BACK there on the colourful streets of Sentul, an auntie extends a large plastic bag weighted with plump curry puffs. "Ambik! Ambik!" she gestures, insisting that bashful walkers load up on their carbo-fuel for the journey ahead. She's from the neighbourhood, you can tell, who's simply out greeting her guests. Back there just metres from the Chow Kit Monorail, a drinks and fruit seller guides his vehicle into the thick of the moving crowd. He stops. One hand waving to the people around him, the other grabbing packets of pre-cut fresh fruit, he offers: "Ambik! Ambik!" There is the pakcik in his jubah on Jalan TAR, a crate of mineral water before him. Same gesture, same words pretty much.
Something's different today. You feel this is one special Sunday.
This is Straw Hat culture. Unyielding in principle and unbounded in warmth.
The proposed Social Inclusion Act (SIA) is an initiative by SABM and HAKAM to address increasing poverty and marginalisation plaguing Malaysia. At its core, the SIA seeks to redirect social welfare decisions and programmes away from the centre and place it much closer to the hands of the people who need it the most.
PSM was among the four political parties (PRM, SAPP, STAR Sabah) which readily endorsed the proposed SIA and have included the agenda in their GE13 manifesto. We asked S Arutchelvan, PSM Secretary-General to share his views.
Kinship: Teoh Lee Lan, sister of death in custody victim Teoh Beng Hock, observing a minute's silence in memory of her brother's and the dozens of others untimely demise.
By Victor Low
IT is 16th July 2013, roughly 7.30pm, on the middle span Leboh Pasar Besar Bridge. Soon after the Muezzin's call for the breaking of fast rang through an emptied out downtown Kuala Lumpur, a group of Anak Bangsa Malaysia listened in silent reflection to the following tune sung and composed by Saudara M.V. Nathan:
Mengapa aku dipukul dan dicederakan?
Mengapa harus ku mati di dalam tahanan;
Bukankah engkau sama seperti aku;
Mengharapkan simpati dan balas kasihan insan.
Could these be desperate pleas by those countless silent victims of death in custody? Powerless to the unbridled abuse and torture of their gaolers. We will never know. As they say, dead men tell no tales.
INSOFAR as the integrity of institutions go, it's been an ugly two weeks. The Election Commission, entrusted to be independent, has been dismal in performing its duties; from the indelible ink fiasco to the silence on foreign voters flooding in over the last couple of days. The mainstream media is guilty of running fear-mongering ads. So many government agencies have been exploited to aid the incumbent political coalition party return to power.
This isn't how a self-styled 'best democracy in the world' ought to work.
Yes, it's been ugly but it also underscores the amount of work we have to do post GE13. We.
WE are far from realizing the vision set forth in this historic document proclaimed by Parliament on the 31st August 1970.
OUR NATION, MALAYSIA, being dedicated:-
To achieving a greater unity of all her peoples; To maintaining a democratic way of life; To creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared; To ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions; and To building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology;
Forty three years have passed since the Rukunegara (and the NEP as the policy instrument) were presented as the way forward towards rebuilding the nation after the trauma of 1969. Whilst we can argue about the how we have fared in all of the above aspirations, our concern must necessarily be with the objective to create “a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared”. Let us examine the evidence using household income distribution.
The current population of 29 million can be divided into approximately 6.5 million households. Official data (DOSM,2012) reveal that the ‘Bottom 40%’ (2.6 million households) has an average monthly income RM 1,847 compared to RM 12,159 for the ‘Top 20%’ (1.3 million households). The Income Share of the ‘Bottom 40%’ is 14.8% compared to the 51.4% share of the ‘Top 20%’ households. And the ‘Top10%’ of households has an income share of 32.3% compared to 1.9% for the ‘Bottom 10%’ households. This yawning income inequality gap is a recipe for disaster in any society!
Today, almost forty percent of our people are still trapped in the inter-generational cycle of poverty and inequality. Poor and Low Income households comprising almost 14 million Anak Bangsa Malaysia lack the capability to overcome the multi-dimensional disadvantages they face on a daily basis. Their upward mobility is severely constrained due to the inadequate asset base that includes low levels of education and skills, poor nutrition and health; and unwholesome living conditions.
A host of social ills associated with dysfunctional families from this stratum of our society is becoming evident. Increasing rates of substance abuse, delinquency and dropouts, child abuse, crime and mental illnesses, are clear indicators that something is amiss in our society.
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