown to date

(Dow Jones) - The Malaysian authorities arrested about 1,000 migrant workers yesterday as the country launched a large-scale immigration operation to flush out and swiftly deport nearly half a million illegal foreign workers, its largest crackdown to date on low-wage migrant labour at plantations and factories.

The move signals the government's resolve to separate the legal from the undocumented immigrant workforce in an effort to cut surplus labour and trim a huge social cost arising from hosting a large population of foreigners, who make up more than 16 per cent of the total workforce in the nation of 29 million people.

"In the first phase of this operation that will continue until this year-end, we plan to arrest and deport about 400,000 illegal immigrants and arrest about 45,000 employers of such workers," said Mr Saravana Kumar, Deputy Director at Malaysia's Immigration Department.

About 1,000 migrant workers were arrested across the country yesterday, said Mr Saravana, adding that employers who hire illegal immigrants can be fined up to RM50,000 (S$19,400) or face jail time of up to five years or six strokes of the cane, or all three.

Malaysia has telegraphed the raids for more than a week and it is unclear how many migrants may have fled before they began. The country is a magnet for migrants from neighbouring Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar and South Asian nations such as Nepal and Bangladesh.

The latest drive is targeting those who had registered under an amnesty programme for illegal immigrants launched two years ago but never showed up for further processing, which could have included legalisation or voluntary deportation. About 1.3 million of an estimated two million illegal foreign workers had registered. Of them, about 500,000 were legalised and 330,000 were repatriated.

Hosting a huge foreign workforce strains public services such as security, health, transportation and education. Malaysia has been tightening employment rules for unskilled foreign workers. Migrant workers totalled nearly 1.6 million in 2011, down 23 per cent from two million in 2007, Ministry of Human Resources data shows.

"The economy is softening, growth is moderating, and this makes it an ideal time to shed the excess illegal foreign workers," said Dr Shankaran Nambiar, Senior Research Fellow at the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.

A team of 150 officers from the Immigration Department, led by deputy director Saravana Kumar, yesterday went on pre-dawn raids around the administrative capital Putrajaya and detained 71 foreigners without valid documents.

Raids nationwide would include squats, farms, entertainment and massage parlours, he said.

In one swoop on a rickety settlement on the fringes of a palm plantation, the arrival of a convoy triggered a chaotic rush among residents, some of whom tried to escape to a neighbouring forest. Most were soon caught. Groups huddled meekly in handcuffs as their identities were checked.

"I have never experienced such a thing in the past six years that I have been working in Malaysia," said Mr Manik Sheikh, a Bangladeshi, who waited patiently. He was later released.

The often-illiterate workers can find themselves caught between potentially unscrupulous employment agencies and the risk of being apprehended by immigration authorities. This leaves them vulnerable to wage theft and mistreatment.


Seri Pristana issue festers, parent insists more have left the school

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 03:14 PM PDT

(TMI) - The school pupils were also subjected to questioning by the police without the knowledge of their parents, a claim which police initially denied but later admitted.

More than one primary school pupil has transferred out of the controversial SK Seri Pristana, a parent has said, rubbishing the education ministry's claim that only one left the school.

The parent, who wanted to be known as Raj, told The Malaysian Insider that to his knowledge, there have already been three transfers.

"There is more. Previously, there was a Chinese parent who had taken her child out of the school at the height of the event, before Guneswari did," Raj told The Malaysian Insider.

Guneswari is the whistleblower on the operation of a makeshift shower room canteen in the school.

Raj said that more will definitely jump on the same bandwagon, with V. Kumancan's daughter being next.

"Her father was arrested after reports were made by the school teachers. How will she study there after this? What guarantee is there for her education?" he asked.

The 31-year-old Kumancan was recently arrested and released by the police on bail for allegedly uttering death threats against the school's headmaster, Mohamad Nasir Mohd Noor.

He is however expected to be charged with criminal intimidation soon.

"I do not understand why Mohamad Nasir does not want to admit his mistake. No matter what he tries to justify or get politicians to side him, he made a mistake and he must be sorry for it.

"The school also constantly comes up with differing stories and clearly any parent would doubt the school for trying to hide a wrongdoing. There has not been any consistency in their justifications," Raj said, adding that he is not going to change his story.

