Thursday, May 22, 2008

Serving with hearts of gold

About a week ago, I received an e-mail from an officer from KPWKM (Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga & Masyarakat) extending an invitation to participate in a 2-day workshop on National Child Protection Policy organised by the Ministry.

Naturally, being part of the team initiating and promoting Nurin Alert, I accepted the invitation believing that I could utilise that platform to continue pushing for the incorporation of Nurin Alert into the National Child Protection Policy. But I forgot to asked on what capacity was I invited. Was it as Nurin's uncle or as representative of the Citizens for Nurin Alert Society (C4NA).

So a couple of days later, I called and asked, and in response, the officer told me that I would be there as a close relative to Nurin, the hideous crime victim that no Malaysians can ever forget.

Though I would not be there as a team member of C4NA (as I would like to), I had nevertheless contacted my fellow Committee Members for any input that could be forwarded in the workshop that I would be attending.

So come yesterday (21st May), taking a two days annual leave just to attend this event, I was at the Flamingo Hotel registering myself for the workshop.

To my surprise and beyond my expectation, the workshop was not an ordinary workshop that I am used to. The workshop was a grand "workshop" with 70 over participants with the Minister officiating its commencement! It was like full scale Conference!

I was tempted to dress casually but luckily I put on my office attire. Just to be on a safer side I brought my neck-tie along, just in case. And what were the other male participants wearing? They were wearing suits! Oh my my! So I quickly put on the neck-tie and hence avoided myself from having this inferiority complex amongst the Datuks, Professors and experts in the field of child protection, all of whom are the big names in the country.

At the registration counter, the reception lady asked for my name and from which organisation I was from. So I told her my name and told her that I'm not representing any particular body but on my personal capacity.

So the lady went on searching for my name from the very long list and alas, we found my name. Guess what was stated in the attendance list? It's Encik Jasni Abdul Jalil (Penulis Blog Nurin)! And the "Penulis Blog Nurin" was in bold!

Wow, this is a surprise, an extraordinary surprise. I have never thought that a "Penulis Blog" could be invited to an event alongside the 70 over experts representing a fairly comprehensive cross section of the stakeholders in the area of child protection. What a recognition!

Frankly, before I accidently became a "Penulis Blog", I had never participated in any big event that had nothing to do either with my work, my involvement in community affairs or my studies. Child protection issues was never my cup of tea until I got stumbled into our frantic search for the then missing Nurin.

When Nurin was discovered, dead, battered and abused, supported by a group of concern citizens, we started initiating Nurin Alert, a mechanism modelled after the much successful USA's Amber Alert, with the hope that no one else would face the bitter experience endured by us in searching and rescuing Nurin.

It was due to this affiliation with Citizens for Nurin Alert that made me started to read more about child protection, started to meet influential personalities in pushing for Nurin Alert, started to give talks on Nurin Alert and of course started to write on the subject matter, though mostly are reproductions of reports and articles written by someone else but having relevence to the Nurin Alert initiative or anything on Nurin's tragedy.

Before Nurin, I was just anyone else, fully oblivious on matters that we thought was not really affecting us. We like to leave these daunting tasks to someone else, anyone except us.

And by attending the 2-day workshop, I had for the first time witnessed a group of people, people with hearts of gold, pouring energies and total passion in the cause of ensuring a better life of others.

They spoke with genuine passion, they act on their sincere believe and they divulge their time and energy for a cause that does not not bring in monetary gains but loads of other people's problems that they have adopted as theirs.

Hearing their pleas and their narration of incidences moved my emotion. On several occasions, I was teary eyed at the edge of crying listening to the sad stories they relayed.

I am now convinced that this land is indeed blessed with this group of people, a group of people working tirelessly for the good of others.

I am now also convinced that the nation is indeed heading towards achieving an environment of safe haven for children judging from the multiple strategies and action plans of the proposed National Child Protection Policy.

Whether Nurin Alert will ever materialise as Nurin Alert is not that very important, the important thing is that the nation will be prepared to react appropriately, swiftly and effectively so that there will never be another Nurin, another Sharlinie, another Asmawi.

The mechanism applied for Sharlinie and Asmawi was good, the mechanism was indeed ala-Nurin Alert. What is required now is the formulation of the mechanism so that the response to a missing child incidences would not vary depending on the personalities handling the matter or whose child went missing.

One of the strategy identified in the workshop is the establishment of an early warning system to protect children in need of protection. And towards this aim Standard Operating Procedures for each and every scenarios would be developed.

Though my involvement in the workshop was rather minimal, but seeing that efforts are being taken to address all issues affecting children, including those missing, was really reassuring.

I am glad I attended the workshop. I hope to get more invitations to attend such events, not only to learn more but to progressively learning how to be a better person in helping others other thinking about yourself and your family all the time.

Kudos to the participants and the organiser of the workshop. You are truly the gems of the nation, the saviour of the children of the nation. You also have my utmost admiration.

Jasni AJ

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah & Syed Hamid Albar Transformers

Who would have guessed or thought that these cute faces (excluding "Malcolm in the Middle") would in 27 years transformed themselves into someone else. Someone who are public figures and famous.
But they just so did. So great the transformation, the public today could not be faulted if they thought that they saw (Dato')Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah meeting (Dato') Syed Hamid Albar at a Kopitiam joint at Semua House today. It's either they would think that Dr. Fadzilah is Syed Hamid's crony or due to the complete transparency, they could have thought that Syed Hamid might just want to get a tip or two on how to get more motivated in dealing with the perceived public rejection of Umno politics (that is if the last election results have any bearings on such perception). And they might have also thought that top politicians including ministers have now thrown away the feudalistic protocols and now find it okay to be "lepaking" around at places were the public goes to nowadays, perhaps after taking a cue from Penang's new Chief Minister's much publicised Economy Class flights instead of the more exclusive Business Class flights.

