Sunday, September 22, 2013

Zuraida to Seai Kei: Reflect on your own backyard first

Parti Keadilan Rakyat is a democratic party where leaders are elected based on a direct one-for-one vote, also the first political party in Malaysia to empower such voting rights to its members.
Any member of the party may also contest for the president’s seat if he or she wishes so.
Perhaps Heah is unaware of the meaning ‘sexist’, contextually or otherwise as the word itself bears no relation to whether or not Wan Azizah decides to contest in the next party elections.
How sexist is sexist, how disgusting is disgusting - let the people judge
How much ‘disgust’ she feels is also irrelevant especially as the whole country witnessed not too long ago the extra-marital affair with the release of a video tape sex-scandal of the MCA Chairman, Chua Soi Lek with a younger woman half his age.
Does Heah feel a sense of accomplishment and esteem over her party Chairman’s actions? How much equality does she think that is? And how much respect does that amount to towards a woman?
Heah should also be reminded that Prime Minister Najib Razak became the first man to helm the Women Ministry in the history of Malaysian politics and might perhaps be the world’s first man to hold that position too.
Does Heah feel dignified, proud, approve and support such a decision made by the Prime Minister to rob women from a position meant for women? This is still the biggest insult made towards women in the 21st century in terms of women’s rights and equality.
When Heah was still the Deputy Minister in the Women Ministry prior to November 2012, she had failed to uphold the women's rights nor did she protest against the various sexist remarks made by the BN backbenchers in parliament.
How could Heah, in her capacity as a Deputy Women Minister accept with dignity derogatory terms such as 'bocor' and other insinuating or snide remarks made by her colleagues and still say nothing to defend the rights of the women?
Reflect on the misdeeds in your own backyard first
As the publicity spokesperson for MCA, Heah should reflect on the wrong-doings of her own coalition party before trying to seek publicity.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat was initially founded on the basis of injustices stacked against the then newly-sacked former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. The party’s struggles were to restore justice to the judiciary and other branches of administration in the country.
As a party that firmly believes in upholding equality and justice, it is easy to see the difference between leaders who really fight for such values as opposed to just having the ‘dacing’ or party logo which symbolizes justice but practices otherwise.
In Parti Keadilan Rakyat, it is the spirit of reform that burns through the people’s hearts and that is the very fire that has sustained the party through the years since 1999.
True equality
It is not only Wan Azizah’s wish to see Anwar in parliament as the Permatang Pauh MP but the wishes of the rakyat as well. Anwar Ibrahim resides in the hearts of all Permatang Pauh constituents.
What can be said about Wan Azizah is that she has been, all these while, the symbol of inner strength, unity and resilience towards the unjust and unyielding government that oppresses its citizens through every known government machinery and heavy-handed methods like the ISA, detention without trial.
Wan Azizah will always remain as an icon of hope to every man and woman in the country who wishes to see change.
As the founder and president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Wan Azizah has provided optimism and courage to many women to participate in politics, a male-dominated arena. She has shown the nation that truly, behind every successful man, there is a woman. That woman behind Anwar is her, and we are proud of that.
That, Datuk Heah, is equality.
YB Zuraida Kamaruddin
Ketua Wanita Parti Keadilan Rakyat

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Pakatan is ready with new leaders by YB Zuraida Kamaruddin

Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir is getting ahead of himself with his description of ‘dinosaurs’ from Pakatan Rakyat. At 49 years old, he should know better than to call other people names like ‘dinosaurs’ when he is approaching ‘zaman dinosaur’ himself, in addition to having ‘bapa dinosaur’ as his mentor.

As if Mukhriz is not already aware, Pakatan Rakyat has a strong and good line-up of leaders who are even more capable and progressive in their approach and thinking. Ranking among the most outstanding and outspoken leaders who notoriously speak without fear or favour are Rafizi Ramli, Sim Tze Tzin, Surendren and Ong Kian Ming, to name a few. 

However, what is most disturbing is that Mukhriz feels thrilled that he could extend his father’s struggles. The country has left Tun Dr. Mahathir in a bygone era but yet Mukhriz is still trying to relive and glorify a past that has left a bad after-taste in everyone’s mouths.

