Territorial Army to expand to all 222 parliamentary constituencies

Click here at Komunitikini to read article from their site.

By BERNAMA

The Ministry of Defence plans to recruit 43,000 more Territorial Army (TA) volunteers to increase the number to 100,000 within the next five years.

Its minister, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was in line with efforts to create a ratio of one TA volunteer to one member of the armed forces from one TA volunteer to two members of the armed forces at present.

“The participation of the TA will strengthen the second line of defence as the armed forces currently has 95,000 members. This is not a national service but to inculcate the spirit of defence.

“So far, we have TA units in 172 parliamentary constituencies. We want to set up TA units in the remaining 50 constituencies,” he told reporters after launching the third and fourth TA units in the Ministry of Defence and the Cyber Media TA Platoon.

The cyber media platoon unit, which is made up of 15 journalists and media practitioners from the Klang Valley, will be extended nationwide, he said, adding that during emergency, the media not only had to cover the situation but also could play its role in psychological warfare.

Meanwhile, Bernama journalist, Nurqalby Mohd Reda, 28, who is a member of the cyber media platoon, said the TA inculcated the spirit of adventure as she experienced the life of a soldier.

– Bernama

KomunitiKini
The leading Malaysian website for news and information on community events, food, entertainment and community resources on education and development.

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Court halts Bukit Jalil Estate demolition

Click here at Komunitikini to read article from their site.

by Leven Woon on 15 March, 2011

They broke into thunderous applause on being told the news. Two-hundred residents of Bukit Jalil Estate were overjoyed on being told the court had granted them an injunction against City Hall’s demolition order on their 41 homes scheduled for today.

PKR vice-president N. Surendran announced this at 9am, hours after residents had blockaded the entrance to the estate.

Surendran said the injunction was given by KL High Court yesterday evening after the court ruled that DBKL’s eviction order was defective and thus illegal. The injunction is valid for 21 days.

“There will be a full hearing be called by court within the period, when we expect to face DBKL’s lawyer. Then the court will decide whether to revoke or extend the injunction order,” Surendran said.

“Nevertheless the battle must continue,” he added (right, in white shirt).

Earlier, the residents, dressed in orange, were chanting “we want our rights” while carrying banners against DBKL’s eviction and 1Malaysia.

Also at the rally were PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan and Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar, Human Rights Party pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar, Human Right Commissioner (Suhakam) Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah and activists.

DBKL, however, did not send any representative to the scene.

Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, a member from Lawyers for Liberty, chided the authorities for using the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969 to evict the former estate workers today.

“This should not happened because Malaysia has endorsed the International Human Rights Commission resolution 1993/77, which is a resolution against forceful eviction.

“They are doing something that opposes what they endorsed in Geneva in 1993,” she said.

Muhammad Sha’ani, while echoing Fadiah’s opinion, said DBKL should fulfil the residents’ demand for four acres of land, as they have been occupying it for generations.

“It is just four out of thousand acres of land that (DBKL) has acquired,” he said.

Suhakam has also written to DBKL to ask for its explanation of its eviction order, which is not supported by any legal provisions except the Emergency Ordinance.

Some 220 Bukit Jalil Estate residents have been struggling to keep their homes ever since the estate was first sold, to DBKL, in the 1980s. The land is now owned by Bukit Jalil Sdn Bhd, whose chairman is said to be former DBKL mayor, Kamaruzzaman Shariff.

The developer and DBKL are looking to evict the residents to develop a cemetery and property projects on the land, but are only willing to pay each household RM23,000 in compensation.

The residents rejected the offer as they claim it can barely make up for the total amount of unpaid Employee Provident Fund and Socso contributions owed to them by a government contractor.

They repeated their call for a four-acre plot of land to be given to each of them, or to compensate them with new terrace houses.

Video Bkt Jalil estate: Injunction stops demolition by Malaysiakini:

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Injunction granted, demolition thwarted

Click here at Free Malaysia Today to read article from their site.

by G Vinod, Free Malaysia Today | March 15, 2011

The Bukit Jalil estate residents obtained an interim injunction for 21 days from the court, thwarting DBKL’s plan of evicting them.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Jalil estate residents scored a minor victory this morning when the court granted an injunction against the demolition of their houses.

When lawyers N Surendran and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri told the residents about the court order, the news was greeted with a resounding applause.

Also present were Human Rights Party (HRP) pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan, Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar, Suhakam commissioner Muhammad Shaani Abdullah, MIC Youth members and scores of other activists.