So there these two chaps were, chatting away, covering various topics from health, career, family, friends etc etc etc. Emmm, something is amiss here. They talked like they are best friends who had not been seeing each other for quite a while, if not for quite a long time! Are they really Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah and Syed Hamid Albar?

And the answer is a definite "No". They were just two ordinary people who happened to be resembling Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah and Syed Hamid Albar, in other words they were doubles. Doubles that normally switch places with the main actors for "dangerous" scenes. And these doubles were actually Haron and Jasni!
Have a look at these pictures of the original persons. All Haron needs to do is to dye his excessive gray hair to black, while I have to dye my almost all black moustache to gray. And yes, both of us would have to wear the spectacles.

For those who doesn't know who Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah and Syed Hamid Albar are, please click here to get to know Dr. Fazilah Kamsah and here for Syed Hamid Albar.

Jasni AJ

Monday, May 12, 2008

He's now a Datuk?

As I mentioned in my last posting yesterday, I thought of calling my Sarawakian friends, Haron and Radzali today just to say "hi" and keep myself updated with their latest stories.

Well, I managed to get hold of Haron and apparently he is now in KL, just arrived from Kuching for an interview, i.e. an interview for a promotion.

Right after the interview tomorrow, he would be flying back to Kuching right away.

I wanted to see him tonight but we settled for a short meet-up after his interview tomorrow instead to catch up with old times.

We chatted and in our short conversation, I came to learn of an unexpected breaking news! It seems that another one of my Sarawakian friend, Othman, is now a Datuk! Not "Datuk" the grandfather, but the honorary Datukship title bestowed by the Sarawak State Government.

Datuk Othman & Me, 27 years ago
Wow, Datuk Othman. That's great news. He must be doing exceptionally well to deserve it. Though, I still can't really verify the news but if it's true it is truly an honour to have known a Datuk, 27 years before!

And if indeed Othman is now a Datuk, then he would be the second Datuk from among our peers to get such title after Azalina.

Datuk Azalina, 24 years ago
You may wonder which Azalina I'm referring to, well, it's Datuk Azalina Othman Said, our new Tourism Minister. When in college, we all know her as the Tae Kwon-do Black Belt Master, the iron lady who was both "physically" and "oratory" strong. I guess, the Ministership she's now holding is by no accident but rather reserved for her.

Perhaps I could now start a series on my old buddies tracking them up on where they are now. So stay tune to read more of all the people whom I once knew.

By the way, Haron is indeed a "Datuk" too as I have guessed earlier. He's now a proud grandfather of one. I think No. 2 is now fast approaching.

Jasni AJ

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sentimental Kuching

Perhaps, besides Penang being our "hometown" where we head for Raya every year without fail; Jalan Jarret, Kuala Lumpur being the place I was brought up from year 1970 to 1978, Taman Bunga Raya, Setapak being our home and my parents place from year 1978 till it was sold a couple of years ago; UiTM Shah Alam campus being the place I studied from year 1981 till 1984 and later in year 1997 till year 2000; Taman Melati, Setapak being our first home as a family from year 1994 till year 2000; Kuching could be categorised as the most sentimental place that I (and we) had visited with fond memories covering three time frames, as a bachelor, as newly weds husband & wife and as a family.

I first set foot on Kuching soil in November 1983 en route to Miri for my "vocation" training with Sarawak Shell Berhad. How I got to be there was simply of pure luck, resulting from my insistence of having my practical training in Sarawak.

During my college days, we were asked to identify several organisations where we would like to have our practical training of about 1 1/2 month. Unlike others who chose to have their practical trainings at places nearby their hometown, I chose Kuching, of all places.

I actually asked to have my practical training at Kuching Municipal Council (KMC) and in order to get there I was prepared to go there on my own expenses (own here means "parents"). But luck was on my side when at the very last minute Sarawak Shell Berhad offered 2 places for the students. As I was one of those who asked to be placed at Sarawak, I was eventually given the place.

Having a vocation training at SSB was special, special because they sponsored everything, from airfare to accommodation to daily allowances. And if I remembered correctly, we were given RM1200 on the first day we reported for the training.

After one and a half month at Miri, I made a stopover of a number of days at Kuching, staying at my buddy's home at Tabuan Jaya. In fact, the reason why I wanted to go to Sarawak in the first place was simply that my buddies at college were mainly those from Sarawak. Hearing so much about Sarawak made me so eager to see, hear and feel Sarawak first hand. So that was my first experience being there at Kuching, way back in 1983/84.
I made a return visit in 1994, exactly 10 years later. This time around, I was with Mrs. J, on our first ever vacation together.
So fond of Kuching, we decided to make another return trip to Kuching a couple of years ago, and this time with 3 additional members (and the maid)to revisit all the places we have been to (besides the new attractions like the Cat Museum etc.) And Kuching remained to be as exciting as ever, a place that we as a family had really enjoyed ourselves.

