At the crossroads – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: TheSunDaily

(Deputy President, HAKAM)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” – thus Charles Dickens starts his novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

WITH all that is going on around us, these words written in 1859 seem to conjure up many social parallels with life today.

The best of times? Starkly visible impressive structures reaching to the sky. Townships sprouting like mushrooms after the rain; the ubiquitous though dubious hallmarks that we have arrived – fast-food outlets in rapidly-proliferating shopping havens. The proverbial “blooming of a thousand flowers” – the ISA expunged, space opened up for the growth of NGOs and the social media, and rallies of thousands not uncommon any more. A true breath of a revitalised democracy to lead up to the jewel in the crown – the promise that in five years our country will ascend to the ranks of a “developed country”!

The worst of times? A sense of lawlessness everywhere that threatens to rip society asunder. Read more

Council behind National Harmony Bills clueless about planned new law

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — The National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) that was commissioned by Putrajaya to draw up legislation on national harmony is unaware of plans to introduce such laws in October.

Despite sharing the same name as the National Harmony Bills that the council drafted last year, members of the NUCC said it was unclear whether the proposed law is based on its work in part, in whole or even at all.

“The NUCC proposed a National Harmony Bill, but I am not sure if the one proposed by the minister is a different one.

“We have no knowledge of it,” NUCC deputy chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye told Malay Mail Online via text message.

Separately, NUCC chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said he was informed that the law Putrajaya is planning to introduce will be “completely different” from what his council proposed, although other members of the organisation have not been similarly told.

On Saturday, national news agency Bernama reported Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup’s announcement that a law aimed at fostering national unity among the people is expected to be tabled in Parliament in the coming session. Read more