KUALA LUMPUR: The global trafficking of children for illicit adoption, prostitution, forced labour or recruitment of minors as child soldiers are a serious problem of international concern.
According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) website (www.unodc.org), about 1.2 million children are trafficked each year, and 20 percent of the victims of human trafficking are children.
The problem is indeed serious but law enforcement alone cannot combat this inhuman crime, so in 2004 a scientist from University of Granada, Spain Dr Jose A Lorente suggested a unique programme to combat human trafficking by using DNA.
Program for Kids Identification (DNA-Prokids) seeks to come up with worldwide DNA registries to be made up of parents with a missing or abducted child, homeless children found living on the streets or in shelters, and children found in orphanages or illegal adoption centres.
DNA-Prokids (www.dna-prokids.org) aims to identify missing children, to reunite abducted and homeless children with their parents and to provide law enforcement agencies a scientific method to help combat children trafficking.
This programme also aims to gather information on the origins, the routes and the means of this crime (police intelligence), a key elements for the work of police forces and judicial systems.
The goal was not to limit the scope of research to domestic crimes but to spread results worldwide, with aim of boosting international fight against human trafficking, the DNA-Prokids website said.
DNA-Prokids has five main objectives to co! mbat chi ldren trafficking.
The first one is promoting international and systematic collaboration, thus creating a worldwide database with genetic information.
The second objective is studying and applying improvements to enable police and judicial systems to fight more effectively human trafficking, especially children and women.
The third and fourth objectives are analysing and suggesting a common legislative framework and solving social communication problems that hamper the effective fight against human trafficking.
The fifth and last objective is providing collaboration for coordination and training specialist in genetic identification from different countries, the website said.
There are now eight countries that have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with DNA-Prokids. These are Brazil, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Malaysia and eight other countries, namely Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, India, South Korea, Paraguay, Peru and Vietnam are still in the process of signing a memorandum with DNA-Prokids.
On Nov 14, there will be a pre-symposium about DNA-Prokids here.
Meanwhile, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the special representative and coordinator for the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said there were so many children vulnerable to trafficking.
They include boys and girl from abusive or dysfunctional families, the child of drug addicts, child victims of domestic violence, the child belonging to ethnic minorities, the child left behind by migrating parents, orphans and children in institutions.
These vulnerable children often come to the attention of the public authorities at some stage and we need to be aware and take opportunities to intervene and strengthen the protective environment around children, she was quoted in the UNODC website.
He said this would be among the proposal to be submitted to the government in view of the large annual amount of allocation given to students to pursue higher learning either in or outside the country.
This is also to ease the financial burden borne by the corporation because many are not repaying their loan. Study loans, however, will continue, he told Bernama, here.
PTPTN board of directors decided on Oct 31 to submit a proposal to stop giving loans for expenses from 2013 to minimise the burden borne by the corporation.
Ismail said the final decision on the matter would be made by the government.
If the government is not agreeable to it, the loan will continue, he said.
Ismail, who is Kuala Krau Member of Parliament, said up until now, a total of 1.87 million of students have been given PTPTN loans amounting to RM41.60 billion.
He said that next year some 2.5 million more students are expected to apply for PTPTN loans.
Borrowers have repaid only RM3.74 billion up to last September out of RM6.2 billion of projected repayment.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassins denial that he had been inconsistent on the government policy on the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in English (PPSMI) has only made him a flip-flop Minister who denies that he flip-flops on PPSMI.
That Muhyiddin had flip-flopped, there is no need to go further than to quote the chairman of Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim who told the Malaysian Insider that she was pleasantly surprised by Muhyiddins announcement on PPSMI last Friday, pointing out that until Thursday, Muhyiddin had appeared bent on pressing on with the governments original decision to scrap PPSMI completely next year. (The Malaysian Insider).
Controversial constitutional law academician, Aziz Bari has offered the view that PPSMI is unconstitutional in violating Article 152. He disagreed with the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment by Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh in May 2010 that it is constitutional for mathematics and science to be taught in English.
This is the second case where I do not agree with Aziz Bari , the other being his contention that hudud laws could be implemented without amendment of the Federal Constitution.
DAP had all along been consistent and principled in our stand on PPSMI.
DAP welcomes Muhyiddins announcement on PPSMI last Friday although it is not a satisfactory long-term solution to address the problems of raising the standards of English, mathematics and science among our students so that Malaysia can enhance our international competitiveness with the rest of the world.
