The DAP continued today its drive to dig up more dirt on the academic qualifications of its political rivals from Barisan Nasional (BN), claiming the degrees of both deputy ministers in the Foreign Ministry had being bought from suspect universities.
A day after accusing A. Kohilan Pillay of buying his Master of Science in Commerce and Industrial Economy from Pacific Western University in the United States, DAP election strategist Ong Kian Ming alleged that the Puchong candidate had obtained a fake bachelor’s degree.
Ong also alleged that Kohilan’s colleague in the same ministry, Datuk Richard Riot Jaem, had gained his academic credentials from a well-known “bogus university”.
“In other words, both our deputy foreign ministers have not one but two degrees from dubious universities!” the opposition politician said in a statement.
“Such behaviour is totally unethical and unacceptable for any leader, not to mention two national leaders that are supposed to represent our nation on the international stage!” he added.
Ong chided the two deputy ministers for being so bold as to list their paper qualifications on the ministry’s website, noting that a simple background check revealed the universities that had awarded the duo their degrees to be suspect.
Connaught University in the Republic of Ireland from where Kohilan was said to have got his Bachelor of Economics does not have a website and had been among a list of “dubious institutions” in a 2009 investigation by local daily The Star along with the Pacific Western University where the BN man had got his master’s degree, Ong said.
Richard, the incumbent MP for Serian in Sarawak, was alleged to have bought his both his Bachelor of Business Administration from the Chartered Institute of Business Administration (Ireland), Teoranta in 1994 and his Master of Business Administration from Preston University in the US.
Ong also claimed that Nicole Wong, another BN hopeful for the Seputeh federal seat, owned “invalid degrees” from “unauthorised schools”, raising doubt over her MBA from the West Coast University Panama.
He reiterated his call on the BN nominees to withdraw from taking part in the May 5 election.
“Not having a degree does not disqualify someone from being a candidate.
“But having lied about how one has obtained a degree most certainly disqualifies a person, from an integrity standpoint, from being a candidate,” he said.
When it comes to hoodwinking the rakyat, no one does it better than Barisan Nasional, as evident from the hogwash revealed through the coalition’s 13th general election manifesto.
Not only does BN had the audacity to continue to lie to the people, its irresponsibility in claiming credit for things done is clear hint that the party has no intention of doing anything by the book.
BN’s manifesto, launched on April 7, is supposedly THE word given by the ruling party of action and policies that would be executed should it win the 2013 general election.
The BN manifesto promises improvement in just about every area, be it public transport, housing, education, easing the cost of living, making health services accessible, enhancing security and public safety, fighting corruption, promoting Islam, religious freedom and harmony and strengthening women’s participation.
However, going by BN’s refusal to deal with the above issues head-on during its five-year tenure post-2008, there is no assurance that the promises made in its “administration plan” are for real.
Take, for example, the issue of enhancing public transport. Tearing down buildings to make way for more train stations is not going to solve the problem until and unless the country’s public transport operators start paying respect to time and swear upon punctuality.
Ask any commuter of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) train services to rate the service provided and the reply will only be a sigh for KTM is notoriously lousy when it comes to punctuality.
Is the BN government not aware of the unsatisfactory service given by KTM to the rakyat? If it is, why then was there no improvement from 2008 until the country went into election mode?
Likewise, claims by BN that health services will be accessible to the rakyat cannot be taken at face value. Merely setting up the Klinik 1Malaysia is not good enough: are the doctors and nurses being overworked and underpaid or are they pleased to serve the rakyat?
BN manifesto lacks vision
Also, do the natives in rural areas and those living in the interiors of Sarawak have access to such clinics?
By the way, have the methadone replacement and needle exchange programmes really halved new cases of HIV since 2005?
Looks like the shameful defeat in the 2008 general election has not taught BN any lesson: had it done so, the party would have treaded cautiously on the issue of religious freedom as guaranteed under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
Time has over and over proven that BN has never bothered extending respect to the other races, as evident from the fact that the 13th general election is slated on a Sunday, a day when Christians congregate in churches.
In its manifesto, BN displays no vision of promoting racial tolerance between Malaysians of diverse faiths. Instead, the concern is to continue to uphold Islam as the religion of the Federation and ensure that the country’s identity as a Muslim nation remains unchallenged.
While the Federal Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, has this aspect truly been upheld as far as BN is concerned?
The raids on events organised by the non-Malays and the proselytisation accusations hurled at them are no reflection of a government that upholds the tenets of the constitution.
The verbal abuses and threats made by the Malays against the non-Malays of this country who dare question Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which assures Malay rights and privileges have never worried the ruling BN goverment.