Raj said that due to harassment, his daughter had not returned to the school after the Hari Raya holidays and had begun classes at a new school last Monday.

The angry parent said he suspects that there is a ploy to cover up the whole furore.

"Mohamad Nasir has been bringing in politicians, policemen and carrying out all sorts of agenda to serve his purpose but never apologised. We need justice for our children first."

Selangor Education Department director Mahmud Karim has also refuted allegations that school authorities had photographed non-Muslim pupils.

He also added that his department had yet to be informed of the incident.

Mahmud also refuted claims that the school teachers had discriminated against non-Muslim pupils and called it a misunderstanding.



Ex-RMAF man who was shot dead was head of Batu Gajah Geng 36

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 03:12 PM PDT

One of the police forensics personnel inspecting the Perodua Kancil at Taman Rishah in Ipoh. (Inset) S. Jambu Keshan

(The Star) - The former air force personnel shot dead at Taman Rishah here on Sunday was the head of Geng 36 in Batu Gajah.

Perak CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim said S. Jambu Keshan, 39, is believed to have been gunned down by rival gang members due to drug-related matters.

"We also believe the shooting is related to a turf war between the victim's gang, Geng 04 and Geng 08," he told journalists here on Monday.

Jambu Keshan was shot dead by a masked assailant near his father's restaurant in Taman Rishah at about 7.15am on Sunday.

SAC Mohd Dzuraidi said police have taken statements from two witnesses and believed that there were more than two suspects involved in the shooting.

"We are still trying to identify the suspects involved and we believe more people could be involved," he said.

He assured that the situation was still under control and would remain so.


Raising the bar of education

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 03:08 PM PDT

Push in the right direction: It is proposed that students be approached based on their abilities and capabilities to hone their talents.

(The Star) - Among the factors that will assist the government to improve the quality of education is to intensify internal and external performance management with a clear Key Performance Index that places high expectations on every individual.

The implementation of the Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2015 will elevate the country's education system to the top third of the world's best education systems.

National Education Dialogue panellist Datuk Kamal D E Quadra said the plan outlines various aspirations through 11 shifts implemented in three waves to meet the needs of all citizens and to develop the country.

He said the government has taken a bold step to transform the education system for the better.

"It will benefit Malaysia and Malaysians. If everything is put in place as proposed in the blueprint, we should be moving towards the right direction," he said.

Among the factors that will assist the government to improve the quality of education is to intensify internal and external performance management with a clear Key Performance Index that places high expectations on every individual.

The system will emphasise on capability building to help individuals achieve their goals, reward outstanding performance and address the problem of low performance with greater tact.

Kamal, who has 41 years' experience in education, said students should be approached based on their abilities and capabilities.

"There is no point of pushing them too hard because they may just get demoralised when their peers are way ahead of them.

"And when they have reached a level where they can no longer cope, they will continue to fall," explained the Sabahan.

As such, he proposed the introduction of two syllabi – one for beginners and another for the more advanced.

"Who knows through such an approach, it would help create interest among the beginners to move further ahead to a more advanced syllabus.

"Otherwise, they are equipped with the basics, which would allow them to pull through later in life," he said.

Kamal pointed out that while Sabah students often get bad reviews for their poor command of English, "our students are doing very well in other subjects.

"So it is not fair to judge them over one bad subject".

The Yayasan Sabah College Board of Directors chairman made his proposal during the consultation period for MEB 2013-2025.

He said the approach is not meant to segregate the students, but rather to create an avenue for special attention be given to those who need more help.

On a higher level, Kamal said there is a need to further promote vocational and technical subjects and skills in line with current market needs for industrial-based sectors such as the oil and gas industry.

"Take our college as an example, we have a welding course and even before the students graduate a few companies have come to check how many graduates we can produce.

"There is a demand in that field. But sometimes, the problem lies with the parents as some do not see the job prospects.

"Society needs to change their mindset and perception on jobs. It does not mean work that dirties your hands is bad," said Kamal who was the former Sabah Education Department director.

He added that sufficient funding is necessary to ensure that teachers are equipped with the right tools.

