Saturday, September 27, 2008
|Kadazan language to be alternative paper in PMR next year|
Penampang: Efforts to preserve and popularise the Kadazandusun language have paid off as evidenced by its introduction as an alternative paper in the PMR examination starting next year.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said global migration and rapid advancement of information and communication technology has been identified as among factors that eroded the language and culture of the indigenous people in Sabah.
The trend nowadays, which is to master other languages such as English and Mandarin has also contributed to the decline, he said.
"So, it is indeed a good development to see our people can go global, but what worries us is the possibility of our mother tongue being forgotten in the future.
"So, it is high time that we preserve the language for future generations," he said at the launching of 11 children storybooks in Kadazandusun produced through the "Moyog Family Literacy Project" at Monsopiad Cultural Village, Friday.
Commending the Kadazandusun Language Foundation (KLF) for its effort in the preservation of the languages and cultures of the indigenous people, he was pleased to note that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has taken interest in the preservation effort.
Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre (ACCU) of Unesco and Centre of Excellence Programme for United Nation's Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was crucial in the production of the storybooks through the "Innovation Programme for ESD".
Dompok, who is also Penampang MP, said the idea to set up the KLF was mooted in 1994.
He said the aim was to preserve, develop and promote the Kadazandusun language.
He said the teaching of the language in government schools since 1998 was successful and now it is permanently entrenched in the education system.
"Next year, this subject will be introduced as an alternative paper in the PMR examination.
"I hope this success will guarantee our mother tongue continues to be spoken among our people," he said.
He said it is hard to master the Kadazandusun language these days since pupils and students learn other languages in school.
It was easier previously, he said, because most of the children spoke the language among themselves in the villages.
Hence, Dompok said the effort by the writers of the 11 storybooks from a remote village in upper Penampang at Kampung Togudon is really commendable to preserve indigenous knowledge and culture.
As MP of the constituency, he was proud that a local NGO shares the same concern in elevating the literacy capacity of rural families in Penampang.
At the launching, KLF announced local cartoonist Langkawit's latest book entitled "Langkawit Ansau-Ansau".
Also present were Director of State Museum Datuk Joseph Guntavid, KLF Chief Executive Director, Rita Lasimbang, Upko Secretary-General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau and representative of Unesco ACCU, Masanori Kono.
|Illegals gain citizenship; Sabahans lose theirs'|
Kota Kinabalu: The United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) on Friday demanded that the National Registration Department (NRD) undo its mistake of turning a Sabahan Bumiputra into a Permanent Resident.
Its Deputy President Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing said what had happened to 78-year-old Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin, a Sino-Kadazan, was simply outrageous and warrants Upko seriously reviewing its position in the Barisan Nasional if found to be not just an isolated case.
"How can this happen to a Malaysian citizen who was born here and holding a Native Certificate to prove her citizenship," he said.
He said that if the NRD had committed a genuine mistake, it should have reverted Yong's new status back to a Malaysian citizen right away.
"If the department had purposely committed the atrocious act, they must undo its gross mistake," he said, adding it is sending a bad signal across the nation, particularly to genuine citizens.
"Illegal immigrants can easily acquire MyKads that subsequently enable them to purchase Native Title (NT) lands.
"What is happening with the NRD? This is totally unacceptable. And if this is the tip of the iceberg, I'm afraid we cannot guarantee protection to the genuine citizens," he said.
He said if the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government is not willing to look into this matter as well as into how illegal immigrants could mysteriously acquire Malaysian Identity Cards, Upko will take up the matter and fight for the people.
"If the NRD or government has no satisfactory answer, I strongly urge Upko to seriously review its position in the BN because an identification document is a very important matter as it shows their sense of belonging."
Bumburing said if the NRD is unable to handle Yong's case, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar must intervene.
Yong's life had been turned upside down as a result of the NRD oversight and incompetence.
Her nightmare began when she lost her IC at a Supermarket at Penampang Baru on Feb. 12.
On the same day, she lodged a police report and subsequently on Feb 26, applied for a replacement IC at the NRD office in Donggongon.
After several months, she went and collected her replacement IC at the NRD office and was given a red IC.
She asked the officer why it was red and the lady officer said for senior citizens who lost their IC, the department normally replaced them with red ICs.
She didn't find anything amiss with the officer's explanation until she reached home when her children said red ICs were issued to people with Permanent Resident status.
With the help of her children, they brought the matter up with the NRD together with supporting documents such as her Native Certificate that was issued by the Native Court on Sept 24, 1963, bank books and passport.