The condemnations and threats to burn the Malay bibles that used the word “Allah” too saw no reaction from the BN government led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
BN’s respect for women yet to come
BN in backing up its 13th general election manifesto says it has thus far recognised religious celebrations as national events and holidays: if it is indeed so, why then the reluctance to declare the Hindu festival of Thaipusam a national holiday, unlike at present where only certain states gazette it as a public holiday?
In its manifesto, too, BN claims it will work at eradicating sexual harassment and provide women a more secure sense of being.
Not only that, should BN return to power in the 13th general election, it will promote gender equality to maximise the potential of Malaysians in all fields, gender regardless.
On both accounts, BN has failed its women voters: in the case of sexual harassment, nothing was done by BN when the Labour Department director-general ridiculed the need for a Sexual Harassment Act.
It was also BN that remained mute when its politicians including those holding ministerial posts were implicated in sexual harassment and rape cases.
Can Najib tell the rakyat why BN refused to punish these perpetrators and why nothing was done to put an end to the rapes involving the Penan women and girls in Sarawak?
The lust for power is synonymous with BN and this is evident from the about-turn made by the party in declaring that it will in the next five years focus on promoting gender equality to tap the potential of Malaysians across the board. Whatever happened to BN’s intensive witch-hunt against the LGBT (lesbians, gays, biseuxals and transgenders) communities post-Seksualiti Merdeka festival in 2011?
In its 13th general election manifesto, is BN giving its word that it will finally give the marginalised LGBT communties the much deserved respect by acknowedging their capabilities?
Ending corruption – is BN joking?
In its manifesto, BN has declared that eradicating graft has been the government’s highest priority – this by far is the worst joke coming from BN.
From Najib to the head of states, the rakyat is aware of their “penchant” for “under the table” money.
The Scorpene submarines purchase and the corruption involving senior Umno leaders to the “never say no to graft” attitude of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to the richness enjoyed by the BN politicians: can BN honestly say it is fighting corruption that has long taken root in this country?
The truth is BN enjoys corruption and has no intention of putting an end to it.
The 13th general election manifesto with all its claims is nothing more than BN’s modus operandi of making a fool of the rakyat, of promising them a good life which the party has no desire of making it happen.
Ubah, Selamatkanlah Malaysia!
Bersama kita pahatkan sejarah
Buka lembaran baru
Sama-sama kita menuju
Perubahan di tangan mu.
Women voters who love to have their fingernails beautifully painted with an assortment of designs should not go for manicure for the time being as polling for the 13th general election is on May 5.
The advice from state Election Commission (EC) director Datuk Takun Sunggah is: “Don’t paint your nails!”
His advice has basis for at the polling centre an indelible ink would be applied on their left index finger before ballot papers are issued to them to cast their votes.
This is in line with one of the provisions of the Election Regulations (Conduct of Elections) (Amendment) 2012 which was gazetted in February, 2012.
“All voters will be painted with the indelible ink. If they refused, no ballot paper will be issued,”
Takun told The Borneo Post yesterday.
He stressed that the indelible ink must be applied on the fi ngure nail but this could not be done on nails covered with polish.
It will take at least three days, or at most four weeks, for the ink to fade.
The practice is meant to prevent the possibility of foul play of voting twice or more.
Takun said two different colours of indelible ink would be used in the coming election and the EC was keeping the colours a `top secret’ to prevent unnecessary complications from arising.
One colour would be used for early voting, on April 30, and the other on May 5.
On the number of nomination papers sold thus far, Takun said as of Thursday, the state EC had sold 127 sets.
These forms, which need to be filled and submitted to the EC on nomination day – April 20 – by the candidates, cost RM20 each. Takun said he had no information which EC offices had sold the most number of copies.
“(There is also) no record of which party bought these forms because they (those purchasing) came as individuals.”
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia”s hybrid airline, Malindo Air is offering an extension of its special fares to and from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, for voters to return home to vote in the 2013 General Election.
Polling day is on May 5.
The special fares to Kuching from RM78 and from RM108 to Kota Kinabalu is available for immediate booking for travel between now and July 31, the airline said in a statement.
The one way all-in-fare is applicable on its 168 seats in economy on the four daily flights to and from Kuching as well as three daily flights to and from Kota Kinabalu. – BERNAMA
Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk A. Samad Said openly called on voters today to support the opposition and use this “once chance” to end Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rule in Election 2013.
This is the first time the national literary icon popularly known as Pak Samad, has openly urged Malaysians to back the federal opposition coalition to “overhaul” the government and “amend the broken machinery” like healthcare and education, which Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has promised to deliver.
