Monday, March 19, 2018

Dilemma of the Malaysian Voter - Which Opposition Candidate shall I choose?

For many Malaysians, there seems to be an urgent belief that we now need to have a NEW government - no more the UMNO-led coalition government that has governed Malaysia since Independence - today the Barisan National. Unlike most democracies, Malaysians have never experienced the rule of another government...In power for so long is unhealthy - it could lead to greater corruption, abuses, kleptocracy too...

Remember that saying 'a new broom sweeps cleaner' - Well, that is true, is it not? Anyway, we elect people into government once every 5 years(usually lesser) - So, if the new government fails to do a better job - then we can always change come next elections.

In Malaysia, by allowing just the UMNO-led BN to continue on is very dangerous - it gives the message that we are 'HAPPY" with the manner in which the country is being governed...

Are we OK with a government that has caused our debt to be increased -  The debt increased significantly after the Mahathir era, especially during the Najib era - now about
RM883.4bil (US$215.5bil). Remember every Malaysian is liable for a government debt (or a government guarantee for the debt of some other company)

Malaysia's external debt rose to RM883.4bil (US$215.5bil) or 65.3% of GDP as at end-December 2017

In the past, the Malaysian government was more transparent - but today, even in the face of allegations, there is a 'lot of secrets' or simply no answers. When the issue about billions in the PMs personal account came up, it was most distressing that Najib did not quickly come out and personally explain to the people. In the 1MDB matter, where there are numerous legal action in US and other countries, which certainly severely impacted on  reputation of this wholly owned government company and the government who is responsible(on behalf of all Malaysians) - the government has yet to provide a clear explanation or a denial to the people. There is no action against foreign governments that has done this...? Why? 

1MDB paid billions wrongly to a company - and then later had to come out with the money to pay the correct recipient...This alone is a major issue, but to date we have not heard about legal actions being taken against those responsible - and also not much news about what action is being taken to recover the wrong paid billions. How does anyone make such a mistake - more so when it involves paying out Millions or Billions of ringgit?

Malaysians would generally not be too bothered - but when it started affecting the people directly - then, we are bothered. Removal of subsidies, increasing cost of living, reduction of personal savings and wages(when the ringgit becomes weaker - the real value of the money we have also shrinks). 

Malaysia seem to have lost assets and control even in what was previously companies owned(more than 50%) and controlled by government and government agencies. DRB Hicom (so even Pos Malaysia maybe), Proton, etc... Of course, the fact that Malaysia has not been very transparent as to shares/stock held, profits made annually(losses), etc...and the fact that law does not allow the Auditor General to also audit these companies(now as of right, only government(Ministries/Departments/Agencies) are being audited and reports made available to the public. So, the people are kept in the dark with regard to what is happening to our monies and business, etc..  [1MDB also was not subject to Auditor General's annual audit and report, and the audit was done on government specific request, and then it was kept secret using the OSA).


That was the concern of many Malaysians but it is no longer a concern ever since the Opposition have been winning States and forming State governments - and proof has been shown that the Opposition has the capacity to govern. [Either way, any party coming in as the winner at the next General Elections really has nothing to worry about because - the daily running of government is no problem as it will go on smoothly as the public servants always will do it. The politicians and the new Prime Minister that come into power generally are concerned with 'policy' even if a Minister, is not so educated in healthcare - he can still be Minister of Health, and all will go on as usual] 


It would have been most easy if we had to choose between ONE Opposition Coalition and the current UMNO-BN government - like what happened in past General Elections. In the past elections, generally we found a working relationship between the primary Opposition parties being PAS and DAP, or they were part of one pact - Now, they are in different Opposition pacts - and, if one looks at the media, way too much time is being spend attacking and discrediting amongst Opposition parties - so much so, that sometimes the focus on the incumbent UMNO-BN failures diminishes. The dilemma for many may be what will I do if I have to decide between UMNO-BN and 2 of the Opposition pacts(one led by PAS and another that includes DAP) - will the split of support favour the UMNO BN?

Many other Opposition political parties generally stayed out from the past few General Elections simply to allow for a success of the existing Opposition pacts(PR) - to enable a 1 to 1 contest. But, come this General Elections, many of these parties will no longer step aside, including parties like PRM and PSM...who have already announced intention to contest, some even have identified candidates.

The exclusion of other Opposition parties, by the then Pakatan Rakyat(PR) and now Pakatan Harapan(PH) was a mistake - they should have been working to get all(if not many more) Opposition parties not just in Semenanjung but also Sabah and Sarawak into one Opposition coalition. They should have spend time working out COMMON policies and positions...but alas they did not manage to do. YES - it is a difficult exercise, because different political parties come into being with different ideas, principles, values, ideologies or even for different purposes...(including to represent certain ethnic or religious groupings)...But, to finally help Malaysians get an alternative government - other than UMNO-BN, maybe more effort could have been undertaken.

SO, which Opposition party should I cast my vote for? That is the question - that is the dilemma of Malaysians today...

One solution is that these 2 Opposition coalition sit down and try to work it out to ensure that we will be faced with the simple choice of choosing between an UMNO-BN candidate and an Opposition alternative...

The other Opposition parties should also be part of this discussion...That will be best.

The choosing of the candidates will also be crucial - we prefer candidates who have an history of struggling for justice and human rights...Someone who has not been 'bothered' about this issue may not be the best choice for a people's representative - because after being elected, he/she may continue maybe just attending the Parliament/DUN - and not even speak up there...or worse still absent himself/herself during important votes...A MP/ADUN is best a full-time MP/ADUN - not someone who is still very involved in his/her personal business and/or profession. 