The NRD officer admitted there could have been an error but instead of rectifying it, Yong was asked to "apply for Malaysian citizenship" which she duly complied by submitting an application form to the office on July 2, last year.
Her problem did not end there because soon after, her bank accounts at Amanah Saham Nasional and Alliance Bank were frozen making her unable to withdraw money for her daily expenses.
Fluent in Kadazan and Chinese, the mother of seven sons and one daughter can no longer travel outside the country as she could not renew her expired passport.
Strangely, she was allowed to cast her vote at Peak Nam Thong Kindergarten during the recent Mar 8 general elections using her driving licence as identity document since her record in the polling list was still intact.
But her identification records at the Immigration Department, however, had completely "disappeared".
Everywhere Yong goes now, she only uses her driving licence as proof of identity because she is too embarrassed with her predicament.
She now feared that her "new status" would have serious repercussion on her sons and daughter.
Resource Development and Information Technology Assistant Minister, Donald Peter Mojuntin who helped highlight Yong's case, said if it could happen to her, the children's citizenship could also be withdrawn.
"There has never been a case like this before when genuine Malaysians had their citizenship cancelled. If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody (Malaysians)," he said.
As Upko Bureau Chief for Citizenship and Security, the Moyog Assemblyman said he would be pursuing the matter with Sabah NRD Director and also with the Home Minister.
He said that for the NRD to admit their mistake and then asking Yong to reapply for citizenship is simply illogical.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s premiership de facto ended yesterday, September 26, 2008 – 54 months after scoring the most stunning landslide electoral victory for any Prime Minister in the nation’s 51-year history.
How far and how fast Abdullah has fallen!
All the Umno heavyweights are now engaged in a marionette play – how to plunge the dagger into Abdullah’s back without blood being seen to be drawn or better still even camouflaging from the Malaysian public the act of dagger-stabbing altogether.
Although Abdullah claimed that it would be his decision, “whether to contest or not” the post of Umno President, there could be no doubt that if Abdullah departs from the script and fails to announce by before October 9 that he would not be offering himself as a candidate as Umno President, the marionette play would be abandoned and the dagger-stabbing would be a very public and bloody one.
Even the sweet-sounding praises by Umno leaders yesterday over the scuttling of Abdullah’s original mid-2010 power-transition plan and the postponement of the Umno general assembly from December to March next year sounded rather ominous if Abdullah ignores the unmistakable signal that he should not dilly-dally any more in making his exit.
For instance, when asked whether he was satisfied with the outcome of the Umno Supreme Council emergency meeting yesterday although there was no clearcut indication of an exist date, the most hawkish of the Umno leaders against Abdullah, Tan Sri Muhyidddin Yassin, commented: “I think it is good enough. You need to have trust. There must be a certain element of trust in whatever decision the leadership Is making today.”
Abdullah must be aware that he would be regarded as lacking “a certain element of trust” if he failed to announce that he would not be offering his candidacy for Umno President by the Oct. 9 deadline.
In the circumstances, Abdullah has three options before him:
• Announce before the October 9 deadline his intention to contest for the post of Umno President, retaining the initiative in his hands as to his own timeline to effect the power transition;
• Announce that he would not be contesting for the Umno President in the Umno party election in March, which also mark the end of his premiership; and
• Announce his retirement as Prime Minister by Oct. 9.
In the first option, Abdullah would be fighting for his political life as he would have to prove first that he is capable of winning 58 or one-third of the Umno division nominations for the post of Umno President.
This may be a very tall order and he must be prepared to suffer the ignominy of an incumbent Prime Minister and Umno President who could not secure adequate nominations to contest for the post of Umno President.
In the second option, Abdullah would be a lame-duck Prime Minister for six months.
Apart from the third option of immediate retirement as Prime Minister, is there a fourth option open to Abdullah?
However no one was hurt in the incident.
Kok, a Selangor state exco member, will be holding a press conference this afternoon on the matter.
In recent days, Kok has come under fire from several quarters for her remarks on the low quality of food given to her while she was under a week-long Internal Security Act detention last week.
Kok was arrested under the ISA on Sept 12 for raising Islamic issues. She was released on Sept 19.
No wrong candidate, Pensiangan voter warns
“The people in this area still want a true leader who is committed to enhancing the well-being of the people, who are still backward and poor,” Musuh Ambong @ Osu from Kampung Pagalungan, Pensiangan told The Borneo Post here yesterday.