“This is our chance… the time has come for us to overhaul the government to that power would fall in the right hands.
“This is our opportunity to amend the broken machinery like healthcare, education and democracy of which have been promised by the opposition,” he said at an event organised by polls reform group Bersih 2.0 here.
Bersih 2.0, a coalition of over 80 non-governmental organisations, has in the past been forced to defend itself against criticisms calling it a partisan group, largely due to the immense support it had received from PR leaders for its street protests.
The former national laureate Samad said now is a critical time for voters to ask themselves why the same coalition has ruled Malaysia for more than five decades and why is it those in power are only Malays.”I am also a Malay but I often asked why is it that the powers above me are only Malays?
“Tunku Abdul Rahman was a Malay, (Tun) Abdul Razak was a Malay, (Tun) Hussein Onn was a Malay, (Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) is not a pure Malay but can be considered a Malay.. (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) is also a Malay,” he said.
Despite a solid Malay leadership for five 56 years, Samad pointed to the racist tactic used by the ruling coalition to keep the country””s ethnic majority on its side.
“So why are we repeatedly reminded that the Malay rights will be threatened?”
The private screenings of controversial “Tanda Putera” film purportedly depicting the May 1969 racial riots only to Malays in the run up to the elections was a testimony to the racism perpetrated by the BN government, he added.
“It is to sow fear in the heart of the Malays,” he said.
Bersih 2.0 is now leading the campaign to reform Malaysia””s polling system which the coalition of rights groups claimed is rife with irregularities.
It is also launching a nationwide tour to educate voters on election laws aimed at making them “citizen observers” and reduce fraud including curbing vote-buying under its “Jom Pantau (Let””s Monitor)” campaign.
Samad pointed to widespread vote-buying when the Najib administration gave out cash handouts to key constituents under the People””s 1 Malaysia Aid (BR1M) programme which he said signalled BN””s fear that its rule would come to an end soon.
“You must ask why is it that the government had suddenly want to give out money? This government is desperate, that is why they even promised more BR1M,” he said.
Najib had said that BR1M, which started as a one-off RM500 cash aid to households earning less than RM3,000, could be an annual event if voters re-elect his coalition. In its first phase of distribution last year, the BN chairman””s approval rating stood at a high 69 per cent.
The opposition and rights group, however, saw the programme as “blatant bribery”.
“Why is it that when the elections is near, the government suddenly realised that there are so many poor people and begin to give money?” Samad said.
“Take the money, nevermind. But remember, you must look at the motive behind it. The money did not come from the ministers, they belong to the people, to this land. Do not once feel indebted to them,” he added.
Najib will be seeking to redeem BN””s record losses in the last elections through a stronger mandate, which will be his first as prime minister since he took over the ousted Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009.
Political pundits said Election 2013 will be Malaysia””s tightest polls contest to date where BN is no longer the firm favourite as it faces the strongest opposition for the first time in the country””s political history.
Najib continues to warn voters against gambling the country””s future by supporting a divided pact and an untested government.
Samad called it a scare tactic and urged voters not to cave in.
“Do not fear, we can improve democracy,” he said.
Some perceive rural women folk as docile but they may need to think twice.
Rural women have proven to be a strong force when it comes to supporting what they believe in, making them an essential group a political party would want on its side come election time.
National PKR Women vice-chairman Voon Shiak Ni said she had witnessed this strength in several of the native customary rights (NCR) land cases that were being handled by the party.
“In the struggle of NCR, we observed the important role played by women too. These women who showed up to support the cause are housewives, mothers and sisters and they have shown great courage and unwavering faith each time they come out to defend their native land from exploitation,” she told a press conference here yesterday.
She said the women knew the importance of preserving their native land for the future generation.
Voon said she witnessed the courage demonstrated by these womenfolk not once but many times.
In addition, she said that nowadays, it was the womenfolk who more often than not spearheaded the longhouses and led the villagers to defend their NCR land.
She cited the Danau Melikin case where Kampung Engsebang chief Patricia Pantau led the charge against the company that was alleged to have encroached into their NCR land.
“As the saying goes, women are the managers — from small family units to society,” she added.
On a related topic, Voon said PKR Women’s wing had recently sponsored a wheelchair for Surik Muntai, who was attacked by a group of men allegedly linked to the company said to be responsible for the encroachment.
Voon expressed concern that Surik would not be able to recover fully from multiple injuries he sustained on his hands and knees.
She claimed that until today, threats were being continuously hurled against those who offered help to Surik.
“The violence inflicted on Surik not only caused suffering to Surik but to his whole family and the people surrounding him. Much public outrage and condemnation had been generated because of the violent and irresponsible act against Surik.”