A person elected as an MP/ADUN has got so much work - he will be expected to study about a lot of new things so that he can be actively involved in the debates in Parliament/DUN - he will be able to explain to his/her constituents what is happening, and why is taking that position or taking an opposing view ...his/her answer should not be simply because the political leaders told him to take a particular position. We complained about UMNO-BN MPs not having regular consultations/discussions with their constituents - not making them available to answer questions...Not sharing the answers he/she received as a written response, etc ...but sadly even today many of our Opposition MP/ADUNs behave the same - not even a FB Page, Website or Blog to be able to continuously communicate with the people...Many are not even fighting for issues and causes - not even present at people's protest .. 

SO, maybe we need a new coalition or group that will help us evaluate and tell us who be the best candidate to support in particular constituencies as the best Opposition choice, from amongst all that are standing including independents...The political parties cannot resolve this, so maybe we need Independent persons/groups to help us in the choices we make...

WORRIES after the next GE - if BN fails to get majority at the Federal level or the State level?  

Biggest worry is the 'katak'(frog) - well money, promised rewards and/or threats could make an Opposition MP/ADUN change affliation..

A worry that even an Opposition party, in the Opposition coalition may suddenly return to UMNO (or maybe join BN as a new coalition partner). Semangat 46 did this before...and like Semangat, we have a few parties led by former UMNO(or BN) personalities - their desire may simply to get rid of Najib...and, if that happens, they may return...

What about agreements with all candidates to ensure that they will resign as MP/ADUN before they jump parties? {Our election laws is bad because it now does not allow a MP/ADUN to stand in the by-election that follows that resignation - this should be changed - the resigning MP/ADUN should be allowed to also stand for the said by-elections...then, the people will still have the choice to show that they still want the resigned MP/ADUN ...It is useful especially when false allegations arise for any MP/ADUN to go back to the people in another elections, to strengthen his claim that the people still choose him/her despite allegations of corruption or some crime...?



UMNO-BN attitude, lack of action and 'cover-up'? Bar demands more of government...

One problem that is emerging is the public perception that government seems to be not interested in investigating allegations of crimes committed by possible persons working in government and even 'members of the administration'(Prime Minister and Cabinet), and persecuting the alleged suspects.Officials and police involved in wrongdoing seem to not end up being prosecuted in court. The lack of a proper transparent explanation by the government is also a problem. 

The Malaysian Bar, at its recent AGM, highlights the the discovery of mass graves and “death camps” - whereby about 150 graves were discovered. It highlighted also the contention by New Straits Times that 'there had been a “massive, coordinated cover-up” of the mass graves and “death camps” and the investigations surrounding it'. Read the Resolurion which contains more details.

Resolution Regarding the Discovery of ‘Death Camps’ in Perlis

WHEREAS the Malaysian Bar:

(1) Is outraged by the unprecedented discovery of mass graves and “death camps” within our borders. The more than 150 graves at “death camps” spread across various remote sites in the state of Perlis, near the border with Thailand, as reported by the New Straits Times on 26 May 2015 (Appendix 1) are widely believed to have contained human remains of victims of trafficking or smuggled migrants who died whilst in the custody of traffickers or smugglers.

(2) Is deeply troubled by an article in the New Straits Times on 20 December 2017 (Appendix 2) stating that there had been a “massive, coordinated cover-up” of the mass graves and “death camps” and the investigations surrounding it. The article details various allegations as regards the way in which the discovery was handled as follows:
(a) Two conflicting reports submitted by the police on the events that unfolded on 19 January 2015;

(b) A coordinated cover up involving complicity, collusion, and corruption of law enforcement agencies with syndicates which perpetuate these acts;

(c) That “… there had been some “serious redacting” in reports and papers filed in the course of investigations.”; and

(d) That “… the local middleman, who had been taken into custody had admitted to greasing the palms of personnel in border security agencies to ensure that his operation could continue unmolested.”

(3) Finds that the two New Straits Times articles have resulted in conflicting accounts of the events and raises the following queries:

(a) When exactly were the sites discovered?

(b) When were the graves found?

(c) Why the destruction of the sites was ordered before relevant forensic evidence was extracted?

(d) How long had the sites been in operation?

(4) Notes that several Thai nationals, including politicians and an army general, have been found guilty in Thailand pursuant to investigations initiated by the Thai authorities and sentenced to long periods of imprisonment.1

(5) Is not aware of any reports of any Malaysians charged for these heinous crimes in Malaysia, save for the foreigners already charged and sentenced in court for immigration offences,2 with victims predominantly repatriated. These are crimes that are perpetrated not just by foreigners but in collusion with Malaysian counterparts who have yet to be held to account.3

(6) Notes that Malaysia is obliged to uphold the underlying values of international human rights laws and norms set out in, inter alia, the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (November 2000), the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (December 2000), the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (December 2000), and the United Nations Against Corruption (October 2003); and regional obligations, namely the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (November 2015), all of which the Malaysian Government has voted in favour and/or signed.

(7) Recognises the Government of Malaysia’s commitment to eradicate human trafficking with the implementation of international obligations in the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the Pelan Tindakan Kebangsaan Antipemerdagangan Orang (2016-2020) by the Majlis Antipemerdagangan Orang (MAPO”).

(8) Reiterates that no stone should be left unturned in cleaning up our backyard as our international reputation is at stake and this incident remains a stain on the fabric of Malaysia. In light of this, as a nation we need to acknowledge and come to terms with these atrocities that have occurred within our borders and ensure that justice is served.