More importantly,I managed to visit at least two old friends, Haron and Radzali. Haron, I would think by now is a grandfather while Radzali must be fighting very hard against a serious medical condition he had when I last saw him. Come to think of it, I have not been checking on both of them for quite a while now. Perhaps I should call them tomorrow and ask how they are doing.

Jasni AJ

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Enticing Fools with Readily "Free" Complimentary Gifts

I got a call yesterday from a caller who didn't even know who she was calling. It went like this :-
Caller : "Hello, 013-2040XXX".
Me : "Yes, this is 013-2040XXX"
Caller : "Oh Cik, maaflah mengganggu, saya Dayang dari XYZ Marketing, boleh saya tahu dengan siapa saya bercakap?" (Oh Sir, sorry for disturbing you, I'm Dayang from XYZ Marketing, may I know with whom am I speaking with?)
Me : "Aip, macam mana you call tapi tak tahu siapa you panggil?" (Funny, how is that you're calling someone you don't even know whom?)
Caller : "Oh, your number is in our database and we just make calls randomly."
Me : "Oh I see. I'm Jasni. So how can I help you?"
Caller : "Begini Cik, kami ini adalah sebuah syarikat pemasaran yang baru memperkenalkan beberapa produk baru dalam pasaran. Kami inginlah menjemput Cik ke pejabat kami untuk satu sesi pengenalan untuk selama 45 minit sahaja. Cik tak perlu risau, Cik cuma datang, dengar presentation kami, kalau Cik berminat untuk melibatkan diri dalam memasarkan produk kami itu, Cik boleh sertai, kalau tak, Cik boleh sahaja berikan maklumbalas terhadap produk kami itu. Untuk masa Encik, kami akan memberikan tiket penerbangan dalam negeri untuk dua orang." (It's like this Sir, we are a marketing company who had just introduced a number of new products into the market. We would like to invite you over to our office for an introductory session for just 45 minutes. You don't have to worry, you just come, listen to our presentation, and if you're interested to participate in the marketing of our products, you can join us, if not, you can always give us your feedbacks on our products. And for your time, we will give you domestic flight tickets for two.)
Me : "Malaslah nak dengar presentation-presentation ni,last-last kena beli tu beli ni." (Aaah, I really don't fancy attending all these presentation sessions, we would end up being forced to buy this, to buy that.)
Caller : "Tak Cik, kami tak paksa orang. Percayalah. Paling tidakpun Cik dapat flight tickets percuma. Cik tak rugi apa-apa." (No Sir, we don't force anyone. Trust me. At least you'll get free filght tickets. You have nothing to lose.)
Me : "Emmm, betul tak paksa-paksa orang. Duduk dengar 45 minit I dapat 2 tiket free?" (Emmm, are you really sure that you won't pester me to do anything. All I need to do is listen to your presentation for 45 minutes and I'll get 2 free tickets?)
Caller : "Ya betul. Tak tipu punya. Cik datang ajelah. Cik boleh datang esok?" (No, this is not a trick. Just come over. Can you come tomorrow?)
Me : "Mmmm, pukul berapa you nak I datang?" (Mmmm, at what time you want me to be there?)
Caller : "Cik habis kerja pukul berapa?" (At what time do you finish work?)
Me : "5 suku" (Quarter after 5)
Caller : "Pukul 6 boleh sampai sini?" (Can you be here at around 6?)
Me : "Where exactly is your office?"
Caller : "Kami kat Wisma Central, sebelah KLCC" (We're at Wisma Central, besides KLCC)
Me : "Mmmm, dekat aje tu, make it 5.30 ajelah. 45 minutes aje kan?" (Mmmm, it's quite near, make it at 5.30 then. It's only for 45 minutes right?)
Caller : "Ya, 45 minit. Confirm ye Cik" (Yes, it's only for 45 minutes. You're confirming right.)
Me : "Ye lah, see you tomorrow" (Okay, I'll see you tomorrow)
Caller : "Okay, esok saya call lagi remind Cik ye" (Okay, I'll call you tomorrow to remind.)
Me : "Okay."
Caller : "Bye"
Me : "Bye"

So there goes the dialogue, no element of any obligations, purely on free will, but on top of all, there's a reward for just sparing 45 minutes of our time with them. Juat as what said by the caller, "what's there to lose?". Nothing at all.

So today, as she had said yesterday, she called me again to remind of our appointment this evening. In fact, she called twice. Once in the morning and second, just before 5. When she called at 5, it was raining outside so I told her that I might not be able to make it. But she said, "Datanglah Cik. Office kami depan stesyen LRT aje, keluar stesyen, lintas jalan, sampai. Datang tau. Lambat sikit pun tak apa. Pukul 6 boleh sampai? (Please come Sir. Our office is just in front of the LRT station, when you get out of the station, just cross the road, and you'll be here. You have to be here, okay. Never mind if you're bit late. Can you be here at 6?) "Okay, okaylah, I'll be there", me giving in.

So right after office, while it was still raining, (luckily not that heavy), I dashed out the ofice, crossed the street, got into the LRT, reached the KLCC station, dashed out to the street, crossed it and there I was at the office at 5.45.

Introduced myself at the counter. The receptionist gave me a form to fill and after a few minutes my host came over and took me upstairs for he presentation session.

She asked why I was there, was it simply for the free tickets or do I want to know more of their marketing plan. Well, I guess by now you must already know why I was there right, it's for the free tickets! But of course, I can't be telling her that. So I said, "Well, I'm here to listen to your presentation for 45 minutes and by the end of the presentation, I'm collecting my free flight tickets."