There were no Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) enforcement officers at the scene.

DBKL is looking to evict some 41 families, some of whom have been living on the estate for generations.

In 1980, the government acquired the land for redevelopment and the land is said to be owned by Bukit Jalil Development Sdn Bhd.

The government offered RM23,000 each to residents who have worked on the estate for more than 15 years while the rest were offered RM11,000 each.

However, DBKL refused to grant four acres of land requested by the residents to build low cost houses.

On March 1, DBKL issued new eviction notices to the residents and the deadline expired yesterday.

Arutchelvan, however, reminded the residents that their problem was merely postponed for the time being.

“This is a political struggle. It’s now up to the Barisan Nasional government whether they want grant the four acre land or get a court order to quash the injunction,” said the PSM leader.

He added that there was no law in Malaysia that provided a safety net for the poor and was sceptical that the court would give residents a fair trial.

“We will take it up in the courts but it is up to the latter whether they want to uphold justice or serve to please its political masters,” he added.

Shaani called upon the government not to neglect its social responsibility when dealing with the poor.

“This is not only about former estate workers but the democratic process itself.

“As a responsible government, they should respect democracy and not resort to using emergency laws to evict people as it is against human rights,” he said, refering to the previous eviction orders issued under the Emergency Ordinance.

Among the non-governmental organisations present were Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit), Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Malaysia (Gamis) and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Residents Association (Permas).

Video Injuction granted, demolition thwarted by Free Malaysia Today.

Posted in Environmental & Local Council, Eviction, Issues at BUKIT JALIL ESTATE, Judiciary, News & Politics, People & Blog | Leave a comment

Motion on Bkt Jalil estate rejected at Parliament

MOTION ON BUKIT JALIL ESTATE SHOT DOWN

Click here at Free Malaysia Today to read article from their site.

by Patrick Lee, Free Malaysia Today | March 14, 2011

The deputy speaker says since the residents have been compensated, there is no need to debate the planned demolition exercise tomorrow.

KUALA LUMPUR: An emergency motion to debate the planned demolition of houses in the Bukit Jalil estate tomorrow was rejected.

Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee turned down the motion after it was tabled by PSM-Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj under Standing Order 18(1).

Kiandee said that the residents were already compensated by the government, so there is no need to debate the matter.

“I am very disappointed,” Jeyakumar told reporters at the Parliament lobby later.

“The speaker has to give space to discuss this issue because tomorrow the authorities will destroy the houses. This is something we don’t want to see,” he said, calling the demolition a “barbaric act.”

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is looking to evict some 41 families, some of whom have been living on the estate for generations.

In 1980, the government acquired the land for redevelopment. The land is now owned by Bukit Jalil Sdn Bhd.

Despite heavy posturing and some persuasion by the authorities, the residents have refused to budge, with opposition politicians rushing to their aid.

The paltry compensation offered by the Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Ministry was also decried by Pakatan Rakyat MPs.

The government offered RM23,000 each to residents who have worked on the estate for more than 15 years while the rest were offered RM11,000 each.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II and Batu Kawan MP P Ramasamy also took the government to task over the compensation.

“Can you even buy a low-cost flat with this kind of money?” asked the DAP leader.

Ramasamy also argued that the least the government could have done was to give each family a double-storey terrace house.

He was also worried that DBKL will bring a host of security personnel, including those from the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and even gangsters to chase out the residents tomorrow.

Sharing Ramasamy’s sentiments, Jeyakumar said that a “big crowd” may gather in defence of the estate tomorrow.

MOTION ON BUKIT JALIL ESTATE EVICTION REJECTED

theSun 2011-03-15

Posted in Environmental & Local Council, Eviction, Issues at BUKIT JALIL ESTATE, Judiciary, News & Politics, Parliamentary & State Assembly, People & Blog | Leave a comment

Indian Malaysian community not keen on returning to estates

INDIAN POVERTY DEMANDS URGENT SOLUTION

An article from Free Malaysia Today on March 13, 2011.

Comment by M Kulasegaran

MIC president G Palanivel is out of touch of the real problem of the Indians.

KUALA LUMPUR; With the fragmentation of estates in the late 1960s and coupled with the decline in rubber commodity prices from the 1970s, estate labourers of Indian origin began to migrate to the towns and urban areas of Peninsular Malaysia in search of their livelihood.