Therefore it is hereby resolved that:

(A) The Malaysian Bar call upon the Government of Malaysia to take all necessary steps to ensure that such tragedies never recur within our borders, including:
(i) To abide by and uphold the principles of justice, good governance and the rule of law, and to respect, promote and protect the human rights of trafficked persons within Malaysia’s borders;

(ii) To establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry (“RCI”) to investigate the existence of the mass graves and “death camps”, and the allegations of, among others, a cover-up, complicity, collusion, and corruption of law enforcement agencies, and to identify the perpetrators concerned; and

(iii) To adhere to its obligations under international law and thereafter take steps for legal, policy and institutional reform in compliance with the same.

(B) The Malaysian Bar call on the Government of Malaysia, and specifically the Ministry of Home Affairs, to better resource the implementation of the provisions of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the MAPO Pelan Tindakan Kebangsaan Antipemerdagangan Orang (2016-2020), by increasing investigative teams and developing them to become specialist teams dedicated to the identification, apprehension and prosecution of human traffickers and those abetting them, and to work closely at all levels of policy formulation, administration and implementation, with civil society organisations an other stakeholders to improve public awareness of and eradicate human trafficking.

(C) The Malaysian Bar call on the Royal Malaysia Police to fully disclose the extent of these crimes and the various personalities involved and to all take necessary steps to thoroughly investigate and bring those responsible for these heinous atrocities to task.

(D) The Malaysian Bar call on the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (“SUHAKAM”) to exercise its functions and powers pursuant to sections 4(1)(d), 4(2)(d) and 4(2)(f), read with section 12(1), of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999, to carry out an inquiry in respect of the alleged human rights infringements, and produce a report of its investigations, findings and conclusions.


1 “General among dozens found guilty in Thailand's largest human trafficking trial”, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2017.
2 “Thai man gets five years jail for Wang Kelian human-trafficking”, New Straits Times, 15 December 2016.
3 “12 cops arrested over Perlis migrant mass graves”, Malay Mail Online, 27 May 2015.


One may want to look again at the:-

[EXCLUSIVE] The secrets of Wang Kelian exposed - New Straits Times
Dec 20, 2017 - KUALA LUMPUR: An exhaustive, two-year investigation by the New Straits Times Special Probes Team into the mass killings in Wang Kelian in 2015 that shook the world, has revealed startling new evidence, which suggests a massive, coordinated cover-up.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Group against death penalty warns amended Drug Act still has flaws(Malay Mail 15/3/2018)

MADPET and others have been drawing attention to this unjust delay through Media Statements, which were all carried by the Media, since 19/1/2018. MADPET issued a statement on 19/1/2018, and another on 25/1/2018. A joint statement by 45 Groups was issued on 14/2/2018. Now, allegedly there are also about 2 Motions on this issue tabled for discussion in the upcoming Malaysian Bar AGM on 17/2/2018. 
Thursday March 15, 2018
09:32 PM GMT+8
Charles said that the amended Act also did not address the more than 800 convicts in the country currently on death row for drug trafficking. — AFP picCharles said that the amended Act also did not address the more than 800 convicts in the country currently on death row for drug trafficking. — AFP pic KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 ― The removal of the mandatory death penalty for drug offences under the Dangerous Drugs Act 2017 starts today, however, Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) said there were still major flaws in the Act.

With the amendment to the Act, judges are now given the discretion to sentence convicted drug traffickers with a life sentence alternative with no less than 15 strokes of the whip.

In a statement today, Madpet said the new law will only benefit those who have yet to be convicted by the High Court.

“If one has already been convicted and sentenced to death prior to the amendment then even the Appellate Courts will not have the power to review the death sentence, and impose an alternative sentence for drug trafficking.”

“The only way that those already sentenced to death can escape the death penalty is if the Appellate Courts set aside the conviction for drug trafficking,” it said.

Madpet’s coordinator Charles Hector said the implementation delay resulted in injustice for 10 individuals who have been sentenced to death as reported by the media.

“This is because judges still had no discretion to consider and impose any other sentence other than death penalty until the Act came into operation,” he said.

Charles added that despite the amendment, limitations were still evident when considering the factors by which a judge can review a case before sentencing a convict.

He added that the amended Act also did not address the more than 800 convicts in the country currently on death row for drug trafficking.

“Madpet calls for the immediate amendment of the law to ensure full unfettered discretion be given to judges when it comes to sentencing those convicted of drug trafficking.”

He also urged for judges to be allowed the discretion to impose sentences fitting for the crime, especially for first time offenders.

Madpet in the statement also called for the abolition of the mandatory death sentence in Malaysia conclusively and reiterated its call for a moratorium on executions pending abolition following the amendment to the Act.

The amendment of the Act was first passed on November 30 via a majority voice on the last day of the Dewan Rakyat meeting.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman tabled the alteration to the bill to give full discretion to judges in sentencing drug convicts.

The previous version of the amendment bill states that judges could only exercise their discretion if the Public Prosecutor issued a certificate declaring that the convict had cooperated with authorities.

The relevant section 39B of the amendment bill was altered to remove the requirement of the certificate.
The amendment bill however does not apply in retrospective for previous convictions.- Malay Mail, 15/3/2018

See full statement:-

At Last, Mandatory Death Penalty For Drug Trafficking Abolished With Coming Into Force Amendment Act On 15 March 2018

See earlier relevant post

No reason to delay commencement of DDAA 2017(Malaysiakini) - says 45 groups(14/2/2018 - Joint Statement - 45 Groups)

Minister’s Delay Resulted in Judge Having No Choice but to Sentence A. Sargunan and 4 others to Death(19/1/2018 - MADPET Media Statement)

Malaysian is 6th victim because Minister's delay bringing into force law that abolishes mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking?(25/1/2018 MADPET Media Statement)

Judges forced to sentence at least 7 to death because Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act 2017 not in force yet? 