"Oh, yes, you'll get your free tickets but are you opened for ideas that could top up your income. Additional income that you can use for holidays etc etc. When was the last time you had your holiday?", she asked.

"Well, we just came back from Bangkok last month. And we have vacations at least once every year.", I responded.

"Where else have you been?", asked her more. "Mmmm, well, we've been places, Jakarta, KK, Kuching to name a few.", I said.

"You must have spent quite a sum for your holidays in Bangkok. How much did you spend?" she asked protrudedly. "Well, we did spend, but it was not that much actually. Why, you want to go there?" I asked.

"No, just asking. I don't think I can afford to get there. It must be expensive there right?" she asked again.

"Well, not really. Don't go to luxury hotels, pick the medium ones, after all we're there to see places, not staying just at the hotel. At most we would only be spending the nights in the hotel, during day time we'll be out hopping from one place to the other.

The conversation continues on a casual basis for perhaps the first 15 minutes. After that we started talking about the various marketing models available in town. She asked whether I know anything about direct selling stuff. Of course I know, I told her. I have joined Cosway and recently Uptrend. Well, joining these schemes not for the money really but just to satisfy my own curiosity on the workability of both schemes.

"Have you been making lots of money from the schemes?", she asked. "He, he, not a single sen!", I said sheepishly. "Nothing wrong with the schemes, but I just did not do my part of the bargain. I did not look for downlines. I simply joined and left it there, just like that." I said in trying to explain why I "failed" in the schemes.

"What is your problem? Is it dfficult to find downlines?" she asked further. "Well, I think this kind of business doesn't fit everyone. I for one is really not suited for this. To invite someone over for some "business" is simply the most difficult thing for me to do.", I said.

"There you are, this type of business structure is doomed to fail because looking for downlines is really a pain in the arse! And that's why our marketing plan fits you perfectly. With us, you just make a certain initial "investment", from time to time buy the products for your own consumption but leave everything else to us. We will look for your downline. All you do is collect your cheque every month, amount depending on how much your "investment" is." she said convincingly.

She proceeded with the explanation on the structure of the marketing plan, really attractive I would say but then she's talking about big money! Minimum "investment" is some RM 25,000 with a guaranteed income of about RM 5,000 a month. Meaning the pay back period is just about 5 months. After 5 months, it's pure income all the way till eternity.

Wow, what a splendid marketing plan. But where am I going fork out RM 25,000. Looking at me I guess she might have known that I might not be able to participate in such a "big" way. "But don't worry, let me call up my Manager and perhaps he can work out something for you.", said the host.

Wah, a second chance. I thought there might be some sort of an easy payment scheme. How else could have they been successfull in getting ordinary folks like taxi drivers and school teachers participating in this scheme. Are everyone else have tons of money except me?

Then came the Manager. He explained about the various schemes available and after several times of reducing the "investment" price, came up with the last & best offer of the day, RM7,500 for three "lots".

A cooling 10 day period is given but in order to lock the deal, a deposit is to be given, amount subject to each discretion. RM1,000 was mentioned, much to my surprise. If I failed to pay up the balance within the 10 days period, the deposit will be forfeited.

I offered a deposit of RM100 to give me time to really think hard about this new business opportunity. They accepted and started to prepare the receipt.

While preparing the receipt, the Manager proudly gave me the "flight tickets" as promised earlier. It was not really flight tickets but merely a "voucher" stating our entitlement for a ONE WAY domestic flight ticket for two. Reading the terms and conditions, the voucher stated that booking for the flight must be made three months in advance and the voucher excludes airport taxes and other related charges. I asked what are these "other related charges". "Are these in reference to fuel surcharges and admin fee normally charged by Air Asia?", I asked. The Manager said, "Yes".

To my horror and shock, I suddenly felt being fooled at the very first instance. "What! You're giving me free tickets that I can get them for free as well from Air Asia! Just what are you giving me? You're giving me nothing! This voucher is absolutely nothing!", I retorted.

All sorts of things came to mind at that very instance. They wanted me to part with RM7,500 and tricking me into believing that I'm getting some special incentive just for being there but it is all nothing but just a trick, a trick, a trick, a trick.

I snatched back my RM 100, and said "Sorry, I'm not going to be part of this nonsense. Good Night."

So that was how I spent my precious two hours today, RM100 almost gone, RM7,400 to go within the next 10 days and given a worthless paper disguised as a special gift (of which was thrown back to them!).

The host and the manager just kept quiet and let me go unhindered. I guess they do not want to create a scene as there were other potential "fools" to be tricked as well in the hall at that time.

I might be the "fool" here for destroying my chance of making continuos money from such a "small" investment but how can I trust them if from the very beginning they are playing tricks on me.

I have been getting free seats from Air Asia several times. All I need to do is to book online and pay the relevant fees, without the need to be "intimidated" though done rather graciously and professionally. (Why I said "intimidated", well they said that even taxi drivers can join, what more you. We're talking about pride here, you know (if there is any, that is))

Well guys, there are sharks out there. Just be careful. Don't be so gullible to decide on an investment of a lifetime all within 45 minutes (or dragged 2 hours). If the scheme is really good enough, we should have been given the opportunity to ponder, calculate, assess and then decide.

One thing for sure, never fall trap to this free air tickets any more. It's all pure trick - a trick and nothing more than a trick.