"In the case of Sabah, we need a level playing field so both teachers in the urban and rural areas will be able to enjoy the benefits of these changes.

"I also believe that apart from improving student performance, the teachers must also be equally good. The world is changing fast and our challenge is also to modernise the teachers as well.

"They have to be tech-savvy as it would help them progress in their work."


Is Malaysia university entry a level playing field?

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 12:38 PM PDT

Mr Soh and Ms Hanie both applied to government-funded medical universities 

(BBC) - "The system should nurture talent," Mr Chong of MCA said. "Instead, we are creating generations of people who think that this country is unfair."

Soh Boon Khang scored a perfect mark of 4.0 in his high-school exams.

He was confident that this grade would allow him to become the first doctor in his Chinese family. Mr Soh wanted to become a surgeon, specialising in oncology.

He applied to medical school but did not get a single offer from a government-funded university.

"I feel very frustrated and very sad. I cried three times because I used to believe that a diligent student who excelled at academics stood to get a chance," he said.

Hanie Farhana, meanwhile, who achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 out of 4, was recently accepted into medical school.

She comes from the country's Malay majority, also known as Bumiputera. Some of her non-Bumiputera friends who scored higher marks did not get into government-funded universities, she said.

Ms Hanie felt she was given advantages over other races, such as access to certain scholarships not available to non-Bumiputeras.

"It is stated in the social contract back to independence [from the British] that Malays get special privileges and rights, whereas the non-Malays have their citizenship," she said, but added that she still worked hard and deserved her place.


'Something broken'

Malaysia is made up of 60% Bumiputeras, 23% ethnic Chinese and 7% ethnic Indians, with the remainder made up of other races.

Since Bumiputeras traditionally lag behind in education and business, under national policies, they get cheaper housing, priority in government jobs and business licenses.

Malaysia also used to set ethnic quotas in government-funded universities to ensure that more Bumiputeras had access to higher education, but that system was abolished in 2002. Since then, Malaysia's education ministry has said the system is based on merit.

Ethnic minorities dispute this. The academic year begins this month, and of the 41,573 places in government-funded universities available, 19% were awarded to ethnic Chinese and 4% to ethnic Indians. The rest of the seats were mainly allocated to Bumiputeras.

Senator Jaspal Singh, with the Malaysian Indian Congress, which is part of the governing Barisan Nasional coalition, described it as the most unfair and biased university intake for ethnic minorities in decades.

Mr Jaspal said records showed that the number of Indians who applied to government-funded universities had remained steady, but those who were offered a place had dropped by more than half compared to a decade ago under the racial quota system, where at least 8% of the public university intake were Indian.

Ethnic Chinese representatives report that their student intake went down by a third in the same period.

"This year's intake resulted in many students with [perfect scores] of 4.0 cumulative grade point averages not getting courses of their choice, or worse, not being given places at all," said Mr Jaspal. Something was broken in the system, he said.

Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan was unable to confirm or deny whether the number of Chinese and Indian students accepted into public university had gone down since 2002. But he told the BBC that this year's figures alone showed that the system was based on merit.

"The success rate of the Chinese community in university is the highest in this country," he said.

Mr Kamalanathan said of all Malaysians who applied to universities in the 2013-14 academic year, 76% of ethnic Chinese were successful compared to 72% of Bumiputeras. The success rate for ethnic Indians was 69%.

Read more at: 

‘Undergraduates should study Tanda Putera’

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 12:35 PM PDT 

(Bernama) - "The storyline should not be questioned although there are certain scenes which do affect emotions. The film is based on history, but what is important is the lesson (from the history)," he said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Razali Ibrahim has proposed that the film 'Tanda Putera" be made a topic of academic study by students and academicians at the institutions of higher learning (IPT).

He said the film could be studied from the angle of background, creative work and storyline to give a clearer understanding of how the national leaders in the past solved the problem of unity and endeavoured to develop the nation.

"It is good if it is studied, especially by undergraduates, so they can evaluate and criticise it from various perspectives and the actual meaning of the story," he told reporters after viewing the film at the Golden Screen Cinema, Midvalley, here, yesterday.