Minister’s Delay Resulted in Judge Having No Choice but to Sentence A. Sargunan and 4 others to Death

Don’t let delay in applying new dangerous drugs law take more lives(FMT)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

At Last, Mandatory Death Penalty For Drug Trafficking Abolished With Coming Into Force Amendment Act On 15 March 2018

Media Statement – 15/3/2018

At Last,  Mandatory Death Penalty For Drug Trafficking Abolished With Coming Into Force Amendment Act On 15 March 2018

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is pleased that the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act 2017, which received royal assent on 27/12/2017, has finally, after much delay, has come into force as of 15 March 2018.

The gazette notification appointing the date this new law comes into operation, that will abolish the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, giving judge’s discretion to be able to sentence those convicted of drug trafficking to an alternate sentence of life imprisonment with not less than 15 strokes of the whip, dated 8/3/2018 was signed by the Minister of Health. It was odd that it was not the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, the facto Law Minister or the Home Minister.

It must be pointed out that this still unexplained delay has resulted in grave injustice to at least 10 persons, who had been sentenced to the mandatory death penalty this year until 15/3/3018, because judges still had no discretion to consider and impose any other sentence other than death penalty until the date the Act comes into operation. It must be noted that not all persons convicted and sentenced to death for drug trafficking would have been reported by the media. This 10 media reported cases included 5 Malaysians and 5 foreign nationals, being:-

-          S. Pragasam(30) – Ipoh High Court(Malay Mail, 9/2/2018)

-          Ong Cheng Yaw(33) and San Kim Huat(38) – Kuala Lumpur High  Court (Malaysian Insight, 8/2/2018)

-          Jonas Chihurumnanya(Nigerian) – Kuching High Court (The Borneo Post, 30/1/2018)

-          S. Gopi Kumar(33) – KL High Court( (The Sun Daily, 24/1/2018)

-          A. Sargunan(42), and four Indian nationals, namely Sumesh Sudhakaran(30), Alex Aby Jacob Alexander(37), Renjith Raveendran(28), and Sajith Sadanandan(29) – Shah Alam High Court (The Sun Daily, 22/1/2018)

This new law, when it comes into force, will only benefit persons who have yet to be convicted by the High Court. If already convicted and sentenced to death before the law came into force, then even the Appellate Courts will not have the power to review the death sentence, and impose an alternative sentence for drug trafficking. The only way, that those already sentenced to death can escape the death penalty is if the Appellate Courts set aside the conviction for drug trafficking.

Even after the amending Act comes into force, there are still serious flaws, including limitation on the factors that Judges could consider when imposing the appropriate just sentence after conviction. The law now states, that judges ‘…may have regard only to the following circumstances…’ being a limited list of  four matters. In criminal trials generally, judge will consider all relevant factors and circumstances of the case and/or the relevant convicted persons, including also age, whether he/she is a first time offender, etc.. before imposing a just and appropriate sentence.

At present, there is also mandatory requirement ‘…that the person convicted has assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia…’ before a judge can impose a sentence other than death. This is unjust for it impacts of an individual’s right to a fair trial, for an innocent person, when convicted at the High Court may be forced to incriminate himself truthfully and/or falsely simply to avoid the death penalty. This ‘admission’ will also impact on his right of appeal against conviction and sentence to the Appellate Courts, be it the Court of Appeal and/or the Federal Court.

The new amendments also failed to deal with the 800 plus persons currently on death row for drug trafficking, including also others who have already been convicted before the Amending Act came into force.

MADPET calls for the immediate amendment of the law to ensure full, unfetterered discretion be given to judges  when it comes to sentencing those convicted of drug trafficking.

We also urge that judge’s discretion when it comes to the imposition of imprisonment not be simply limited to life imprisonment, but is extended  possibly by setting a more just and reasonable minimum sentence of not more than 5 -10 years especially for first time offenders;

MADPET also calls for the abolition of the mandatory death penalty for the about 11 remaining offences in Malaysia, and for the total abolition of the death penalty; and

MADPET also reiterates the call for a moratorium on executions pending abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

DEMOCRACY - feared by UMNO-BN and Opposition? Restore democracy at all levels to the Rakyat?

DEMOCRACY is feared by both the UMNO-BN and some of the Opposition in Malaysia. A disturbing trend causing injustice to all Malaysians at all levels.

 Image result for local council elections

In most democracies, the people will elect their Federal Government representatives(MPs and Senators), their State Government representatives(the ADUNS - State Legislative Assemblypersons) and their Local Government(Local Councils/Majlis Perbandaran) - In Malaysia, we now only elect MPs and ADUNs. We had local government elections - but the UMNO-BN government stopped it - and decided to appoint Local Councillors - people had no choice. 

The Pakatan Rakyat, since 2008 made democratic Local Council elections a priority...but then, the Opposition seem to have quietly dropped (or reduced priority of this call)...

According to the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Workings of Local Authorities in West Malaysia led by Senator Datuk Athi Nahappan, if a local government is not elected, it is non-representative.If we hold fast to the time-honoured concept of "no taxation without representation", nominated local government undermines the legitimacy of local authorities to collect assessment rates which are the most important source of income of the local authorities.That is why the Royal Commission Report concluded that the merits of elected local government with all its inherent weaknesses outweigh those of the nominated ones.It is only right that Malaysia reintroduces local government elections. In a democratic society people elect their representatives.