"Hidup RPK"

Jasni AJ

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Third Class Workers

Still on the issue on foreign labour, I would like to relay what I witnessed at a Maid Agency I visited a week ago.

I was there to arrange for a replacement for my maid of more than 5 years who will be returning to Indonesia for good.

Though I wished she could stay on further but to certain circumstances, this wish is not possible.

More on her later but let us go back to the scene at the Maid Agency.

While I was busily perusing the biodatas of the available maids (not many though as there were only TWO left), came in two ladies, one the employer and the other the maid.

The employer lady asked the Maid Agency personnel to advise her maid (I presumed to be newly employed) against the maid's wish to buy a handphone for herself.

The Maid Agency, upon her request, and without asking the maid much, straight away pull the maid aside and started to lecture her on why she should not have a handphone.

According to her, her purpose in life (that's while in Malaysia) is to serve her employer as a maid, and that's it! "You are not here on a social visit", she said. "You are here to work. And your work does not require you to have a handphone!", she added.

"Doesn't your employer treated you fairly all these while, she gave you food, shelter and rest hours, what more do you need? Surely not a handphoe, but some sense of gratitude as you now have a job that earns money. Save as much money as you can and when you have completed your contract, you can then return to Indonesia and buy as many handphones as you wish!", she "advised".

The maid then told her that ever since she started working, not once had she had the chance of calling back home to see how her family members were doing without her around. She said that she have kids and a husband. That's why she needed a handphone so that she can be rest assured that everything are under control and that she won't be duly worried over them. "I don't want to sneak using the house phone as clearly the "boss" doesn't like the idea of her using the phouse phone to call home", she then said.

"No, no, maids are not entitled to make phone calls, especially long distance calls. Leave it to you husband who had sent you here to make money for the family. For all you know, he might have a new "wife" now, so why bother calling him up!", said the Maid agensy personnel.

I was aghast upon hearing all these nonsense. How can they cut family ties just because she's here as a maid. It's just like modern slavery, work, work and work with no human emotions. The only difference is that they gets paid while slaves don't. I pity the maid as she had subsequently and eventually agreed not to ask for a handphone anymore, a handphone that she had earlier wanted (on her expenses).

She then left with the employer, sad and dejected.

Though it is premature for me to assess whether her employer is a good employer or otherwise based on the conversations I heard but personally speaking, I think the employer and the Maid Agency personnel are being simply cruel. What harm can it do if she's allowed to call back home once in a while to have a chat with her love ones. Why must you make one feel that she has no one now except her employer and the family of the employer.

If I were her, I would surely be in an emotional crisis, what more to be able to perform (as a Maid) effectively and productively.

Getting back to my own maid, I am proud to tell the world that we (the family) have always treated the maid with upmost respect that she deserves. She have a handphone (bought with her own money) but before getting one, she has been allowed to call back home from time to time. Each time she calls back, we can see the glow on her face, happy and therefore highly sprited.

Every weekend, when we "jalan-jalan", she is together with us enjoying the weekend.

She is also part of the entourage in every family vacations. Be it near or far. We have brought her to Sabah and Sarawak on our expense, something like our own employer would treat us occasionally if not annually.

She has been to almost all the 3,4,5 star hotels, though not a room to herself but sharing with my two other kids. And since her marriage to a fellow countryman last December, she has been given leave on every weekend to be with her husband.

And on top of that, she gets to get back to Indonesia every year for her own vacation at our expense. After all, with the cheap fare available from Air Asia, trips to Indonesia have been cheap anyway.

That's how we treated her, no less than any other member of the house. And all these "priviledges" (if you can call it as priviledges) does not affect her work. In fact she became more responsible in dishing out her responsibilities, responsibly and effectively.

I surely hope that my fellow "maid employers" would put themselves in the maid's shoes once in a while and try to appreciate that all of us are human beings after all. All of us need relationships, access to a telephone is one of the means to that.

Happy Labour Day

Jasni AJ

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Malaysia's Multi National Labours

So we had just celebrated Labour Day a couple of days ago.

I'm pretty sure those active in trade unionism would had participated in some sort of workers' rally(ies) to mark Labour Day listening to fiery speeches by the Union leaders.

I for one have never attended to any of these workers' rallies throughout my working life eventhough I have been in the labour force for some 24 years now. For some reason, I have always been out of the loop where celebration of Labour Day is concerned.

That being so, Labour Day has always been just another public holiday, nothing significant, nothing special.

This year, though it has nothing to do with Labour day, but simply to take advantage of the mid-week public holiday, my neighbourhood's friends organised a "Dialogue with the YBs" event and I have got roped in to help out organising it. Tasked with the assignment to write a report on the event, I have done that as posted in my earlier posting.

One of the issue brought up by a fellow neighbour at the dialogue with the YBs was on the flooding of foreign immigrants (read as foreign labours).

The notion given was that the public is alarmed with the large number of foreign immigrants in the country, a situation very much unprecedented say about 30 years ago.

His concern is very much true as the immigrants have bit by bit make their presence felt as they are now everywhere, no matter where you are or wherever you look at.

At your home,they serve you as your maid; at the petrol station, they help filling up the fuel tank; at public amenities places, they maintain the cleanliness; at illegal hawking areas (like at the Masjid Jamek LRT Station), they hawks; in the LRT coaches, they commutes together; along the pavement at the shops, they operate cobbling services and at the the food stalls, the Myamnar children begs. In reality, they are everywhere and at some areas around Kuala Lumpur, certain strechs of roads are now practically their (i.e. foreigners') quarters. Areas like Medan Pasar, where there is even a "Bank" exclusively serving those from the Indian sub-continent as well as Jalan Silang where rows of shops are practically in existence because of them. Signages in Bengalise and Nepalise are standard features at these areas.

