FMT report on Orang Asli kids: Suhakam to probe

Source: FMT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has initiated an investigation into a news portal report titled “Education of Orang Asli Kids Being Neglected” to verify the facts of the case.

The news article published yesterday by Free Malaysia Today contained an allegation of abuse by a teacher against an Orang Asli student who was forced to eat glass as punishment for unintentionally breaking a school window pane.

In a statement today, Suhakam said the allegation was raised at a workshop organised by Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) in Pos Piah, Perak, on Aug 28, during which a representative of the commission was present.

“The finding of the commission’s investigation will be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities so that appropriate action would be taken against any person who is found guilty,” it said.

Address death threats against human rights defenders — Joint Action Group for Gender Equality

Source: The Malay Mail Online

SEPT 23 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) stands in solidarity with Maria Chin Abdullah, the chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, and denounces in the strongest terms the death threats made against her.

Mohd Ali Baharom, aka Ali Tinju, allegedly said to aFree Malaysia Today reporter, among other things, that Maria may “no longer walk on this earth” and that there would be an “ambush”. He later claimed to have been misquoted, but a recording and transcript published by FMT appear to prove otherwise.

The phrases uttered by Mohd Ali Baharom, including “Don’t challenge us or we will make it so that her legs point upwards and her head points downward to the ground” (“Jangan cabar kami nanti kami akan buatkan kaki dia ke atas, kepala ke bawah jalan”), are direct and clear threats of violence against Maria.

We note that this is not the first time Ali Tinju has made public threats of violence. In 2015, he urged a group of people in a gathering at Low Yat Plaza to unite and “attack the DAP Chinese who are rude”.

There have also been multiple instances of other violent threats made against Malaysians exercising their fundamental rights, with women being targeted for sexual violence. Read more

Rebranding the Vernacular Education in Malaysia — Michelle Chan

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY MICHELLE CHAN

An opinion piece - file pic

An opinion piece – file pic

SEPT 23 — Education is the basis of constructing and developing a nation.

Since independence, Malaysia’s multi-ethnic society has been buttressed by its education system; an education system with one special feature, various stream schools that allow the main ethnic groups to retain their mother-tongue education throughout at least the primary level.

On one hand, critics view this as one of the main hindrances toward realising national unity.

On the other hand, supporters argue that language is intrinsic in retaining our respective cultural identities and is uncorrelated with the formation of national unity.

Here, it is said that it is not the issue of language use that could lead to national disunity, but rather discrepancies in ideology.

Despite the controversies surrounding the issue of vernacular education, Malaysia needs a shared consensus to its approach towards its education system.

However, what are the positions we should be taking to satisfy all parties?

Drawing upon current and past experiences will help us to find the best-practice and feasible solutions here.  Read more

Can the Election Commission relocate you to another polling district? — Puthan Perumal

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY PUTHAN PERUMAL

A Creative Commons image

A Creative Commons image

SEPT 23 — One question that all of us Malaysians ask ourselves is this: how do I get involved in the process of redrawing electoral boundaries?

Contrary to popular belief, we do have a say in the review of the division of constituencies.

Most of us are perhaps not aware of, or have simply overlooked, the importance of the 13th Schedule to the Federal Constitution.

Article 113 (2)(i) of the Federal Constitution states that the Election Commission shall, from time to time, as it deems necessary, review the division of the Federation and the States into constituencies and recommend such changes therein as it thinks necessary in order to comply with the provisions contained in the Thirteenth Schedule.

The important aspect to note is there is power given to the Election Commission to review the division of the Federation and the States into constituencies.

The Election Commission lately, as I understand it, has made proposals not to review the division of the Federation and the States , but to relocate voters to different polling districts.

Is the Election Commission allowed to do that under the Federal Constitution? Read more

This is what public housing looks like

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Rizal Ramli, Nor Azizah Karin and two of their seven children pose for a picture at their Kota Damansara PPR unit. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Rizal Ramli, Nor Azizah Karin and two of their seven children pose for a picture at their Kota Damansara PPR unit. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, Sept 23 — Rizal Ramli lives in a cramped 700 sq ft flat in Kota Damansara here with his seven children and pregnant wife.

The paint on the front door of the 36-year-old man’s three-bedroom People’s Housing Programme (PPR) unit is peeling and clothes are strewn all over the floor as there are no cupboards anywhere. In fact, there isn’t even a dining table, chairs or a TV.

The walls are also covered with children’s scribbles because they have no colouring books or even paper to draw on.

“I haven’t been paying rent since 2011,” Rizal told Malay Mail Online. Rizal — who only earns about RM1,000 a month selling fried food like chicken nuggets and potato wedges cooked by his wife — said rent was doubled from RM124 to RM250 a month in 2011 without any discussion with the residents.

“We can’t afford to pay RM250,” he said.

He said the management — Perumahan Dan Hartanah Selangor Sdn Bhd (PHSSB), a subsidiary of state-owned Lembaga Perumahan dan Hartanah Selangor (LPHS) that took over management and operations of the building in May 2013 from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) — has tried to evict his family two or three times, but were unsuccessful as they didn’t have a court order. Read more