When Muhyiddin announced the BN government decision to abolish the PPSMI in July 2009, I had described it as a Cabinet decision which was as disastrous as the Cabinet decision in 2002 to rush headlong into implementing PPSMI for Std. One for all national, Chines! e and Ta mil primary schools without any preparation or research whatsoever.
In my statement dated 13th July 2009, I had made four proposals for the Cabinet to undo the various disasters of its decision on PPSMI, viz:
Endorsing the call of Parents Action Group for Education (Page) that schools should be given the option to teach science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia or English or in ones mother tongue;
Revert to the use of English as medium of instruction for mathematics and science in secondary schools;
A flexible education approach that takes into account the urban-rural gap as well as the weaknesses of students, particularly in rural areas in proficiency in English, mathematics and science; and
The important principle that advanced students should not be held back because of students who lagged behind academically.
Why did I say that the Cabinet decision in July 2009 to abolish the PPSMI was as disastrous as the 2002 Cabinet decision to implement the PPSMI? This was what I said in my statement of 13th July 2009:
The Cabinet decision on PPSMI (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English) is as disastrous as the Cabinet decision in 2002 to rush headlong into implementing PPSMI from Std. One for all national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools without any preparation or research whatsoever.
Now, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in justifying the Cabinets latest decision on PPSMI has made the shocking revelation that before the PPSMI was launched six years ago, there had been neither discussion or approval by the Cabinet nor discussion with the parents.
Several current Ministers were in the 2002 Mahathir Cabinet, including the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, DPM Muhyiddin himself, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Information, Communication and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, and they as well as the leaderships! of Umno , MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other Barisan Nasional component parties should all explain how they could permit such a far-reaching decision affecting the future generation of Malaysians to be taken in so haphazard and irresponsible a manner!
I agree that the Cabinet decision on PPSMI last Wednesday came as a bombshell to many, especially those in the urban areas.
Just before Najibs Cabinet reshuffle on April 10, the then Education Minister Hishamuddin was expected to have proposed the reversion to mother tongue for mathematics and science only at primary level, while retaining PPSMI at the secondary level.
As many had said, the complete reversal of PPSMI at both primary and secondary levels has come as a real surprise, as it is sheer political expediency which makes no educational sense whatsoever.
For instance, last Wednesdays Cabinet decision means that Malaysia will have the most crazy educational system, where students in Form 4 in 2012 will have to switch to Bahasa Malaysia for mathematics and science in the last two years of secondary education, after nine years of learning these two subjects in English again to switch back to English for pre-university and tertiary education!
Ministers who want millions of Malaysian students to go through the crazy system of nine years of mathematics and science in English from Std. 1 to Form 3, followed by two years in Bahasa Malaysia in Forms 4 and 5, and switch back again to English for pre-university and tertiary education must have their heads examined as to whether they are fit to be in Cabinet in the first place!
A boycott is out of the questionWe believe in the power of the people, the voice of the rakyat.
So we would like to say to the government of day to think about the rakyat and do not underestimate or belittle the rakyat as they know better.
They want to see a fair election, said Fuziah, who was here recently.
Shedidnot rule out the possibility of Bersih 3.0 (rally) taking place, if the government and the Election Commission (EC) failed to meet the peoples demand for genuine electoral reform, before the 13th General Election.
She was responding to speculations that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would likely dissolve parliament on Nov 11 and call for the 13th general election in December before electoral reforms are implemented.
She said among the far-reaching reforms that were proposed was the the use of indelible ink to prevent the casting of votes by phantom voters.
By the time (if EC fails to carry out electoral reform) things will no longer be in our hands but in the peoples hands.
The rakyat have shown what they are capable of (Bersih 1.0 and 2.0) so we dont know what will happen.
They want to see a fair election. It is not just Pakatan (Rakyat) but the people asking for it,said Fuziah who is also a PKR vice-president recently.
Rakyat Reform Agenda
PKR is not the first group to warn of further demonstrations to press for electoral reform in the country.
Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) president, Haris Ibrahim, during! a road show to introduce the groups Rakyat Reform Agenda (RARA) here in late September also warned of an imminent Bersih 3.0 if the government falters on the issue.
Fuziah noted that a Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reform is being pushed to propose the use of the indelible ink to EC.
If adopted it will prevent voters voting multiple times as has happened in past elections.