In short Malaysia has really become truly Asia, not solely because of the multi ethnics locals but the large community of foreign labours from Indonesia, Vietnam, China, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar (where the children seems to be more visible than the adults) and to a certain extend from the African countries and the Philippines.

While other countries in the world seem to be in control of the foreign labours brought into their respective countries systematically, not many of us believe that the Malaysian government is doing a good enough job managing the influx of the foreign labours here. In fact, many of us tend to believe that all these influx are simply due to "close an eye" syndrome of the authorities (if not due to blatant corrupt practices).

As pointed out by my fellow neighbour at the dialogue session, Malaysia is the only place on earth that allows foreigners to enter the contry with a "0" visa and this by itself provides opportunities for the foreigners to stay after finding some "suitable" jobs here after landing on our shores.

I don't really know how true the claim of this "0" visa thing but seeing them around in big numbers really makes me worry of the nation's future.

Jasni AJ

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bersama YB Baru

Among the new effects of post-elections was the setting up of new institutions to act as bridge between the people and the new administration. At the grassroot level, a Jawatankuasa Daerah Mengundi (JDM) was formed and for the neighbourhood I am staying, such committee was established some three weeks ago.

Headed by my good friend Fauzi, I was also invited to sit in as a Committee Member and my first assignment was to "cover" and prepare a report to be posted in the Committee's newly established blogsite on the Committee's maiden community project, Dialog Bersama YB.

So, wearing the cap of a reporter, I was on field to carry out the task and this was what reported :-

Setelah bahang pilihanraya sudahpun reda, maka kini tibalah masanya bagi wakil-wakil rakyat yang menang menunaikan segala janji yang ditaburkan tempohari atau setidak-tidaknya pun memulakan usaha untuk mengotakan janji-janji itu.

Sesuai dengan motto pasukan Pakatan Rakyat yang ingin memerintah mengikut kehendak rakyat atau setidak-tidaknya menjaga kepentingan rakyat umum, satu inisiatif untuk mempertemukan semula wakil-wakil rakyat yang menang dalam pilihanraya umum yang baru lalu dengan para pengundi yang telah memertabadkan wakil-wakil rakyat ini sebagai YB baru mereka telah dibuat oleh Jawatankuasa Daerah Mengundi (JDM) Bukit Rimau, sebuah jawatankuasa yang baru sahaja diujudkan baru-baru ini.

Jawatankuasa Daerah Mengundi (JDM) Bukit Rimau ini dianggotai oleh wakil-wakil masyarakat sekitar Daerah Mengundi Bukit Rimau yang merangkumi sebahagian seksyen 32 Shah Alam yaitu Kemuning Greenville, Kemuning Greenhills, Berjaya Park, Rimau Indah, Rimau Perdana serta Bukit Rimau sendiri.

Diketuai oleh Sdr. Fauzi, jawatankuasa ini walaupun bertunjangkan platform politik Pakatan Rakyat, namun anggota-anggotanya tidaklah khusus kepada ahli-ahli parti-parti dalam Pakatan Rakyat.

Falsafah "Politik bukanlah segalanya" tapi keadilan dan kesejahteraan rakyat lebih utama, nyata penekatan pentadbiran baru negeri-negeri yang ditadbir oleh Pakatan Rakyat amat disenangi rakyat. Buktinya hampir 300 orang penduduk Bukit Rimau sudi melapangkan masa riadah mereka di hari cuti umum untuk menghadiri satu Majlis Dialog Bersama YB yang dianjurkan oleh JDM ini.

Kehadiran ramai penduduk di satu majlis yang biasanya sukar dapat dipenuhi memberi semangat baru kepada JDM untuk terus merancang beberapa lagi program sosial yang bakal melibatkan semua penduduk berbagai kaum dan kejiranan untuk masa kehadapan.

Sdr. Fauzi dalam ucapan alu-aluannya memperkenalkan institusi JDM yang antara lain akan berfungsi selaku jambatan komunikasi penduduk dengan wakil-wakil rakyat baru ini serta mengusahakan segala permasalahan penduduk dengan pihak-pihak berkuasa yang lain melalui wakil-wakil rakyat baru ini.

Menurut Sdr. Fauzi, beliau amat mengharapkan agar penduduk menggunakan majlis yang dianjurkan itu untuk memberikan input yang bernas kepada wakail-wakil rakyat baru untuk mereka memahami permasalahan akar umbi rakyat dan serentak dengan itu dapat melakukan sesuatu untuk menyelesaikannya dengan berkesan.

Dengan jemputan utama terdiri dari YB Dr. Mariah Mahmud (Ahli Parlimen Kota Raja) serta YB Shuhaimi Hj Shafie (Ahli DUN Sri Muda), majlis diperlengkapkan juga dengan kehadiran Datuk Bandar Shah Alam, Tuan Mazalan Md. Noor serta Ketua Polis Balai Seksyen 15 Shah Alam, Cif Inspektor Khairoul Najmi Jaafar.

Setelah setiap seorang tetamu utama menyampaikan ucapan pendahuluan masing-masing, dialog dimulakan dengan Sdr. Fauzi selaku pemudahcaranya.