Thus began a pattern of their lives that saw them exchange the discreet poverty of their estate existence for the grinding poverty of their urban lives.

Their lack of education and the higher cost of living in urban areas meant that these rural-to-urban migrants were hard put to eke out a living. They began to languish in hopelessness, their poverty turning endemic because their children’s low educational attainment, in part due to gloomy home conditions, meant their further immersion in the poverty trap.

Within two decades of this migratory drift from estate sufficiency to urban depression, Indian Malaysians began to top the indices of social pathology.

The unemployment rate, school dropout rate, crime rate, and high incidence of single parents, all testified to social malaise among Indian Malaysians.

Now MIC new president G Palanivel has suggested the urban poor Indians who are earning a meager income to move back to the estates to earn a better and higher income as a temporary solution.

Long term solution needed

Palanivel is out of touch of the real problem of the Indians. A temporary solution cannot work. What is needed is a long term solution to the hard core problem of the Indian poor.

It is suggested that a parliamentary select committee consisting of the government, opposition and eminent personalities to be established to ascertain the real cause of the hardcore poverty among the Indians.

The select committee can then make due recommendations for a permanent and long term solution for those Indians who are suffering in the urban poor net.

Thus a safety net of a sort is needed like a “tongkat” for the community to progress from the slumber.

The committee can and should visit and ascertain the real issues affecting the Indians in all areas where the Indians are residing.

I will raise this issue next week during my turn to speak during the royal address in Parliament.

Will MIC, Gerakan, MCA and PPP support me? Or as usual will they pretend not to hear me for fear of Umno their big brother?

The parliamentary select committee could also look into, among others, the poverty affecting Malaysians as a whole, gangstersim and high criminal activities among the poor, the right of government scholarship for everyone and the growing population of single mothers.

Other issues such as high dependence on alcohol and drugs, unemployment, the over dependence on foreign workers and the need for a minimum wage must also be considered.

M Kulasegaran is Ipoh Barat member of parliament and DAP’s national vice chairman.

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‘CLARIFY YOUR STATEMENT, MOHAN’

Article in Free Malaysia Today.

by K Pragalath | March 13, 2011

MIC CWC member A Sakthivel advises Youth chief T Mohan to consult Palanivel before shooting the gun.

KUALA LUMPUR: Another MIC central working committee member (CWC) has come forward to brush off MIC Youth leader T Mohan’s criticism against party president G Palanivel’s ‘back-to-estate’ call.

“Do consult with the party president or discuss in the central working committee before making a statement,” said Puchong MIC division chairman and CWC member A Sakthivel.

He also urged Mohan to read Palanivel’s statement carefully since “no one is forcing anyone to go to the estates”.

He also backed the party president’s estate call, stating that it would be good for Indians who can’t make ends meet to return to the estates.

“The living standards there are better and the possibilities for an individual to be influenced by factors such as pubs are also minimum,” said the 41-year-old businessman.

On March 6, plantation industries and commodities deputy minister Palanivel had proposed that poor Indians who can’t make ends meet to start anew at estates managed by government-linked plantations such as Sime Darby until they are financially stable.

The proposal however did not go down well with a number of people, most notably Palanivel’s own party man Mohan.

Subsequently a war-of-words arose between Mohan and those who backed Palanivel, including CWC member N Rawisandran and Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker R Ganesan.

Mohan had responded to them by questioning their own estate background.

Defending the duo, Sakthivel today asked: “Why can’t those living in estates end up as political figures? After all there are constituencies made up largely by estates.”

Explain MIED role, Mohan told

Meanwhile Rawisandran in a text message to FMT also denied that he was apple polishing Palanivel.

“It is my hard work for the past 25 years in MIC and politics that led to my appointment as a senator. I was made a senator based on merit.”

He also accused Mohan of apple polishing former MIC president S Samy Vellu to become an election candidate for Batu Caves state constituency in the 2008 general election and the MIC Youth chief.

“Mohan is a master when it comes to apple polishing leaders,” he said.

Rawisandran added Mohan must clear the air on his role in the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED.

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BACK TO ESTATE CALL: MOHAN RETURNS FIRE

Article in Free Malaysia Today.

by K Pragalath | March 12, 2011

MIC Youth leader tells two MIC members not to ‘apple polish’ G Palanivel.

PETALING JAYA: MIC Youth leader T Mohan vented his anger on Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker R Ganesan and former MIC senator N Ravichandran over the controversial “return to estate” issue.