Razali, who is also Umno Youth vice-chief, watched the movie with his family and 50 IPT students and members of several non-governmental organisations representing the Chinese and Indian communities.

Razali, who is also Umno Youth IPT Bureau chairman, said he would ask the bureau to study the content of the film, which was produced by Pesona Pictures and the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas).

He said the film, directed by Suhaimi Baba, should also serve as a lesson for the current generation, particularly in understanding important events taking place in the country.

"The storyline should not be questioned although there are certain scenes which do affect emotions. The film is based on history, but what is important is the lesson (from the history)," he said.

Commenting on the action of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who tried to hinder its screening in the state, he said it should not have happened.

On the same issue, People's Progressive Party (PPP) Youth chief Harridz Mohan, who also saw the film, said the historical content in every scene in the film should be lessons to be learned and not politicised.

The screening of the film 'Tanda Putera' starring Rusdi Ramli, Zizan Nin, Faezah Elai and Linda Hashim was held up for almost two years following claims it contained negative and defamatory elements. 

'Sang Saka Malaya’ flags a challenge to sovereignty

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 12:30 PM PDT

(Bernama) - The flying of the 'Sang Saka Malaya' flags during the Merdeka Day eve celebrations in the city last Friday was described as a challenge to national sovereignty, by historian and director of Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Centre for Royal Institutional Studies, Prof.  Dr. Ramlah Adam.

"This is about the country, not politics. I feel that the group has challenged the nation's sovereignty," she said.

She was commenting on the You Tube clip circulating on social media sites which showed A Samad Said reciting poetry and an angry man bursting onto the scene and grabbing a few 'Sang Saka Malaya' flags put up nearby, on the eve of the 56th independence day at Dataran Merdeka last Friday night.

The 'Sang Saka Malaya' is a red and white flag with 12 yellow stars set in four columns reportedly proposed as Malaya's national flag by an association in the 1940s.

Commenting on the involvement of national laureate A Samad Said, Ramlah said that as a matured and respected figure, he should have been more sensitive to the struggles of his predecessors who had fought for the country's independence.

She called on the government to take stern action to curb such rampant incidents and commended the man who had been brave enough to grab the flags.

Several political analysts also voiced out that the authorities should clamp down on such activities which attempted to spark tension among the people.

They also praised the courage of the man who was seen grabbing the 'Sang Saka Malaya' flags and crumpling them up while pointing out the massive Jalur Gemilang fluttering at Dataran Merdeka as the correct one.

Universiti Sains Malaysia's deputy dean of the School of Social Sciences assoc prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said a similar incident occurred on the eve of last year's independence day.

"The authorities need to be more assertive in taking action and punish these irresponsible parties, otherwise it will seem as though we are recognising the Sang Saka Malaya flag," he said.

He said those who understood the significance of our history and upheld our sovereignty would not behave thus as the national flag was a symbol of the country.

A similar stance was expressed by Mara University of Technology, Faculty of Media Communication Studies, senior lecturer assoc prof Dr Ismail Sualman who said that the blatant action clearly demonstrated the lack of enforcement by authorities.

"Leaders can change from time to time … but efforts to change the flag is mindless. No country has ever done it, as the national flag is the most important symbol of any country," he said.

Meanwhile, Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia president Amir Amsaa Alla Pitchay said severe punishment should be imposed on those who kept mocking the Malaysian flag, in order to deter others.

"The government should not keep quiet anymore. They should take stern action against anyone who does not respect our flag. Do not allow this situation to spread," he said.

Revoke Samad Said's title

Cheras Umno division chief Syed Ali Al – Habshee praised the brave man and said his action proved that there were Malaysians who dared to defend the flag single handedly in the face of an irresponsible group.

He called on the Home Minister to investigate the incident and arrest the perpetrators and revoke their citizenships.

Whereas, Gagasan Pendidikan Melayu Malaysia secretary-general Syed Anuar Syed Mohamad urged the government to consider revoking the national laureate title conferred on A  Samad Said.

"The government is the one who conferred the title on him, but he (A Samad Said) constantly disputes their policies. He should be a role model instead," he said.