According to Musuh, Pensiangan, the second poorest district in the state, needed a leader who is committed to working for the people, especially in preventing their land from getting into the hands of outsiders.
“If possible, the leader should be from this community and understands the people’s culture, aspirations and problems,” he said.
According to Musuh, the people here did not want the present leader as the BN candidate but instead someone who can contribute to the development of the area.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman should send their representatives to the area to find out from the grassroots who the people want as their candidate.
The people, he said, did not care which candidate BN fields — PBRS president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, former Pensiangan member of parliament Datuk Bernard S Maraat or Pensiangan Umno chief Datuk Abdul Gani Yassin — as long as he can fulfill the people’s aspirations.
Musuh said just as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) preferred a local from this community as their candidate, so too the BN supporters who also wanted a Murut as their candidate.
|Things being exaggerated, says expert|
Kota Kinabalu: Constitutional law expert Prof. Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi thinks the sentiment for political change in Malaysia is being exaggerated.
He noted that for 51 years, the Alliance and Barisan Nasional (BN) rode like a Colossus, towering over every other party.
"They could do what they like, when they like, as and when they like, in whatever manner they like. Now things are slightly different, so there is confusion about how to handle this situation," he rationalises.
Based on objective standard, Prof. Faruqi describes BN's garnering of 63 per cent votes in the March 8 election as a very handsome majority. "The Government received more than 50 per cent of the popular vote."
Making a comparison, he points out: "If in England, the Government received more than 50 per cent of the popular vote, you know, the leader would be painted in the most laudatory way.
"Governments in England come to power with 37 per cent popular vote because of their electoral system. Since the Malaysian Government received more than 50 per cent popular vote (i.e. it received 63 per cent in the Lower House), on objective world standard, this is a very handsome majority."
Likening the BN to boxer Mike Tyson, he said the reason everybody is saying BN is weak is because Tyson was so used to knocking everybody down.
"But now Tyson doesn't have two-thirds majority. So people are saying it's weak. It's a perceptionÉperceptions are important."
He said the call by certain leaders for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down is due to internal politics.
"It has to do with Malay traditions. They called upon Tun Mahathir also to step down when he won by only 42 votes. But he said 'No, I won, even if I win by one vote'.
Referring to the Labour Party in England, Prof. Faruqi said the party used to have internal disagreements all the time.
"But here BN was like a Colossus, nobody dared say anything. Basically, we are on unchartered terriroty. That's why people are making conclusions which are not necessarily right, for example, imminent fall of the Government, resignation of the Prime Minister. I think on world standards, these are uncalled for.
"Even during Blair's time, after the debacle in Iraq, many members of the Labour Administration and Cabinet Ministers were saying 'we need a leadership change'. The present Prime Minister Gordon Brown used to ask for Blair's agreement to be kept. Apparently, there was an agreement that he must step down. But Blair didn't step down."
The professor noted that when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said something, people started to say 'Oh, this is a sign of crumbling, that the Government is crumbling'.
"I think on world standards, it is normal in politics," he said. On whether political crossovers are unethical, Prof Faruqi says much depends actually on the motives in question.
"These are surely unethical unless you cross over on principles but not personal benefit." He recalled that Sir Winston Churchill crossed from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party and then went back to the Conservative Party.
"I'd say that is principled. But if you go because you are promised an office or money or ambassadorship, then obviously, it's unethical."
On India's anti-hopping law, Prof Faruqi thinks that is fair.
"We had this law in Kelantan and Sabah but declared null and void in the case of Nordin Salleh. The Federal Government challenged it but sometimes there is poetic justice. Sometimes boomerangs come back," he quipped.
|Sabahan Bumi ends up as a Permanent Resident!|
Penampang: Little did a 78-year-old Sino-Kadazan holding a Bumiputra Native Certificate realise the nightmare that would unfold for losing her Identity Card last year.
Within months, Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin has seen her status as full-fledged Malaysian being reduced to that of a Permanent Resident by the National Registration Department (NRD), and with the latter showing no remorse or urgency in reverting to her original status.
Yong's misfortune began the day her wallet went missing from her handbag at a supermarket at Penampang Baru when on Feb. 12 last year.
Inside the wallet were her Identity Card, driving licence, bankbooks, a gold necklace, RM500, a gold-plated pearl locket, two golden crosses and a set of car keys.
On the same day, she lodged a police report and on Feb. 26, she applied for a replacement IC at the NRD office in Donggongon.