However the use of indelible ink by itself will not be able to prevent phantom voters from voting as their names are allegedly already on the electoral rolls.
Only a thorough scrutiny and clean up the electoral roll can ensure a clean election, said Fuziah who also urged Sabah PKR to strive to beef up their election machinery in order to be able to thwart any fraud in the coming general election.
PKR is looking at putting up a strong challenge in Libaran, Batu Sapi, Penampang, Tawau, Sulabayan, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Pensiangan, Keningau, Kepayan, Kuamut, Ranau, Beaufort and Tuaran.
Confirming widely speculated rumours here, the state government recently disclosed in its written answer to a DAP assemblyman that most contracts were awarded without an open tender being called.
The contracts were awarded to two companies Titanium Project Management Sdn Bhd and Woodville Construction Sdn Bhd.
Titanium is linked to Abu Bekir.
The revelations, according to Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, were really shocking.
These details which are contained in the answers to my questions (submitted to the State Legislative Assembly) are really shocking, he said.
Chong, who is also state DAP secretary, had put in his questions during the assemblys June sitting.
He had written to ask the State Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister for a list of all contractors awarded by the state and federal governments for the construction and completion of bridges in Sarawak in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
He had also asked for the respective contract sums and actual sums of each bridge.
Contracts to Titanium
Chong also wanted to know whether the awards of these contracts were carried out pursuant to an open tender process and, if so, what were the criteria and consideration for appointment of these contractors as the main contractors for these bridges.
Basically, there are two companies given the state projects to build bridges in Sarawak without open tender.
One was Woodville Construction which is owned by Shin Yang group of companies and the other was Ti! tanium P roject Management which is owned by Abu Bekir, son of the chief minister, he said.
Woodville Construction was given two projects worth RM217,500,000 while Titanium Project Management was awarded one contract.
In 2008, the Titanium Project Management was awarded a contract to design, construct and complete bridges and culverts to replace temporary and semi-permanent council bridges and some Public Work Department bridges in Sarawak.
Under this contract, a few hundred bridges were given to Titanium Project Management to construct, and the value of the contract is RM1,178,410,000, he said, pointing out that this was almost a monopoly in the construction of bridges.
What is shocking is that the state projects were awarded to Abu Bekir and Shin Yang companies not through open tenders unlike the federal projects.
This is totally against the principle of fairness and transparency in awarding government contracts.
If you remember in 2001, the government contract was given to Titanium Management to construct 384 bridges at the cost of RM500 million.
In 2006, the company constructed only 332 bridges or about 80 percent of the bridges, but the government has to pay the company RM948 million, he said.
This time the contract was awarded to Titanium Project Management.
Although it is a different name, it is the same company with the word Project added to its name with the same constitution and the same shareholders.
This is an abuse of power and an unfair government practice that is cutting o! ff other contractors from doing government works.
I think the State Infrastructure Development and Communication Minister Michael Manyin has a lot of explanation to make to the people of Sarawak, said Chong.
He described the whole process of awarding these contracts by the state government as smacking of corrupt practices.
When asked if the opposition would lodge a report on the issue with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Chong said: Is there any use?
There is no point to lodge a report as MACC has made its position very clear that binoculars that could be purchased for RM5,000 each and were charged at RM50,000 apiece is not corruption.
Chong was referring to the Auditor-Generals Report 2010 which disclosed that binoculars purchased by the Marine Department was charged RM50,000 each instead of RM5,000 as it should have been.
If that is not corruption, I dont know what corruption is. But the MACC ruled that it is not corruption, he said, drawing a comparison between this issue and the Teoh Beng Hock case.
MACC, a BN political tool
Chong said Teoh had allegedly spent RM2,000 to buy and distribute Malaysian flags and the MACC interrogated him throughout the night and forced him to commit suicide.
If you compare this case with Teohs, you can see a stark difference in the treatment, he said.
Chong said that although there was a prima facie corruption case, the MACC did not open any file or investigate.
They just brushed off the case.
Judging by the way it (MACC) conducts itself, it appears that MACC is a political tool of Barisan Nasional to oppress the opposition, while condoning such acts of abuse of public funds by the BN government, he said.
PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 chairperson, S Ambiga, has thrown her support behind the Malaysia Civil Liberties Movements (MCLM) stand to prevent the next general elections from proceeding before the necessary reforms are put in place.
On Saturday MCLM president, Haris Ibrahim, said that MCLM had received credible information that Parliament will be dissolved on November 11 and that polling day would be fixed for December 10.