DEMOCRACY demands that the governments are continuously in consultation with the people - more so when it comes to development projects an/or decisions affecting the towns/districts and area that people are actually living and working in. 

A big shopping mall, a new taman, a building, a supermarket or hypermarket, a road enlargement, etc - all of which really need the people living in the area to be consulted - without democratic structure in place to enable people to be consulted means consulting tens of thousands of people. Not so, if we had democratically elected kampung leaders/committees, taman leaders/committees, kampung baru leaders/committees - whereby then the government will have to consult the people through these democratically elected people's representatives - who then will consult their electorate - they will fear making decisions by themselves, without consulting the people in their kampungs, kampung baru, taman, kampung orang asli, etc ...

UMNO BN government strategy to by-pass the need to consult the ordinary people was simply to just pick and appoint the Local Councils, the kampung/taman/kampung baru  leaders - they created the JKKKK

Now, these 'APPOINTED' Local Councillors and the JKKKKs,... are people chosen by the government - and they are less likely to cause 'trouble' or 'difficulties' to the government's that appointed them - so they will easily approve or oppose decisions being desired by the government/s - and most times, the people may be unaware of these 'decisions made on behalf of them, the local people'...If later, people start making noise or protesting something, the answer may be that 'Yes, the people were consulted...and they agreed - evidenced maybe by the meetings or even the agreement of these 'government appointed
people's representatives - not democratically elected representatives' ? 

Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK) adalah jawatankuasa yang ditubuhkan oleh Kerajaan Negeri manakala Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung Persekutuan (JKKKP) ditubuhkan oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan. Jawatankuasa ini tidak termasuk Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Rancangan (JKKR) dan JKKK Perkampungan Orang Asli memandangkan institusi ini diselia oleh jabatan/agensi masing-masing.
Anggota JKKK dan JKKKP terdiri daripada 1 Pengerusi, 1 Setiausaha dan 13  Ahli Jawatankuasa.  Anggota JKKK dan JKKKP adalah individu yang dilantik untuk berkhidmat secara SUKARELA kepada Kerajaan tetapi mereka BUKANLAH penjawat awam.

WELL, these 'appointed' persons sadly are not even known by many in the community - and the people do not see them as 'wakil rakyat'(people's representatives) but rather government's representative.

Fungsi utama JKKK dan JKKKP
  1. Merancang dan melaksanakan pelan transformasi pembangunan kampung dengan penglibatan komuniti setempat menggunakan pendekatan bottom up approach ke arah mewujudkan kampung lestari, berdaya saing dan sejahtera; dan
  2. Melaksanakan transformasi modal insan yang komprehensif untuk melahirkan masyarakat yang bersatu padu, progresif dan mengamalkan nilai-nilai murni serta mendukung dasar-dasar Kerajaan.

DEMOCRACY is difficult - for the people elected leaders at Local Councils, Kampung/Taman/Kampung Baru/Kampung Orang Asli may not be 'YES Men/Women' who will simply do what the government/s want them to do - they may have a different opinion - oh yes, they may even people from 'Opposition' parties...So, to avoid all 'problems' that democracy brings - simply appoint 'our' 'YES Men/Women', maybe even our party people - and less problems. Well, sadly, this is not democracy - but really 'dictatorship' of the Federal/State government? And, sadly, some Opposition parties want to simply continue on the way the UMNO-BN has been doing all this Malaysians want this?

To make matters even more difficult for people ...the UMNO-BN government created laws that will prevent the local people from coming together, meeting and acting...well we have our laws on 'Peaceful Assembly' - if we want to meet even at the taman level, we need to inform police...get permission, etc. Same with even the organising of talks/discussions...Malaysians have been denied true democracy for too long(about 60 years now) - and many have accepted it as the way it is...

In Thailand, not only is there local government elections, but every 2 years, there are also 'village elections' - kampung, taman, etc, and there are campaigns, speeches and elections for the head and the committee - The government, including the local government, are in constant consultation...and local community approval and agreement is always sought. 

So, people may vote for people close to another party, not the party controlling the State or Federal Government - but that is the people's choice - RESPECT it and deal with the people through their democratically elected leaders. 

UMNO-BN may have stopped Local Council elections, because persons from Opposition parties were being elected local leaders at the level of Local Council. Looks like our Opposition is just as fearful as UMNO-BN - too afraid to let the people choose their own leaders at the different levels and allow for real democracy..

Furthermore, the scheduled local government elections for the rest of the country in 1965 and 1966 were also suspended. The official reason was "Konfrontasi" (Confrontation) from Indonesia.It is fair to believe that the real reason for withholding elections was the Alliance government's fear of losing more local authorities to the opposition parties.
The solution is to dis-allow partisan politics - i.e. people standing for elections at the Local Council, Kampung/Taman/Kampung Baru/Kampung Orang Asli should stand as individuals - not as a political party candidate. 
Party politics has no place in local government. Candidates should contest these elections under their own banners and symbols randomly drawn from a list. Non-partisan local government is neither unique nor inconceivable. Local government in Malaya before 1960 was conducted without parties. Many cities around the world, including, for example, some of the largest in the United States such as Los Angeles and Chicago, have non-partisan elections for their city councillors.
SENATORS - Why are we,people, still not having elections for Senators? Even the Opposition ruled States like Kelantan, Penang and Selangor did not allow us to choose our own State Senators...They could have done this, but why did they not do this???