Berbagai isu diketengahkan dan diantaranya menyentuh soal keselamatan serta mutu syarikat-syarikat keselamatan yang mengawal kawasan-kawasan kediaman sekitar, kesibukan lalulintas di Persiaran Sungai Selangor, masalah banjir di Bulatan Bukit Rimau, kes-kes denggi serta puncanya, keujudan premis tadika tanpa berlesen, keujudan Akta-akta serta Undang-undang Kecil yang tidak memihak kepada rakyat atau yang memberi ruang kepada unsur-unsur yang tidak sihat seperti salahguna kuasa dan rasuah,ketiadaan Dewan Orang ramai di Bukit Rimau, kebanjiran pendatang asing ke dalam negara, masalah pembekalan air di kawasan Apartmen, gejala ponteng, lepak dan samseng pelajar sekolah, masalah jerubu, penyelenggaraan taman-taman permainan, status tanah perkuburan Islam Kota Kemuning dan tidak ketinggalan soal pembiayaan sekolah-sekolah aliran Cina dan Tamil.

Respons yang diberikan terhadap permasalahan-permasalahan tersebut adalah seperti berikut :-

Soal Keselamatan serta Mutu Syarikat-syarikat Keselamatan
Menurut Cif Inspektor Khairoul, semua syarikat-syarikat keselamatan yang menawarkan kidmat di kawasan-kawasan perumahan adalah tertakluk kepada peraturan-peraturan Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN). Walaupun mungkin terdapat beberapa syarikat-syarikat ini yang melanggar peraturan KDN seperti menggaji pengawal warganegara asing selain dari negara-negara yang dibenarkan, pihak polis selama ini mengambil sikap berlembut terhadap syarikat-suarikat ini dengan tidak mengganggu operasi mereka bagi mengormati kehendak penduduk yang inginkan kawasan-kawasan perumahan mereka dikawal oelh syarikat-syarikat keselamatan ini.

Namun demikian, pihak polis akan mengambil tindakan tegas sekiranya menerima apa-apa aduan berkaitan syarikat-syarikat keselamatan ini dari penduduk.

Beliau juga menambah yang tahap keselamatan di Bukit Rimau dan sekitarnya buat masa ini adalah baik dan terkawal. Atas pertanyaan salah seorang penduduk, beliau juga akan menghantar pegawainya untuk menyiasat kawasan tapak Balai Polis Bukit Rimau yang selama ini terbiar. Sekiranya perlu, langkah-langkah pembersihan akan dilakukan.

Dimaklumkan bahawa nombor-nombor telefon pondok-pondok polis di Berjaya Park dan Kota Kemuning tidak tersenarai dalam Direktori 103, beliau menyatakan yang ianya akan disemak dengan Telekom Malaysia dan usaha akan dibuat bagi menyenaraikannya dalam Direktori tersebut.

Datuk Bandar Mazalan turut menjelaskan bahawa terdapat peraturan yang berbeza bagi kawasan perumahan berhak milik strata dengan hak milik individu. Kawasan Perumahan berhak milik strata dibolehkan memagarkan kawasan perumahan mereka sebagai kawasan persendirian tetapi tidak kepada kawasan perumahan berhak milik individu. Kawasan perumahan berhak milk individu adalah kawasan awam dan dengan itu tidak boleh dipagar seolah-olah ianya satu kawasan persendirian.

Pihak Majlis Bandaraya walaubagaimanapun tidak menghalang pendirian pondok-pondok keselamatan tanpa palang penghalang bagi mempertingkatkan tahap keselamatan setempat.

Kesibukan lalulintas Persiaran Sungai Selangor
Menjawab cadangan salah seorang penduduk supaya trafik di Persiaran Sungai Selangor dilarang digunakan oleh lori-lori tangki, Datuk Bandar Mazalan menjelaskan yang ianya sukar dibuat memandangkan jalan tersebut adalah jalan awam.

Banjir di Bulatan Bukit Rimau
Dalam pada masa pihak MBSA mengambil maklum tentang masalah ini, penduduk diberitahu oleh YB Shuhami bahawa beberapa perbincangan dengan pihak JPS telahpun dibuat bagi mencari jalan penyelesaian kepada lokasi-lokasi banjir yang telah dikenalpasti. Beliau yakin dengan beberapa lagi tindakan susulan, masalah ini akan dapat diatasi.

Kes-kes Denggi serta puncanya
MBSA mengambil maklum satu aduan yang dikemukakan penduduk berkaitan penutup "Inspection Chamber" milik Telekom Malaysia yang dibiarkan terbuka dan mungkin membiakkan jentik-jentik. Lawatan akan dibuat ke tapak yang berkenaan dan tindakan susulan dijanjikan.

Sementara itu Datuk Bandar Mazalan memohon kerjasama penduduk memastikan tiada tempat takungan air di premis serta persekitaran masing-masing.

Keujudan Premis Tadika Tanpa Berlesen
Datuk Bandar Mazalan memohon maaf atas keujudan satu premis Tadika tanpa berlesen di Kota Kemuning yang berterusan walaupun telah dibantah penduduk sejak tiga tahun lalu. Beliau memohon tempoh sebulan untuk menyelesaikannya.

Keujudan Peruntukan Akta / Undang-Undang Kecil "Negatif"
YB Shuhaimi berjanji akan mengenalpasti mana-mana peruntukan Akta atau Undang-undang Kecil yang tidak memihak kepada kepentingan rakyat atau yang memberi ruang kepada penyalah gunaan kuasa atau rasuah dan seterusnya memajukan cadangan-cadangan agar peruntukan-peruntukan itu dipinda.