He pointed out that any elections called before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) had completed its work will not be free and fair.
Haris said MCLM will take all steps necessary to stop the general elections from proceeding before reforms are put in place.
Bersih 2.0 completely understands why MCLM has taken this stand, Ambiga told FMT.
They had done so based on information that the prime minister (Najib Tun Razak) will be calling for elections before implementing electoral reforms.
PSC an eyewash
Last week the Election Commission (EC) told an online news portal that it would be conducting a briefing exercise for its electoral officers and is expected to complete it by the end of this month.
Previously the nation went to the polls five months after the training was completed but the EC has remained mum over whether it is at the tail-end of preparations for the next general elections.
Ambiga heavily stressed the importance of electoral reform and that Malaysia cannot go to the polls with the electoral roll in its current state.
There is certainly a feeling that there was no genuine intention to reform and that the PSC was just an eyewash.
The rakyat will definitely feel misled.
We accepted the setting up of the PSC in good faith an! d it wil l be a letdown for the rakyat if the elections proceed without any electoral reform, she said grimly.
Ambiga confirmed that she, as well as other Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee members, will be turning up at Parliament on November 11 when the PSC holds its first public hearing there.
I dont have a problem meeting them. I am willing to meet anyone, as long as they have an objective because we are talking about peace here.
I dont want to risk anything that might jeopardise peace in the country, he told reporters after attending an Aidiladha function at Masjid Bukit Antarabangsa here today.
In a statement here last night, the programme organisers expressed a wish to meet with Ismail to explain their objective.
They regretted that the public, including the peoples representatives, had chosen to condemn the programme.
Ismail said police would still carry out an investigation as provided for under the law.
On the alleged involvement of former Bar Council president S Ambiga in the programme, Ismail maintained that the police would record her statement and those of the other organisers.
The programme, set for Nov 2 until Nov 13, was to have been held at the Central Markets Annexe Gallery for the fourth time since 2008. It was cancelled after the police banned the functions organised by any group related to it to safeguard public order.
Various parties have also protested against the event which they saw as an attempt to promote lesbianism, homosexuality, bisexuality and transexuality, which they claimed were against societys norm.
Meanwhile, Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said the government will take action against groups which organise functions related to the Seksualiti Merdeka programme here.
He said Kuala Lu! mpur Cit y Hall (DBKL) would periodically monitor the situation to ensure efforts to promote or encourage the programme was brought to a halt.
He said DBKL had the right to take action as such events were not given approval.
If it is carried out at business premises, we can confiscate the premises, and if its held in public, we can take action against the organiser, he said.
Raja Nong Chik was speaking to reporters at the Perdana Qurban Ceremony 2011 in Jalan Klang Lama here today.
He said although such programmes were carried out annually since 2008, DBKL had not received complaints as there was no publicity on the matter.
When will four MCA Ministers make the formal proposal in Cabinet to make English a compulsory pass subject for SPM?
Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 6th November 2011:
When will four MCA Ministers make the formal proposal in Cabinet to make English a compulsory pass subject for SPM?
I welcome the proposal by the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek to make English a compulsory pass subject for SPM, although it was a decade after I had made such a proposal.
On 18th May 2002, in expressing the DAP's full support for the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's call to Malaysian students to master English as "necessary for communications essential to keep abreast of developments in the technical fields such as engineering and science", I had gone one step further in proposing making pass in English compulsory in SPM, STPM and matriculation.
This is what I said some 10 years ago:
"The government has been talking about the decline of the standard of English language in the past two decades and the urgent need to arrest it, but it had nothing to show for the results.
"There can be no dispute as to the importance of English as a global language in the era of globalisation and information and communications technology. English is the dominant language of commerce, of science, of the skies, of the Internet and of opportunity.
"It is the official language of in more than 75 countries. Although 1.2 billion people speak Chinese as their mother tongue, more than 1.5 billion people speak English as their mother-tongue or use it as a second or foreign language. Plans are afoot for some 300 million people Chinese in China to learn to speak and use English.
"The European Union uses English alongside French at its informal gatherings, even though Europe has more native German and Italian speakers. In Japan, the government had said that the tongue of its onetime enemies should become its second official language to 'achieve world-class excellence'. In Dutch-speaking Netherlands, some government officials recent! ly propo sed switching the language of education to English - the language of most reference works.