“If they (Ganesan and Ravichandran) had not left the estates, do you think they would be state speaker and senator now?” Mohan asked, as Ganesan and Ravichandran were born and bred in estates.

“Would they send their children to estates? Where would the Indians be sent if they cannot survive estate life? India?”

Mohan was commenting on a report in the Tamil daily Malaysia Nanban yesterday where Ravichandran criticised Mohan for the latter’s attack on the MIC president G Palanivel.

Palanivel, who is Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, sparked the controversy when he proposed that poor Indian youths should return temporarily to the estates until they are financially stable.

Earlier, Ganesan had also criticised Mohan for shooting his mouth off against Palanivel.

Mohan also queried why Ganesan and Ravichandran are suddenly making a big noise over the matter.

“Why were they silent over various other issues all this while?” he asked, citing Interlok and many other issues as examples.

‘Don’t apple polish Palanivel’

Mohan also said that he has nothing personal against Palanivel. “I am a party man and I respect the party leadership.”

He also took another swipe at both Ganesan and Ravichandran: “Palanivel is not an inexperienced man in the party. You don’t need to apple polish him.”

He also clarified that he was fine with the notion of sending poverty-ridden Indians to estates, but it would be better if they worked in the private sector or land schemes such as Guthrie and Felda plantations.

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BACK TO ESTATE: GANESAN SLAMS MOHAN

Article in Free Malaysia Today.

by FMT Staff | March 10, 2011

MIC Youth leader T Mohan’s criticism of MIC president G Palanivel did not go down well with an MIC leader.

PETALING JAYA: MIC Youth leader, T Mohan, was today ticked off for “shooting” his mouth off when he attacked party president G Palanivel over the issue of poor urban Indians.

Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker R Ganesan said Mohan had taken Palanivel’s statement out of context.

“As a party member he should have obtained clarification over the party president’s statement instead of shooting his mouth in the media,” said Ganesan, who is MIC central working committee member.

Palanivel recently said that the poor urban Indians should return to the estates. Bernama yesterday reported that his call drew flak from several quarters including Mohan.

Palanivel, who is Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, had said that the government had agreed to a minimum wage of about RM700 a month for the plantation sector, compared to RM300 previously, and that the Indians would also enjoy free housing as well as free transport for students in estate areas.

Mohan said that working in estates would not provide a bright future for the community and suggested that government provide Felda-like schemes for the Indians.

Ganesan said that Palanivel’s call was meant for the urban poor Indians who cannot make ends meet.

“These people cannot even afford to foot their utilities bill and do not have security,” said Ganesan, the former Sungkai assemblyman.

“For those who cannot make a living in urban cities, the Sime Darby estates, for example, offer a minimum of RM750 along with housing and other facilities,” he added.

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NO SUPPORT FOR PALANIVEL’S ‘BACK TO THE ESTATE’ CALL

An article in Free Malaysia Today.

By BERNAMA | March 9, 2011

A proposal by MIC president for poor Indians to return to the estates for a better living did not sit well with many, including the party’s Youth chief.

PUTRAJAYA: The call by MIC president G Palanivel for members of the Indian community, who are mired in hardships in town and cities, to work in the plantation sector, including in estates owned by government-linked companies, received little support from the community.

Palanivel, who is Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, had said that the government had agreed to a minimum wage of about RM700 a month for the sector, compared to RM300 previously, and that they would also enjoy free housing as well as free transportation for students in estate areas.

However Palanivel’s proposal seemed to have come unstuck among his own party leaders.

MIC Youth chief T Mohan said working in estates would not guarantee a bright future for the community.

The government should instead provide a Felda-like land development scheme for the community, he said.

“RM700 is too small but if there are plans for a Felda-like scheme, then we have no problem agreeing to it because it will help create entrepreneurs among the Indian community,” he said.

He added that many members of the community had ventured out of estates and that it was not proper to ask them to come back.

Unsuitable for most

Indian studies lecturer at the University of Malaya, Prof Dr M Rajentheran said the call was only suitable for the unskilled, those who had no permanent jobs or those who were unable to cope with urban living.

They might consider coming back to the estates if the salary was increased to RM1,200 a month, he said.

Malaysian Indian Youth Council president A Rajaratnam said the call was no longer relevant in the country’s increasingly competitive development sector.

“The minimum wage should be increased to RM1,200 a month and they should also be given allowances. A husband and wife will then be able to earn about RM3,000 a month. If this happens, I myself will encourage them to work in estates,” he said.