After several months, Yong was told to collect her replacement IC at the NRD office - but the colour was red. "I asked the officer why it was red and she replied that for senior citizens who lost their IC, the department would normally replace them with red ICs," she said.
Only when she returned home did she learn from one of her sons, Frankie, 55, that red ICs are issued to people with Permanent Resident status.
Her children told Yong to return to the NRD office to replace the red IC with the MyKad issued to Malaysian citizens. However, the NRD officer this time told her to "apply for Malaysian citizenship" instead.
The NRD officer admitted it could have committed an error somewhere and Yong duly submitted the application form to the office on July 2, last year.
But that was not the end of her problem. Soon after, her bank accounts were frozen and she could not withdraw money for her daily expenses.
Frankie said his mother also had difficulty travelling outside the country since she could not renew her expired passport.
"She could not even apply for a temporary passport even though we asked the Immigration Department for a case-by-case basis consideration," he said.
Because of this, she had to miss many church events abroad, including a trip to Jakarta at the end of this month.
Yong's other son, Jonathan, 48, said the situation was really tragic because the NRD officer also told her that she is not even allowed to travel to West Malaysia - thus preventing her from visiting her youngest son who is working in a bank in the nation's capital.
Yong's husband passed away three months ago, thus compounding her many problems. Fluent in Kadazan and Chinese, she is embarrassed at the fate that has befallen her.
"Wherever I go, I use my driving licence as proof of identity," she said.
Strangely, she was allowed to cast her vote using her driving licence as identity document during the elections on March 8 since her record in the polling list was still intact.
But when she tried to renew her Malaysian passport, her previous identification records had completely "disappeared".
Her greatest fear now is what effect her "new status" would have on her seven sons and one daughter.
Resource Development and Information Technology Assistant Minister, Donald Peter Mojuntin shared her fears saying her children's citizenship could also be withdrawn.
"There has never been a case like this before when genuine Malaysians had their citizenship cancelled. If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody (Malaysians)," he said.
The NRD officer, he said, should have more compassion for Yong instead of treating her case like the others.
The Moyog Assemblyman, who is also Upko's Bureau Chief for Citizenship and Security, said there was no reasonable explanation from the NRD as to why Yong's citizenship was changed to that of a permanent resident.
"If they (NRD) say the policy has changed, I want to ask when they changed it. You must tell the people about the changes," he said.
He said he has no doubt about Yong's citizenship because even the Native Court had verified her status as that of a Sino-Kadazan through a Sijil Anak Negeri (SAN or native certificate) on Dec 5, 1963.
The people, he said have been complaining about illegal immigrants who could easily acquire permanent resident status and the MyKad.
But with a stroke of the pen, Yong Lee Hua is now a "foreigner" in her native land.
Mojuntin said Yong had planned to sue the NRD for causing embarrassment through their negligence but hoped a meeting with the Sabah NRD Director would prevent that.
I also hope to meet Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to pursue this case, he said. "For the NRD to admit their mistake and then tell her to reapply for citizenship is simply illogical.
"The department's officers should be more compassionate as their actions can have a serious impact on people's lives," he said.
In the same survey, Malaysians also appear more divided than ever over their support for the country's political leadership.
There are also sharp differences in preferences between the different races, with a majority of non-Malays supporting Anwar, while more Malays preferred Najib.
Between Sept 11 and 22, Merdeka Centre carried out a leadership performance perception on a cross section of 1,002 people of voting age from the three main ethnic communities in the country.
Among the questions asked was: "Between Najib Razak and Anwar Ibrahim, who do you think makes a better prime minister?"
Najib garnered a 33.8 per cent average total support among the three major races. Anwar edged him by a margin of less than six per cent — he garnered an average total of 39.3 per cent.
The difference is more conspicuous when the show of support is broken down according to the ethnicity of those polled.
The split was apparent among racial lines, with Najib drawing as much as 47.3 per cent support from the Malay community. Anwar trailed with just 32.5 per cent.
The opposition leader gained greater support among non-Malays, receiving the support of 37.4 per cent of Chinese voters and a whopping 85 per cent from the Indians.
In comparison, Najib only won the approval of 18.4 per cent of Chinese voters and just five per cent of Indians thought he would make a better prime minister.
Of note was the high percentage of voters who remained non-commital. More than 40 per cent of Chinese voters polled expressed no preference.
Based on the poll results, Malay support for Najib is significantly stronger than that for Anwar.