"Virtually all scientific organizations use English, partly because most relevant literature and terminology is in English and partly because scientists want to spend time on science, not on translation.
The urgent question for Malaysia is not whether English is an important global language which Malaysians must master if we are not to continue to lose our edge of international competitiveness, but what immediate actions to take to arrest the catastrophic decline of the standard of English and to achieve a turnaround to the high standard of English three decades ago."
In my statement of May 2002, I had raised the most fundamental question about the PPSMI (teaching of mathematics and science in English) which was being introduced at the time, viz:
Educationists and parents are legitimately concerned whether with the present low standards in English, Mathematics and Science, without major reforms in the infrastructure of the education system for the teaching and learning of English, the teaching of science and mathematics in English from Standard One would be a cure worse than the disease resulting in further lowering of the standards of Mathematics and Science without any significant increase in English fluency.
"Musa (the then Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad) should make public all the studies which the Education Ministry had carried out which positively demonstrated that the immediate introduction of the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English from Standard One is the best and most effective method to arrest the decline of the English standard in the schools - as parents are equally concerned about the decision.
"I believe the decision with the most far-reaching effects in generally raising the standard of English in schools is to make a pass in English compulsory for SPM, STPM and matriculation examinations, which should be seriously considered and decided by the! Cabinet on Wednesday.
"The Cabinet should also establish an all-party committee to launch a nation-wide campaign to promote the learning and use of English among the people to restore Malaysia's international competitiveness edge lost as a result of the unchecked decline in the standard of English in the past three decades - so that this problem is tackled in a non-partisan manner transcending the pressures of political party competition."
The four MCA Ministers in Cabinet ten years ago never supported the proposal to make English a compulsory pass subject even just for SPM, and the standard of English in the schools and universities had further declined in the past decade with Malaysia losing out to other ASEAN countries like Singapore and the Philippines in terms of English proficiency.
When will the four MCA Ministers raise the proposal to make English a compulsory pass subject for SPM in Cabinet - or is this only a MCA proposal meant for media publicity and not to be pursued seriously in the Education Ministry or Cabinet?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh TimorTimor
UNDILa Bersih Negara!!!! care to comment... by Nigel ( from Malaysia Today)
But then there you are. An UMNOPUTRA does not need any prior knowledge or experience to be qualified for government handouts. The idea is to create a successful Bumiputra which can be admired and emulated by others. But more importantly, he must be able to delive! r votes when called upon to do so by whoever the boss is. Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian have given wide coverage of this great project conceived to overcome the shortage of red meat in the country. How you might ask did Dr Salleh manage to pull off such a spectacular coup to get the government through the Ministry of Agriculture (Muhyiddin Yassin) to grant him the RM250 million loan at 3.5% over a repayment period of 10 years? Now lets try to put two and two together. The country needed to do something to substitute importation of red meat from Australia and India. Thats fair enough. So the project has to be big. RM250million is a nice round figure (even though RM25 million would have been ample). And remember the great battle for UMNO Deputy Presidency between Muhyiddin, Muhd Taib and Ali Rastam? Well, Sharizat was Ketua Wanita UMNO at that time. Muhyiddin needed the wanita votes to beat Muhd Taib and Ali Rastam. RM250 million is nothing much especially when it is the rakyats money. If it makes a difference between winning and losing why not? After all its just a loan to Sharizats husband. Now you get the picture? If you go to Mont Kiara, look for a restaurant and butcher shop which sells the most expensive beef in the country. Its the only one in the vicinity. In fact the only one of its kind in Malaysia. Exclusively for those with deep pockets of course. If you go to the Lake Club, go to the gym. You are bound to bump into Sharizats husband any day at around 9am! Of course you will have to get past the tight security first. With a fat bank account, he needs to take care of his body. Be patient, and when Muhyiddin is ready to take on Najib, there will no doubt be more projects coming his way. All he needs to do is maintain his fitness. And make sure that Sharizat continues to be the UMNO Wanita Chief. With that kind of deal why bother do anything? See the picture now? Muhyiddin got the Deputy Presidents post and therefore the DPM post thanks to Sharizats help (and the RM250 million deal). Meanwhile ! we the M alays have to be content with consuming Indian Beef lah while waiting for Dr Salleh to learn and gain enough experience to start giving us some real meat through the National Feedlot Corporation project. And hopefully, when Muhyiddin becomes PM, meat will also be on the list of subsidized items. Let's just have a little patience! God Bless You