GENERAL ELECTIONS - Well, many are blaming Najib and the Federal Government for the delay...but then, Penang, Selangor and even Kelantan, governed by the Opposition could at any time dissolve the State Legislative Assembly and call for State Elections - Why have they not done so. Personally, I would prefer that that Federal and State Elections are done at a different time...Then the people, may consider the outcome of State Elections, and decide how they are going in the Federal Elections? Many consider 'check and balance', so if the Federal Government is governed by UMNO-BN, they may choose to vote in the Opposition for the State Government...Maybe...maybe??

DEMOCRACY - well, we vote in ONE MP - but after elections, that MP will be concerned for all in that constituency and will treat all equally. No favoritism for its supporters or party members...or 'friends'...But, unfortunately UMNO-BN government seems to have failed to do so...maybe also the Opposition government's of Kelantan, Penang and Selangor...Have all the Parliamentary Constitutions and State Assembly Constituents who chose an 'Opposition' MP and/or ADUN received the same attention and focus from the ruling Federal and State government? 

In Temerloh, traffic lights are not working, roads in Tamans/Town are not being maintained - pot holes, dissapearing white lines, etc ...Even in the Mentakab Pusat Kesihatan, the parking lines are barely visible and people end up parking where they should not be parking blocking exits... Why? Is it because we have a PAS MP, and an Amanah ADUN, DAP ADUN and a UMNO ADUN? But, outside Klang Valley, the state of affairs even in UMNO-BN constituencies seem to be same - thanks to the fact that UMNO-BN focussed more on KL and the Klang Valley?

How many of your MPs and ADUNs took the time to have public forums (and Dialogues) with the people in their constituency in the last 5 years? We are not talking about turning up at funerals and weddings, waving, smilling and shaking hands. We are not talking about turning up to hand over government allocations? We are talking about OPEN dialogues - answering questions, etc? When workers lose jobs in large numbers, how many MPs and/or ADUNs drop by and try to assist? How many MPs and/or ADUNs even have their own FB page, Blog and Website where they share their views about issues, tell the people what they are doing, share the questions and answers they got from the government, 'consulted' the people...How many MPs and/or ADUNs even shared their email address and phone contacts with their constituency - even some of the MP addresses at the Malaysian Parliamentary website do not work anymore? Well, we will be electing the 'people's representative' soon, and hopefully people will choose a 'people's representative' - not simply a candidate chosen by some party leaders...who may simply be 'loyal to current party leader', who may not even even have the capacity of having or forming their own views and maybe even not have the needed qualities to be a true people's representatives, who will fight for the best interest of the people...

I believe that some of our MP/ADUNs may just be too scared to have dialogues with people, answer questions of the people, ...because then the people will see that they really are not 'smart' or even not have the values and principles needed to be an effective 'wakil rakyat'...If they cannot even have dialogue and answer questions of their constituents, will they even be able to convince the government(or even their party leaders) about what is needed and should be done for their constituents and the people of Malaysia? We need strong, inteligent,...MPs/ADUNs...

A baby starts to crawl...and then begins to walk(and he/she will stumble and fall)...A good father/mother will do the needful to ensure that the child becomes independent, and be able to survive without any more being dependent on the parent/s....Does the government in Malaysia at all levels do the same to us...OR do they cultivate the idea that you(and I) cannot survive without them - DEPENDENCY? 

'Don't worry...we know what is best for you?' - Just keep quite not question, do not have a different view...LISTEN...LISTEN...WE KNOW WHAT IS BEST...

Well, democracy is different - we encourage independence - we encourage people to express themselves, their different views, their questions... We discuss...we try to convince people of what is right ...we may even change our position after listening to the different points and views...YES it takes time and energy, but that is DEMOCRACY...and both the UMNO-BN and the Opposition need to grow up and say, yes that is what we want - TRUE democracy - no more appointments - but democratic elections at all levels - SENATORS, Local Council, Kampung/Taman/Kampung Orang Asli/ Kampung Baru >> and the Federal Government/State Government will work with the people of Malaysia through their democratically elected representatives. People are free to choose who they want...

LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS could not have been held in Selangor and Penang because of some Federal law - so, if the Opposition is to win and form the Federal Government, one of the first assurance must be that they will have Local Council Elections within six(6) months, and thereafter will have elections at kampungs/taman/kampung baru/Kampung orang asli. They could also make it non-partisan - persons standing as individuals - not as party candidates. But let the people choose our own community leaders/representatives democratically - NO MORE GOVERNMENT APPOINTEES.

State government may be concerned as Local Council at present collect a lot of money - so maybe, laws could be passed, requiring the transmission of a certain percentage collected by Local Councils to the State Government for use for the State development and upliftment of the people.


Elect local leaders

AS a general rule, democratic countries hold elections to elect their leaders, members of parliament, state assemblymen, and local municipal councillors. Malaysians elect only members of parliament and state assemblymen whereas local councillors, including mayors or presidents, are appointed by their state government leaders.

However, there were local government elections in the past. In fact, as early as 1857, a hundred years before Malaya achieved independence, there were elections in Penang Island to elect local councillors.

The ratepayers in George Town elected three of the five municipal commissioners.

But the local government elections in George Town did not last very long. In 1913, elections were abolished and the colonial government in the Straits Settlements reverted to appointing the leaders in local authorities.

In 1950, the Local Authorities Election Ordinance was passed and once again George Town took the lead in local government elections in 1951. Nine out of 15 municipal commissioners were elected.

In the following year, elections were held to elect 12 out of 18 councillors in the Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council.

Similar elections were held for some state capitals in Malaya.