Political analyst Tricia Yeoh says the party factor is a very strong featuring factor with the non-Malay communities.
"It is possible they view Najib as continuing to perpetuate the same kind of politics that has plagued
"Anwar will need to fight for Malay support most prominently since Najib may continue to be seen as the final bastion of support for the Malay position," she added.
Another political analyst, Khoo Kay Peng, sees it differently.
"No doubt Najib commands higher support among the Malay community because of the status of Umno as a Malay party. It has been representing the Malays for a long time. But at 47.3 per cent, the support is not really very high for Najib. It's not much off Abdullah's support," he said.
Based on the same Merdeka Centre report, Abdullah still enjoys 50.7 per cent support from the Malays.
"The key is that Najib does not get much support from the Chinese and Indians. Najib is still seen as a Malay leader.
"If you want to be the prime minister, you must have support from across the board," he said.
"Anwar stands a much better chance because he gets support from over 30 per cent of the Chinese and the Indians, predominantly from the Indians, which is consistent with past reports," he pointed out.
In a toss up between who will become the next prime minister, he felt it would definitely be Anwar.
But for Khalid Samad, the Pas MP for Shah Alam and an ally of Anwar, the results are frightening for the Pakatan Rakyat alliance.
He said the results of the survey showed government media propaganda still held sway, especially among the rural Malays.
He is concerned that much of the Malay media has portrayed a negative impression of Anwar as being an "immoral guy" and being a stooge of the
"Basically, Umno-Barisan Nasional has been quite successful in conning Malays into believing that Anwar is selling out the Malays and that is the reason for the low percentage of support for Anwar," said Khalid.
"These are not very encouraging results if it is representative of the entire population. It means there is a problem. Anwar will have to work harder.
"It's important he should have at least a 50-50 situation among Malays. That would suffice," he stressed.
But he does not think that the sample poll is a true reflection of the voting populace.
"I don't think that Anwar in the actual situation is that far behind Najib. I would expect 47 per cent for Najib and 45 per cent for Anwar.
"The difference, almost 15 per cent difference in support from Malays, gives the impression that if Pakatan Rakyat comes to power, the position of the Malays will be jeopardised.
"But no one race will lose out under Pakatan leadership," he said.
HONG KONG, Sept 27 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday his campaign to topple the government would only be strengthened if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stepped down earlier than expected and Abdullah's deputy took the reins.
As Umno huddled in Kuala Lumpur to discuss whether the country's unpopular prime minister should step down earlier than planned, Anwar said both leaders had lost the mandate of the people to rule, but that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had even less credibility.
"From a survey [it] showed that however unpopular Abdullah is now, Najib is more unpopular. He has a major problem of credibility. Many unexplained cases which does insinuate his involvement in [an] earlier murder case he has to explain, I'm not suggesting anything beyond that," Anwar said in Hong Kong, while in Hong Kong for an Asia investment conference.
"It's not a matter of going to the mosque and swearing that you are not involved. Then you make a mockery of Islam, the Quran and the law.
"If you go to the prison and say to these convicted murderers and rapists, 'if you swear on the Quran you go scot free', then 99.9 per cent would go free."
Discussions on whether Abdullah would step down early would not derail the opposition's plans, Anwar said, denying that he had lost credibility after failing to meet the Sept 16 deadline by which he had said he would have enough support in government to become prime minister.
While he had the names of the MPs who supported him, he said he could not disclose them because of the climate of fear in Malaysia.
"The climate of fear is real. Why do we need to expose them" and make them take such a risk, he asked.
Another risk for Anwar supporters was that Najib would be more willing to implement the Internal Security Act, a draconian law that allows people to be detained without trial for up to two years.
Anwar feared that the powers of ISA would only be strengthened and used more if Najib took power next year. Najib "has not said that he won't use the Internal Security Act — not only against me", he said.
Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, an ally of Anwar, has been detained for reporting on Najib in connection with a murder case on the Malaysia Today political website. — South China Morning Post
NEW YORK, Sept 26 - The internet is buzzing today with the rumour that Barack Obama's gaffe-prone running mate Joe Biden will drop out of the race for health reasons - to be replaced by Hillary Clinton.
John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate has created so much interest in the Republicans that Obama will have to make a radical move to regain momentum, the argument goes.
Clinton could be just the key. Biden, who had surgery in 1998 to repair two brain aneurysms, would drop out after the vice presidential debates due to be held on Oct 2, according to the claims - leaving the way open for the former First Lady.