God hears the prayers of the oppressed
Far from feeling remorse over the damnation prayer issue, Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat took another swipe at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak this morning albeit without mentioning his name.
Accompanied by deafening cheers from a huge crowd in Kota Bahru, the PAS spiritual leader proclaimed: “As long as they do not give (the oil royalty), we will pray until that person’s stomach bursts.”
Nik Aziz was addressing thousands of his supporters who had gathered in the state capital in a show of support for the embattled menteri besar.
“The rejection in oil royalty payment to the Kelantan government could be described as a violation of a basic human rights,” he said.
The supporters also wore headbands with the words ‘We love Tok Guru’.
Senior state exco Husam Musa, PAS Youth leader Roslani Alani Abdul Kadir and several others also addressed the crowd.
Previously, Nik Aziz had drawn flak from Umno leaders when he threatened to perform a special prayer for the ‘demise’ of the premier over the oil royalty issue.
Liquor ban issue
The PAS spiritual leader said 19 years ago, the non-Muslim community had protested the state’s move to control the selling of liquor.
“At that time, there were some who claimed of wanting to organise a liquor feast to protest the state government’s actions.
“After explaining the whole situation, the non-Muslims began to support the state government’s move,” he said, suggesting that the people would also understand the need for the ‘damnation prayer’ call in relation to the oil royalty.
On Tuesday, hundreds of Umno supporters led by its Pasir Mas division leaders and using the name of Jemaah Rakyat Prihatin Kelantan or Group of Concerned Kelantanese, held a demonstration in front of the state’s administrative centre the Darulnaim Complex, demanding that Nik Aziz apologise to Najib.
Nik Aziz explained his call for prayers in seeking divine intervention was in response to the federal government’s action of not handing over oil royalty payments to Kelantan, which has been under PAS rule since 1990.
Najib, instead, announced the payment of ‘wang ehsan’ (compassionate money) channelled through federal agencies in Kelantan.
‘They can never cheat voters’
Asked to comment on the criticisms levelled against him recently by Umno and federal government leaders, Nik Aziz said BN is worried and the aim is to divert public attention from the squabblings within their component parties.
“They can fool such troublemakers, however, they can never cheat Kelantan voters,” he said.
The hour-long gathering ended with shouts of takbir from his supporters.
Nik Aziz had been under attack on several issues following the fiasco in Kelantan Chief Minister Inc and the appointment and resignation of his son-in-law Mohd Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman as its chief executive officer.
There were also criticism over Nik Aziz’s intention of going for the haj, with the financial backing of a contractor.
Kelantan Chief Minister Inc is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged graft. Its investigations are now nearing completion.
Muhyiddin loss for words
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin initially said he was at a loss for words when asked to comment on the matter.
However, he eventually lambasted Niz Aziz for his unbecoming behaviour as an Islamic leader.
“I don”t know what to say,” said the deputy premier.
“Moreover, since it is coming from the (PAS) spiritual advisor, we are rather shocked. I don’t know what to say.”
Muhyiddin said a true Muslim would not wish ill of another and urged other religious scholars within PAS to criticise Nik Aziz for doing so.
Information Communication and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim said the PAS spiritual leader’s opinions were no longer acceptable although he was a knowledgeable and elderly person.
“We used we see him as the party’s spiritual leader but now we see him as someone who only knows how to revile others.
“This (Nik Aziz’s offensive statements) is not the work of a religious man, not the work of a spiritual adviser, this is vilification (of others),” he told reporters here today.
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN
Much more can be done to raise the quality of life of the disabled.
TODAY is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), a day set aside by the United Nations since the early 1990s for world communities to stop, think and act in the interest of people with disabilities (PwD).
Malaysia is no exception.
In fact, this morning, Selangor Welfare chairman Rodziah Ismail is launching a unique awards ceremony for PwDs at The Curve’s pedestrian shopping mall.
At this Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) event, the personal achievements of children and young people with intellectual handicaps will be acknowledged. These include passing their Year Six exams, holding down a job, doing the laundry, or serving drinks.
Disabled residents like the blind and those in wheelchairs in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, are in for a treat on Saturday.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will be paying them a special visit. “Going down to where the PwDs are is a much better way to touch base and find out what their problems are,” said Shahrizat.
However, there is more that the Government and local bodies – including the public – can do to raise the quality of life of Malaysians with disabilities.
The most important is to discard all preconceived notions about PwDs.
I am surprised that some people still have outdated views of the handicapped.
PwDs are labelled as “sick” and are expected to be seen only in hospitals and clinics rather than in cinemas or pubs.
I was recently in a hotel in Petaling Jaya with a group of physically disabled patrons. One of them who was using crutches needed a wheelchair.
We were shocked when the hotel staff turned down his request for a wheelchair. The excuse given was that their wheelchair was reserved for “accident cases” only.
When a dozen of us in wheelchairs demanded to see the top brass of the hotel, a wheelchair finally arrived.
Local councils in every state need to set up a special technical committee on disability as soon as possible. It should meet at least once a month like what happens now in MBPJ.
It is also vital to include persons with disabilities on the committee. Medical experts should also be invited to sit on the committee where possible.
Together as a team, town and city planners and engineers will be better equipped to address fundamental issues such as accessibility of pavements, and public and government buildings.
Facilities in homes and centres for the elderly and disabled should also be looked into to ensure that residents are receiving the best possible care.
Friday, December 04, 2009
MBPJ Champ of the Disabled, says YB Rodziah – The Star
Friday December 4, 2009
More jobs for the disabled in Selangor
By YIP YOKE TENG
THE Selangor state government will set aside at least one percent of the posts available in its administration for disabled people. The quota applies not only to all local councils but also contractors taking up government projects.
State executive councillor Rodziah Ismail, who is in charge of the Welfare, Women’s Affairs, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee, said the move would begin in January.
“The state wants to ensure that disabled people are given due opportunities in job placement,” she said after launching the International Day for Disabled Person celebration organised by the Petaling Jaya City Council yesterday at E@Curve, Mutiara Damansara.
Also present at the celebration were mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman as well as councillor Anthony Thanasayan and Chan Chee Kong.
At the function, prizes were presented to special children with good academic results while members from the Dyslexia Association Malaysia presented an interesting opening act. Others took part in a treasure hunt while children were taught handicraft.
“At least one per cent of government projects will also be offered to disabled people to ensure that they get a fair chance in business, too,” she added.
She said the idea had long been mooted and even practised internally but the announcement was not made yet to officially invite application from disabled people.
“Currently, disabled people take up only 0.3% of the posts in our administration throughout the state so we are at the same time offering education and skills training to prepare them for the posts,” she said.
Also, factories in the state have 18,000 jobs to be filled and the government had arranged for the disabled to sit for the interviews because they are skilled.
The state’s next step in improving the welfare for the disabled groups is to have a sign language interpreter at the front desk of government organisations.
“We also want the entire state to be barrier-free as we are having an increasing population of disabled people. So far, Selangor has 20,000 disabled people but many still have not registered with us.
“I would say MBPJ is the champion in making its city accessible to the disabled and it is indeed an excellent example for all other local councils to emulate,” she added.
She said the state would also form a committee made up of disabled people next year. The committee is expected to give its input in all planning discussions and the recommendations will be followed through by the local councils and relevant parties.
Roslan said the council set aside RM3.9mil to make Petaling Jaya a barrier-free city.
“However, the fact is that disabled people face not only physical barrier but also attitude barrier. The disabled have a right to basic accessibility and the public must not abuse these facilities provided for them,” he said