(Here’s why we should go that extra mile to ensure science, technology and mathematics forms the bedrock of a nation instead of religion. Infographic source: http://visual.ly/transforming-science-education)
The week started on a rather sour note:-
Lebuhraya Mahameru will have its name changed to Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar. The installation of new signboards is expected to begin today.
THE decision by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to rename eight major roads has not gone down well with city folk.
In a statement by DBKL, well-known roads such as Jalan Duta, Jalan Ipoh and Lebuhraya Mahameru will be changed to reflect the names of past Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The installation of new signboards is expected to begin today.
As the news broke early yesterday morning, city folk took to social media to vent their disbelief and frustration
Didn’t I say that in this country, we are looking at far too trivial matters when there are far more important matters that we need to be concerned off?
For start, I still do not understand what is the benefit of changing these well-known and often used road names to past Kings’ names. If it is to promote the good name and respect for the monarchy, this is not the way to do it. Besides if the reason for changing the road names is indeed due to the respect for our Kings and not because someone had an itch somewhere on his body, what had happened to change the names rather urgently? Nothing at all. Further, there will always be a good opportunity to name something “new” with the Agong’s name – new roads, new buildings, new bridges, new submarines & ships, etc. Why go ahead and fix something that is not broken?
It is obvious that it was done without any much thought to the inconvenience and waste of time and money that the ordinary citizen will incur with these “clumsy” decisions. For start, the taxpayers is going to be burdened with additional cost of changing the sign boards and road users is going to be burdened with re-remembering the new names (and updating their GPS data mapping).
It is something that others are also asking:-
To further understand the reasons, I queried him: if that is the case then why are we changing street names that have already been changed – re: Jalan Duta which formerly known as Guillemard Road? What about the historical value of these streets? Was there any meeting with heritage agencies or bodies prior? Was there a public discussion that the public missed out?
How much cost incurred to change these signages? Ismail answered that the cost is between RM3,000 and RM5,000 per signage. In total, he would not how many signages to be changed. He can’t even estimate – it is just too technical for him.
Ok never mind this decision by the authorities for now although I am going to miss names like “Jalan Duta” and “Lebuhraya Mahameru”. It has not been the first time we have watched a “do first, think later” in motion in this country. We had bigger circus in town that dwarfed this decision.
Ah yes, I am talking about the UMNO general assembly. As usual and nothing surprising, from the past years’ general assemblies, there was plenty of talks of survival & desperate fight for the community (somehow for a few days in a year, the community becomes an endangered species), the warnings of be careful of the non-Malays (despite the non Malays are not heading the government of the day), how if not united (yes, against the non Malays, again), the community will be left out in the country, blah, blah, blah was the high note of the general assembly this time as well. Somehow over the years, we have become immune to these seditious talks when the circus comes to the town.
But interestingly 2 items stood out that perhaps need a greater scrutiny. First was of course the reversal of the decision to scrap the Sedition Act.
To further justify it, Najib even said that it will be strengthen to protect Malaysians from, well, other Malaysian:-
The decision to retain the Sedition Act 1948 has nothing to do with keeping Barisan Nasional in power, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sunday.
Najib, who is also Barisan chairman, said there was no ulterior motive in the move to retain the Act as it could not ensure the coalition would be re-elected in the coming or future general election.
Najib added that the Sedition Act was not just about the protection of Muslims and the Malays, but extends to all races.
“We will also ensure that the enforcement of the Sedition Act will be fair and according to the law,” he said.
And mind you, this comes from the same man who just 2 years ago announced that he is going to repeal the dreaded Sedition Act as part of his visionary road map for a very transformed Malaysia. So, hearing the man to turn around and now say that there is no ulterior motive to retain the Act and the use of the Act would be fair and according to the law, one have to wonder and ask the question “would you believe him again?” And just to see how Najib’s administration has been “fair” in applying the law in the past, you don’t have to go far back in history.
Let’s take this for example:-
I am only going to refer now, in red, to the fifth “seditious tendency” referred to in Section 3 – “to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia”.
Can we think of any?
Calling Chinese ‘pendatang‘, perhaps?
Threatening to spill the blood of the Chinese with the keris, no?
So, if you utter words that might have the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia, you would have committed an offence under the Sedition Act, 1948.
Well, not if you are Ibrahim Ali, and not if you uttered such words that had the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between Muslims and Christians of Malaysia but your intentions were not to cause such hostility but to defend Islam.
In other words, under the Sedition Act, 1948, the intention of Ibrahim Ali, at the time he called for the burning of the Holy Bible, is irrelevant in considering if those words would have a seditious tendency.
And even better is this:-
Umno delegate Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said should be investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 for claiming that the “Chinese are getting rich through illegal activities”, an MCA leader said today.
Penang MCA liaison committee secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong said Zaidi should be probed and punished to ensure others do not make similar comments, The Star reported.
The Permatang Pauh Umno division chairman, told delegates at the Umno general assembly that the Chinese in Penang gained wealth and power by being involved in illicit economic activities, such as gambling, prostitution and entertainment outlets.
One threatened to burn bibles whilst another said that another race got their wealth from illicit economic activities. Well, let’s see if Najib keeps his words this time. Will he be fair and apply the law as he had mentioned? He does not have to wait for new improved Sedition Act to be in place – the current Sedition Act should be more than enough to haul couple of trouble-makers to the court. That’s fair, right?
The next thing that stood out in the general assembly was this:-
He said some current component party leaders had dared to question Malay and Muslim issues, such as religious schools, covering of women’s aurat (modesty) and the Shariah Court. Khairul Anwar said he believed they did this to gain popularity in their own communities.
“So let them become the presidents of MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the rest, but when they want to sit in BN’s highest council, they should be voted in by the Malays of Umno. “We do not want them to be cheering for their own communities and questioning our race.”
Should I comment further? Does that some how this nails the truth right on it’s head doesn’t it?
Although it has not happened and I don’t think Najib would be dumb enough to do so but perhaps it is just a matter of time before UMNO actually decides to hand pick the presidents of MCA, MIC, etc. And it’s funny for Khairul Anwar to say that he believed they did this to gain popularity in their own communities. Then what do you call the yearly bashing of the non Malays during the UMNO’s general assembly? Does that also qualifies “doing it to gain popularity on one’s own community”? A classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Let’s face reality – a race based society can never be good for any country that wants to move forward. The yearly race bashing should stop now and for those who bend the other way should be punished – no double standards applying, of course. There’s no two ways about it, if we want this country highly developed, resilient to external threats and economically robust. Let’s us focus on what is more critical and urgent.