Ketiadaan Dewan Orang Ramai di Bukit Rimau
Datuk Bandar Mazalan mengesahkan bahawa pihak MBSA tidak mempunyai peruntukan yang cukup bagi mendirikan Dewan-dewan Orang Ramai yang baharu memandangkan peruntukan sediada hanya cukup bagi menampung kos penyelenggaraan sahaja. Beliau berharap pentadbiran Kerajaan Negeri yang baru dapat melakukan sesuatu bagi membantu MBSA melaksanakan projek-projek kemasyarakatan yang baru.

Kebanjiran Pendatang Asing
YB Mariah bersetuju dengan pandangan seorang penduduk yang kelemahan peraturan imigresen negara adalah salah satu punca kebanjiran pendatang asing di negara ini. Beliau akan menggunakan platform Ahli Parlimen beliau untuk terus menerus menyuarakan hasrat rakyat agar permasalahan ini ditangani dengan sesempurna mungkin.

Masalah Pembekalan Air Apartment
Datuk Bandar Mazalan memaklumkan bahawa peraturan baru yang berkuatkuasa mulai April lalu bakal menyelesaikan beberapa masalah yang berhubungkait dengan pemaju atau pengurusan Apartmen.

YB Shuhaimi pula mengesyorkan agar Persatuan-persatuan Penduduk bagi sesetiap blok bergabung bagi mencapai tahap "kekuatan" yang lebih dalam berdepan dengan pemaju atau pengurus Apartment yang degil atau yang bermasalah.

Menurut beliau lagi, di peringkat pentadbiran Negeri, satu pelan sedang dirancang bagi "mengharamkan" mana-mana pemaju degil serta bermasalah dari mendapat projek-projek perumahan baharu dalam Negeri Selangor.

Gejala Ponteng, Lepak dan Samseng Pelajar Sekolah
Cif Inspektor Khairoul menyatakan yang pihaknya tidak mempunyai kuasa khusus dalam menangani masalah-masalah ini. Oleh yang demikian, pendekatan pihak polis selama ini hanyalah setakat memberi nasihat kepada pelajar-pelajar terbabit melalui pegawai perantara polis yang dijudkan disetiap sekolah.

YB Shuhaimi mencadangkan supaya pihak polis sekurang-kurangnya membuat lawatan berkala ke tempat-tempat yang dikenalpasti sebagai tempat "favourite" pelajar-pelajar itu berlepak agar pelajar-pelajar itu tidak akan lagi menjadikan tempat-tempat itu sebagi stesyen mereka.

Masalah Jerebu

YB Shuhami memberitahu penduduk bahawa sememangnya punca-punca jerebu di kawasan Bukit Rimau dan sekitar telahpun dikenalpasti. Pihaknya sedang bekerjasama dengan pihak DOE untuk mencari jalan menyelesaikan masalah ini. Masalah yang berpunca dari pembakaran sampah sarap di tempat pelupusan sampah haram akan diberikan keutamaan manakala masalah jerebu yang berpunca dari pembakaran terbuka kawasan pertanian akan cuba ditangani sebaiknya.

Walau apa-apapun, kedua-dua punca jerebu ini terletak diluar kawasan pentadbiran MBSA, demikian dijelaskan oleh Datuk Bandar Mazalan.

Penyelenggaraan Taman Permainan
Datuk Bandar Mazalan mengesahkan yang penyelenggaraan Taman-taman permainan adalah terletak dalam bidangtugas MBSA. Pihak MBSA akan melawat semua tapak-tapak taman permainan dan akan mengambil tindakan-tindakan perlu.

Status Tanah Perkuburan Islam Kota Kemuning
Datuk Bandar Mazalan menjelaskan yang tanah perkuburan itu sedang dalam kes mahkamah dan dijangka disebut sekali lagi pada bulan Julai nanti. Beliau mengesyorkan penduduk menggunakan kemudahan tanah perkuburan moden pelbagai agama di Seksyen 21 sementara menanti hasil keputusan mahkamah terhadap kes tersebut.

Isu Pembiayaan Sekolah Aliran Cina dan Tamil
YB Dr. Mariah memberitahu penduduk yang isu ini sekarang sedang diperjuangkan oleh MCA. Selaku pembangkang yang bertanggungjawab, segala cadangan yang dibawa oleh MCA berkaitan sekolah aliran cina dan tamil akan disokong oleh ahli-ahli parlimen pembangkang.

Begitulah berakhirnya kupasan isu-isu yang dibangkitkan oleh penduduk. Sesungguhnya apa yang nyata adalah kepuastian penduduk terhadap tahap komitmen YB serta Datuk Bandar serta Cif Inspektor dalam menyelesaikan masalah mereka.

Seperti biasa, mana bisa majlis berakhir tanpa santapan. Ya, jamuan secara ala kadar yang disediakan secara bergotong-royong serta sumbangan beberapa orang penduduk dijamah penduduk perbagai kaum dengan riang dan gembira.

Dalam mengucapkan selamat tinggal kepada YB-YB baru mereka kedengaran suara-suara "jangan lupa datang lagi" ditujukan kepada YB-YB baru itu.

Satu lagi projek kemasyarakatan yang berjaya - tahniah kepada JDM pimpinan Sdr. Fauzi

Jasni AJ