In fact, elections were also held in the new villages that were created to resettle farmers in enclosed settlements as part of the war against communist insurgents.

Winning candidates in local elections ranged across political parties. For example, in the 1952 municipal elections in Kuala Lumpur, nine out of 12 successful candidates were from the Alliance, a coalition of Umno, MCA and MIC. Two other elected councillors were from the multiracial Independence of Malaya Party led by Datuk Onn Jaafar. An independent candidate also won.

In December 1956, George Town Municipal Council became the first local council in Malaya to be fully elected. The president was chosen from among the councillors and the first person in the country to hold the post was Goh Guan Hoe, popularly known as G. H. Goh, of the Alliance.

Although Goh was popularly addressed as "mayor" he was officially the president of the council, as George Town was declared a city only on Jan 1, 1957.

By December 1957, when the head of the George Town City Council was officially designated as mayor, the Alliance had lost its majority and D. S. Ramanathan of the Labour Party was elected the first mayor of George Town. A road in Pulau Tikus has been named after the mayor.

Unfortunately, the progress of democracy in Malaysia was obstructed. In 1959, elections scheduled for Kuala Lumpur were suspended on the grounds that the electoral rolls were not ready. The planned elections were abolished the following year.

Furthermore, the scheduled local government elections for the rest of the country in 1965 and 1966 were also suspended. The official reason was "Konfrontasi" (Confrontation) from Indonesia.

It is fair to believe that the real reason for withholding elections was the Alliance government's fear of losing more local authorities to the opposition parties.

A Royal Commission of Enquiry (1968) led by Senator Datuk Athi Nahapan was set up to investigate the workings of local authorities in West Malaysia. He did a very good job. The report concluded that local authorities have an important role to play in providing essential services to the people and that local council elections should remain.

Unfortunately, the Local Government Act of 1976 provided for only appointed mayors or presidents and councillors. Until today, the leaders of all local councils, irrespective of whether they are city councils, municipal councils or district councils are still appointed.

It is time to bring back elected local authorities after more than 50 years, with political participation of local people for better accountability and transparency. Besides, elected councillors will be more effective in keeping cities or municipalities safe, clean, vibrant and interesting. As they are answerable to their electorate, they will pay more attention to the needs of the people rather.

Appointed mayors or presidents and councillors tend to pay allegiance to those who appointed them. As a result, they tend to take care of the state government's interests. - The Sun Daily, 23/10/2017

Bring back local elections

MALAYSIANS are expected to go to the polls soon to choose their representatives. It is again timely to raise the issue of local government elections. 

Although Malaysia is a democratic country, only members of Parliament and state assemblymen are elected by the people. Local councillors are appointed by mentris besar and chief ministers.

We did have elected local government in the past. In the early 1960s, the City Council of George Town, Municipal Council of Ipoh and Municipal Council of Malacca and all the local councils of new villages were elected.

The last local council elections were in 1963. Local government elections that were supposed to be held in 1964 and 1965 were suspended. The official reason given by the federal government was Indonesia's confrontation with Malaysia.

The suspension, supposed to be temporary, became permanent in 1976, when the Parliament passed the Local Government Act which only provided for appointed councillors, abolishing local government elections altogether.

Even before the 12th general election, the DAP had made calls for elected local councillors. Some consumers' associations, residents' associations, academicians and notable personalities, like retired judge Harun Hashim, also made similar calls.

Elected local government does not necessarily lead to good leadership and good urban governance. In elections, there is no guarantee that the good guys win. Scoundrels and bunglers could also get elected.

Besides, local government elections incur additional costs that can be enormous if held once every three years.

Another negative point is that in a multiracial and multi-religious society, local elections provide opportunities for racists and fanatics to hijack election campaigns to serve their narrow interests at the expense of national unity.

A sound argument for elected local government is that elected representation is the cornerstone of democracy.

Hence, the absence of elected councillors is a denial of democracy and accountability at the grass-root level of government.

Even if scoundrels or bunglers were to be elected, they would be, at least, the choice of the people.

According to the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Workings of Local Authorities in West Malaysia led by Senator Datuk Athi Nahappan, if a local government is not elected, it is non-representative.

If we hold fast to the time-honoured concept of "no taxation without representation", nominated local government undermines the legitimacy of local authorities to collect assessment rates which are the most important source of income of the local authorities.

That is why the Royal Commission Report concluded that the merits of elected local government with all its inherent weaknesses outweigh those of the nominated ones.

It is only right that Malaysia reintroduces local government elections. In a democratic society people elect their representatives.

While local government should be elected, there should be no partisan politics.

Local issues, such as safety, pleasant neighbourhoods and vibrant downtowns are non-ideological.

Party politics has no place in local government. Candidates should contest these elections under their own banners and symbols randomly drawn from a list.

Non-partisan local government is neither unique nor inconceivable.

Local government in Malaya before 1960 was conducted without parties. Many cities around the world, including, for example, some of the largest in the United States such as Los Angeles and Chicago, have non-partisan elections for their city councillors.

Hopefully in the years to come, race- and religion-based political parties will become insignificant entities.

As such, the workings of the local councils will be rid off over-emphasis on race and religion rather than on the welfare of ratepayers.

Each local council should establish commissions to help and advise on specific issues such as architecture, planning, waste management, traffic and beautification.

Members of the commissions can be appointed from knowledgeable residents and leaders of trade or professional associations.

This not only lightens the work of councillors, but also ensures that many ratepayers have a role in the governance of their towns or cities.

In conclusion, elected local councillors are more accountable to ratepayers than appointed ones.