Who can forget the stranglehold that Tun had on the country during his 22 years of dictatorship? The only reason for Pak Lah’s big win in 2004 was only because the country felt that there was a glimmer of hope for change as Tun had inadvertently driven the country into a dismal abyss of despair with his megalomaniacal style of management.

Nobody should forget how Tun mismanaged public funds and how the effects of its failed financial initiatives have affected the country up to this day. Companies like Proton, Pewaja Steel, UEM, MAS, DRB-Hicom, Renong and the Bakun Dam project failed miserably yet Mukhiz has intentions to continue this form of ‘legacy’? No, thank you.

Cronyism flourished during Tun’s tenure and the judiciary was fraught with allegations of injustice and non-compliance. Tun’s best friend was Mugabe, the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe who was also accused of political crimes against his country. Tun had also admitted to giving Mugabe RM34 million worth of rare timber from Malaysia to build his 25-room private mansion and there are also reports on 10 million pounds belonging to Mugabe in Malaysian bank accounts.

With such associations and many more, the country will do itself injustice to put trust into this family again. While having the ‘surname’ Mahathir may seem beneficial to Mukhriz, it actually sends a cold shiver down the rakyat’s spines to even imagine a return of the Mahathir dynasty.

YB Zuraida Kamaruddin
Ketua Wanita Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Press Statement on Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025 by YB Zuraida Kamarudin

Press Statement on Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025 by YB Zuraida Kamarudin

National unity no doubt starts with a good education plan but this does not necessarily mean that we should curtail people’s rights to choose the type of education suitable for their children. The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2015 launched by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on 6th September must be carefully reviewed and agreed upon by various parties to avoid public discontent.

The Keadilan Women’s Wing recognizes and acknowledges Bahasa Malaysia as the national language but at the same time takes into consideration the multiracial and multi-cultural composition of the country. It is therefore our view that without compromising the importance of Bahasa Malaysia and with support towards the freedom of choice that we request Tan Sri Muhyiddin to revise the Malaysia Education Blueprint for the benefit of all citizens.

While all national schools use the Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction, the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) guarantees the existence of vernacular schools. This provision allows such national-type Chinese and Tamil schools the freedom to use their mother-tongue as the main medium of instruction.

The Ministry of Education states in its report that as of June 2011, there are 5,853 National Schools, 1,291 National-type Chinese Schools and 523 National-type Tamil Schools.

According to statistics published in the Malaysia Education Blueprint, the proficiency of Bahasa Malaysia for a minimum credit for SPM is as follows:  Bumiputera students 84%, Chinese 63% and Indian 57%.
It is roughly estimated that Malaysia is comprised of 5.1 million students registered in public schools and that Bumiputeras make up about 60%, Chinese 23% and Indians 7%. Hence, the total estimated students who are Bumiputeras that do not meet the criteria are more or less the same as the non-Bumiputeras.

It is with this that we should reconsider our priorities in setting the standards of Bahasa Malaysia as the figures clearly show that it is not due to the vernacular schools that the country does not meet 100% of the language proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia. The love for the national language can only be instilled by a reciprocal love and respect towards the freedom of choice.

We hope that this will convince Tan Sri Muhyiddin to approach and make suitable revisions to the Malaysia Educational Blueprint.

YB Zuraida Kamarudin


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Press Statement on the withdrawal of Azalina to contest for Wanita Umno head by YB Zuraida Kamaruddin

Press Statement on the withdrawal of Azalina to contest for Wanita Umno head by YB Zuraida Kamaruddin

Barely one month after stating her intention to contest for the top Wanita post in UMNO, Azalina retracted her intention to contest against Sharizat due to ‘advice’ from top leadership. If this is not called ‘internal’ intervention, what is?

Jumping to Azalina’s defence is Puteri UMNO head Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin who said in the Malay Mail yesterday 16/9/13 that Azalina’s decision to withdraw was due to her realization that the contest would create splits among the leaders in the movement. She also stressed that top UMNO top leadership ‘had from the start practiced the policy of non-intervention in the election of leaders for the party wings’. This is contradictory to what Azalina herself tweeted that her decision was made after being ‘advised’.