A former estate worker A Rajeswari, 38, said she would not return to the estate even if the salary was increased to RM900 a month.

“I have three children … where can I find tuition and music classes in estates?” she Rajeswari, who now works as a cleaner here.

– Bernama

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Posted in Environmental & Local Council, Ethnicity, Race Relations & Religious Understanding, Eviction, News & Politics, Parliamentary & State Assembly, People & Blog | Leave a comment

Protest to meet KL mayor fruitless

Star 2011-03-12

Posted in Environmental & Local Council, Eviction, Issues at BUKIT JALIL ESTATE, News & Politics, People & Blog | Leave a comment

Ladang Bukit Jalil folk protest coming eviction

Click here at Malaysiakini to read article from their site.

Zaidatul Syreen Abdul Rashid
Mar 11, 2011, 3:07pm

Around 50 residents from Ladang Bukit Jalil, including 12 children, gathered in front of the DBKL headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today to protest against DBKL’s decision to evict them from their homes next Tuesday.

The residents gathered at 11.20 this morning, carrying banners and chanting several slogans, urging Kuala Lumpur Mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail to step out of his office and resolve the issue immediately.

“The residents are tired of waiting and demand to hear and see the mayor. He has told us that he would come and meet the penduduk, but until now he has not shown up,” said N Surendren (centre in picture), one of the lawyers representing the residents.

After waiting for over two hours and there was still no sign of Ahmad Fuad, the residents started to make their way forcefully towards the DBKL headquarters lobby, causing 14 police officers from the Dang Wangi station to step in.

Six female residents and a child managed to slip through the guarded entrance.

Once they were inside, Malaysiakini observed the six ladies and the child chanting for the mayor to come down and they started to sit on the floor of the lobby, ignoring DBKL authorities and police personnel.

They chanted, “Datuk bandar penipu, turun, turun datuk bandar” (Mayor a liar, come down) and “Jangan, jangan, usir kami” (Do not evict us).

Also present was Party Socialist Malaysia secretary-general S Arutchelvan, Subang MP R Sivarasa, and representatives from Suaram, Jerit, Food not Bombs and several other groups.

At 1.45pm, Md Aznan Mat Zin (left in picture), an aide to Ahmad Fuad, told the residents and lawyers that the mayor would not be able to meet them because he has other meetings to attend.

“How can he do this to the people and just ignore them? Even the elderly people are here today to at least get some answers. He is irresponsible towards the people and his position as a mayor,” said lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri.

Malaysiakini also understood that while the exchange of words between aide and the lawyers was happening inside the DBKL building, a boy was allegedly hurt by one of the DBKL officers outside.

R Prasanth, 14 (right), claimed he was shoved by one of the DBKL officers, and the left part of his chest was injured.

The DBKL officer, Mohd Salleh (left), when confronted by police officers and members of several NGOs, said he was just raising his hands to make sure that the crowd would not barge into the lobby of DBKL and did not mean to injure Prasanth.

“I only raised my hands so that the crowd would not barge in. I might have accidentally pushed him (Prasanth), but I did not do it on purpose,” he said.

According to S Thiakarajan, one of the Ladang Bukit Jalil committee members, Prasanth will lodge a police report against the DBKL officer later today.

Another Ladang Bukit Jalil resident, L Vijaya Letchaumy, 41 claimed she was pushed and punched by two DBKL officers.

“All I did was chant ‘Keluar, keluar, datuk bandar’. Suddenly the two officers came. One pushed me and told me to diam (keep quiet), and the other punched my right shoulder.

“How can they hit a woman and when they are holding a position of authority?” Vijaya (left) said, adding that she will be lodging a police report against the two officers at Dang Wang police headquarters.

Meanwhile, Fadiah Nadwa said that they would wait and see what would be the response from Ahmad Fuad regarding the eviction within the next three days.

“If there is no answer and on Tuesday, they (DBKL) come to demolish the place, we will be standing tall. We will fight to the end, we will not move!” Fadiah Nadwa said.

Apart from the presence of lawyers representing the residents, Fadiah Nadwa added that she is more than confident that more NGOs and concerned people would turn up at Ladang Bukit Jalil to show their support against the eviction and DBKL’s harshness towards the residents.

Posted in Environmental & Local Council, Eviction, Issues at BUKIT JALIL ESTATE, News & Politics, People & Blog | Leave a comment