A similar incident involving the 'Sang Saka Malaya' flag took place on the eve of last year's Merdeka Day, following which more than 400 police reports were lodged.

Although some cases were investigated under the Sedition Act, no suspects have been charged so far. 


Ringgit declines most in Asia as Fed seen paring debt purchases

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 12:29 PM PDT 

(Bloomberg) - Malaysia's ringgit dropped the most in Asia on speculation that outflows will accelerate on prospects of a reduction in US monetary stimulus this month. Government bonds retreated.

American employers added 180,000 jobs in August, after an increase of 162,000 in July, a Bloomberg survey showed before a September 6 report. The Federal Open Market Committee meets September 17-18 to review the policy known as quantitative easing. Global funds cut holdings of Malaysian government and corporate debt in July by the most since September 2011, central bank data show. The Obama administration is on a campaign to persuade US lawmakers that a military strike against Syria is justified.

"Markets think non-farm payrolls would affirm, rather than subtract from, sentiments that QE taper would be started," said Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in Singapore. "They are still watching the very dynamic and evolving situation with regard to Syria."

The ringgit retreated 0.2 per cent, the most among the 11 most-traded Asian currencies, to 3.2927 per dollar as of 10:23am in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, fell eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 9 per cent.

Foreign ownership of Malaysian securities declined 5.7 per cent to RM216 billion in July, Bank Negara figures show. Overseas investors hold 28 per cent of the nation's government bonds, compared with 18 per cent for Thailand, according to central bank data.

The yield on the 3.26 per cent sovereign notes due March 2018 advanced two basis points to 3.70 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

- See more at: 

Why would I waste diesel when I can sell it, says workshop owner

Posted: 01 Sep 2013 08:51 AM PDT

Polluted: The blackened oil spill booms used to contain the diesel in Sungai Selangor. 

(The Star) - Mok, 55, said he repaired his own lorries at the workshop on the 1.21 ha of agricultural land, claiming that he was a sub-contractor for the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) where his lorries were used to transport solid and industrial waste.

The owner of the workshop at Jalan Batu Arang in Rawang, allegedly responsible for the diesel spillage into Sungai Selangor, has blamed his workers for the spill.

The owner, who wanted to be known only as Mok, said he had sacked four workers for being "irresponsible".

"Why would I deliberately pour diesel into the river when I could have sold it? This is the first time such an incident has happened in the 13 years since I started operating," he said yesterday.

Mok said he was sorry for the negligence but denied it was a deliberate act.

"I was shocked when I read the news that the diesel spillage was the cause of the water disruption that affected millions," he said.

However, he was sceptical that the spillage was the main reason for the water disruption.

"I feel I have been wronged as the blame has been put entirely on me," he said.

He claimed that the diesel leaked from his lorries and flowed into the drain in the factory's compound.

"When the Department of Environment (DOE) came to check, my workers then unclogged the drain. However, by unclogging it, the diesel flowed into the main drains which seeped into the river," he claimed.

Mok, 55, said he repaired his own lorries at the workshop on the 1.21 ha of agricultural land, claiming that he was a sub-contractor for the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) where his lorries were used to transport solid and industrial waste.

He said he also repaired roll-on/roll-off containers and waste compactors there. He added that the two tankers, taken as evidence by DOE, were actually used to store the diesel that the workers had tried to clean up from the drain.

When asked if he was operating the workshop illegally, he said: "There is no need to apply for a licence as I do not conduct any business activities there. I only repair my own lorries. It is not as though I am running a business to repair lorries."

He denied that he had been collecting waste engine oil and reprocessing it as stated by MPS. He said he would meet with MPS today to discuss the next course of action and plans to lodge a police report to explain his side of the story.

"I will leave the place within three months as I had earlier sold the land," he said.

It was reported yesterday that Selangor state secretary Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi had said they would take the sternest possible action against the culprit responsible for spilling diesel into Sungai Selangor.

He said they were even looking at the possibility of seizing the land (on which the business is sited) if the law permitted it.

MPS president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain had alleged that the owner had been collecting waste engine oil and reprocessing it, adding that they had seized 20 items, consisting mainly of heavy machinery.

The council has previously slapped the owner with 14 compounds amounting to RM34,000.


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