This so-called non-interference and internal negotiations which prompted Azalina to withdraw is no slight matter. What must be highlighted is that according to an article published in FMT by Jeswan Kaur dated 15/9/13, Azalina has been offered a top GLC post in exchange for her withdrawal.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the style of leadership in UMNO for it to be seen as progressive and forward moving. How can Wanita UMNO improve with the same tarnished leaders and without consideration to the abortion of the democratic development?

When Azalina accepted the advice of the top leadership to make way for ‘no-contest’ of the top position, this shows that the UMNO Women wing is spineless and voiceless, in addition to the Women’s wing being perceived as weak with no other better option than to offer an icon of corruption and desolation.

Such internal negotiation not only encourages cronyism but continues to promote and fuel the culture which is adverse toward a country’s growth. It poses as a hindrance and dampens the country’s democratic process.
This sets a precedence that can be seen as opportunity for other members who feel that by just mentioning to challenge for the top leadership post, she will be rewarded accordingly.

Quite immediately after Azalina’s withdrawal, Raihan Sulaiman, a member of the Kulim Bandar Bharu UMNO division stepped forward to lay claims to being the new challenger to Sharizat. She mentioned that when the news about the scandal-ridden NFC (National Feedlot Corporation) broke out, she thinks in way that it had tarnished UMNO’s name.

In this respect, I find it odd that while even UMNO members and the public find the association of the NFC scandal and Sharizat to be disgusting, the Prime Minister, Najib Razak conversely chooses to throw his support behind a ‘scandal-ridden’ personality to helm the UMNO Wanita top post.

As Rafidah Aziz said, Wanita UMNO needs a more credible talent for the top post.

If at all Sharizat  has any dignity left, she should relinquish all her posts and allow new capable leaders to emerge.

YB Zuraida Kamaruddin
Ketua Wanita Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Press Statement in reply to Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat by YB Zuraida

Press Statement in reply to Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat by YB Zuraida Kamaruddin, Ketua Wanita PKR

With reference to the statement made by Datuk Rohani published by Bernama dated 13/9/13, she had concurred and defended the police that they had acted within their jurisdiction even though school children from Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Pristina, Sungai Buloh in Selangor were questioned without the consent or presence of their parents.

Act 611, also known as the Child Act (2001) defines a child as a person below the age of 18 and is entitled to protection and assistance in all circumstances without regard to distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, social origin or physical, mental or emotional disabilities or any other status

In Section 17 (2b), it is stated that a child is considered as emotionally injured if there is substantial and observable impairment of the child’s mental or emotional functioning that is evidenced by, amongst other things, a mental or behavioural disorder,including anxiety, depression, withdrawal, aggression or delayed development.

It is therefore my view that the police had acted in a manner which is detrimental to the children's well-being and have therefore subjected these children to undue stress and emotional trauma without first getting the consent of their parents or guardian to produce these children at the police station for any further inquiries into their investigations.

As law enforcers, the police have been rather inconsiderate and have not taken into account the anxiety and shock that the children may encounter while being questioned by the police in a manner which seemed very uncharacteristic, secretive and deceptive.

It is also only right that the children be provided with sufficient protection to the amount of interrogation they were subject to and a right to the presence of a lawyer if necessary. Minors are usually unaware of the consequences of the law and while they have a right to remain silent, the children may not be fully aware of their rights. In this case, the police had taken advantage of the situation instead and infringed on the rights of the children by questioning them without proper precautionary measures.

Datuk Rohani, as the Minister for Women's Development, Family and Community has failed to understand these basic and fundamental rights pertaining to the welfare of these children. Her defense towards the PDRM shows her lack of concern towards women, family and the community. 

I hope that the police will issue an apology to the parents and publicly apologize to the parents of these children and give an assurance to the public that this will never happen again.

YB Zuraida Kamaruddin
Ketua Wanita PKR