Conducting non-partisan elections for city councillors enables more democratic representation at all levels of government, and fosters a better sense of civic and community engagement among residents.

It would go a long way towards instilling pride in our towns and cities. - The Sun Daily, 16/1/2018

George Town's first mayor a fiery man

Saturday, 5 Oct 2013 by wong chun wai The educator: Ramanathan in his office in 1963. - Photo courtesy of MBS Heritage Centre
The educator: Ramanathan in his office in 1963. - Photo courtesy of MBS Heritage Centre

PENANG, or more specifically George Town, still does not have a mayor or Datuk Bandar although it has long attained the status of a recognised city.

Many towns in Malaysia are eager to seek city status and have to work hard to meet the requirements and standards.

Ironically, there are also those which have attained city status but in reality, are not functioning as cities, in the eyes of many.

Back in 1956, George Town had become the first municipality in the Federation of Malaya to have a fully elected council, with G.H. Goh from the Alliance comprising Umno, MCA and MIC as its first president.
More importantly, on Jan 1, 1957, George Town became a city by a royal charter granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
George Town, in other words, was the first town in the Federation of Malaya to be elevated to a city, and the only city in Malaya/Malaysia until Kuala Lumpur was granted city status in 1972.

The first mayor of George Town was councillor D.S. Ramanathan from the Labour Party of Malaya.

The former teacher, who began his career in Perak, was the president of the National Union of Teachers from 1959 to 1962 as well as vice-president of the Malayan Teachers National Congress from 1961-1962.

During that period, he was also an active member of the National Joint Council of Teachers.

But it was his involvement in politics that Ramanathan made his mark in the state’s historical landscape.

He was a founder member of the Pan Malayan Labour Party and was its first chairman.
Politics at the local level was very vibrant back then.

The people at that time elected over 3,000 representatives to head 37 town councils, 37 town boards, 289 local councils and seven district councils.

George Town was said to be the richest local council with reserves totalling $6.037mil.

Local elections were suspended in 1964 because of the Indonesian Confrontation.

Ramanathan was popular and was elected the mayor of George Town for two terms – 1958 and 1959.

According to a report in The Star by Neil Khor and Khaldun Malik, after elections were suspended, “Ramanathan accused his local council colleagues of corruption and mismanagement” leading to the formation of the Athi Nahappan Commission to study the alleged corruption and inefficiency of local government in Malaysia.

Despite his socialist inclinations and fiery image, Ramanathan was a dedicated Methodist.

After finishing his term as mayor, he was appointed as the headmaster of the Penang Pykett Methodist School.
The appointment by the Annual Conference of the Malayan Methodists was reported in the Straits Times issue of Dec 15, 1959.

Ramanathan, who passed away in 1973, was married to Ruth Vanniasingham, who now lives in Kuala Lumpur.

But her family members declined The Star’s request for an interview.

Hailing from a prominent Jaffna- Tamil family, her father, Kanagasa-bapathy Vanniasingham founded the Tamil Methodist Church in Penang.

According to reports, Ruth was the first person in Penang to obtain the Licentiate of the Trinity College of Music in 1936.

She initially taught Penang’s renowned pianist Dennis Lee before he went to the United Kingdom.

Scott Road, a small road off Air Rajah Road, has been renamed in honour of Ramanathan.

Scott Road is said to have been named after James Scott, who was a partner of Francis Light.

The land on which the then Scott Road passes through was formerly the Ayer Rajah Estate which belonged to the Brown Family, which has close ties with the Scotts, according to reports.

Although Ramanathan has been described as “an erstwhile socialist challenging the colonial and federal authorities for the most downtrodden people in the country, and stood side by side with Lim Kean Siew and other socialists” the politicking from within the ranks made him quit the socialist platform.

With various allegations hurled against him, Ramanathan resigned from the LPM to become an independent councillor and subsequently an Alliance councillor, representing the MIC.

The principal: Ramanathan (front, third from right) with the other members of the Penang Pykett Methodist School board.
Not surprisingly, the Left has not spoken highly of him, and has refused to accord him the kind of respect given to other socialist comrades.

When Scott Road was renamed in his honour, it sparked off controversy and the road sign was defaced on numerous occasions.

One reader wrote in to The Star, at the height of the controversy, to say that if any road should be renamed in his honour, it should be Pykett Road, since he was the headmaster of the school there.

Some said the residents, who are mostly affluent, did not like being linked to someone with a socialist background.

Others claim the controversy was ignited by his former socialist comrades.

But a compromise seems to have been struck, ending the standoff, with the city authorities putting both the names of Ramanathan and Scott on the roadsign now.

As a student, then in my secondary years, I spent a fair bit of time playing football with my school mates at the open field at the then Scott Road.

Although I lived in Ayer Itam, which was far away from the area, it did not stop me from cycling all the way to Scott Road, where many of my friends were living nearby in Pulau Tikus for our games.

My years as a Boy Scout also led me to spend my time there, carrying out my patrol (or team) activities there.

While his politics were contentious, Ramanathan has surely left his mark as a school principal with many of his former students posting fond memories of him on the Internet.

In fact, he was also credited for his pioneering efforts to set up a university in Penang.

The idea of a university in Penang was first mooted by him in 1959 in the State Assembly and later crystalised when he was nominated chairman of the Penang University Project committee.

The Universiti Sains Malaysia opened in 1969 and is today one of the leading tertiary institutions of learning in Malaysia.

Ramanathan will certainly be remembered for his contributions as a mayor, politician, teacher, unionist and educationist.- Star, 5/10/2013