[ hiatus ]

14 10 2007

Dear readers,

Apologies for the hiatus in postings; I have been travelling for work and have had little opportunity to update the blog while away.

I have just returned but will be going on hiatus for a while to attend to urgent personal matters. I don’t know when I will be back, but I will return when I can.

Thank you for your support and comments; I am proud to say that the vast majority of comments on this blog have been of a wonderfully high quality; I have greatly enjoyed the discourse and learned much from you.

In the meantime, the corruption, subversion of democracy and active suppression of civil rights in Malaysia by the BN government goes on every day, albeit in a slightly less violent manner than in Burma.

Haris Ibrahim‘s petition to the Agong calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the judicial scandal requires our support. Please view the full text of the petition HERE, and sign it by sending your name and IC no. to <savethejudiciary@gmail.com>. Your details will be treated with the strictest responsibility. Please help to publicise this petition: we must not allow this judicial scandal to be swept under the carpet.

Keep fighting the good fight; see things as they are, expose the wrong and don’t be afraid to speak the truth. Never submit to bullying. But let’s do it in style: do as Gandhi did; do as the Burmese monks did. Let’s do it peacefully. Satyagraha. The way of peace.

Please register yourself to vote (go to the Election Commission website to check your voter status), get others to register themselves too, and when the time comes, vote wisely. Vote for change. We can change things for the better. Believe it.

Malaysia needs you.

[ ghostline ] salutes you, Bangsa Malaysia.

Bullying in The Civil Service

4 10 2007

I received word on this case a few days ago and was supposed to post on it when the violent crackdown in Burma began and displaced everything else.

The case concerns a young teacher who recently attended his annual review at the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran (SPP – Education Services Commission). The teacher involved (let’s call him ‘Teacher A‘, or ‘A‘) attended the interview, but instead of undergoing a proper interview, he was subjected to a vindictive, baseless, completely uncalled-for and humiliating dressing down by the senior officer who interviewed him.

According to A, the bully involved was Dato’ Haji Abdullah bin Haji Abdul Kadir, who according to the screen capture below holds the position of Pengarah Bahagian Pendidikan Guru (Director, Teachers’ Training Department). I’ve tried to search the SPP website to verify the identity of the officer above but like much public infrastructure in Malaysia, the website appears to be non-functional.

The arrogant and condescending behaviour of this ‘Datuk’ who abuses his position to bully subordinate officers deserves nothing but contempt, and he comes across as a crass, boorish, pompous and self-absorbed twit (an old himbo – ‘male bimbo’ – if you will).

Teacher A would very much like to fight his case but requires advice and support;

If you can assist, or know of someone who can, please contact me at ghostline2501@gmail.com or Scott Thong at his blog: http://scottthong.wordpress.com

and we will help put you in touch with ‘Teacher A‘.

Also, if you know of anyone who has had a similar experience of bullying at the hands of this particular officer or other senior officers, whether in the civil service or private sector: please ask them to carefully document the events and get in touch with us. There are people who can help.

Never submit to bullying.


This is Teacher A’s account, reproduced from Scott Thong’s blog:

SPP Interview Expose – Interview With the Very Condescending Bigshot Rich Datuk (name of interviewee has been omitted to prevent retributive action)

I was at Jabatan Perdana Menteri yesterday, for an interview with the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran. It was an interview to confirm my placement into the government service as DG41.

The interview letters stated that we should wear “formal berlengan panjang.”

From http://www.spp.jpm.my/temuduga-faktor.php:

Perawakan Dan Penampilan Diri.

Calon-calon dikehendaki hadir temuduga dengan berpakaian kemas dan sopan. Calon-calon lelaki dikehendaki memakai baju kemeja berlengan panjang dan bertali leher, manakala calon-calon wanita memakai pakaian yang bersopan.

I wore my grey slacks, dark blue long-sleeve shirt, and a silver tie.

Upon arrival at Bilik Temuduga 10, we were told by our room’s interviewer that we need to wear a coat.

Nobody brought any coats from our room. We went out to search for a coat. Around 5 other guys in the entire interview had coats. So we borrowed their coats and passed them around.

When my turn came, I put on the coat and went in.

Right after I said “Selamat pagi Dato,” he asked me where I got the coat from. I said I borrowed it. He said how come I don’t even own a coat. I said the letter did not state that I have to wear a coat, or else I would’ve found one before I came. He scolded me and said I did not know how to interpret the letter.

He asked what kind of pants I was wearing. I said my grey slacks. He said how can that be formal. I said only have 2 pairs of slacks. One black, one grey. The black one, I wore to school on Monday, and now it is being washed. So, today I’m wearing my grey slacks.

He chased me out of the room.

He called me in again after a very long time. It wasn’t an interview. It was a dressing-down, humiliation session. He didn’t really ask me anything much. Here’s the gist of what he said:

“Bapa kamu tahu tak, you seluar hanya ada dua? Kalau dia tahu, dia malu tak, anak dia macam ini?”

I said, hidup saya susah. I explained my family background. And why I have banyak tanggungan.

“You are wrong!! Saya pun tak pernah tanggung orang macam itu. You must change the way you live.”

He looked at my shoes, and he said:

“Kasut kamu tak gilap”

I said, I cycle to school everyday. How to gilap?


Well, if I don’t have a car, and my school is nearby, and I can’t afford to arrive in an Alfa Romeo, what’s wrong with cycling to school?
“You pakai baju apa itu. Cina tak boleh pakai gelap.”

I said I’m a Christian, I don’t abide by such superstitions. I said by the way, my shirt is blue. Not black.

“Kamu bukan Cina kah? You must be proud to be Chinese… Malaysian Chinese…”

What does he know about being a Malaysian Chinese? We don’t get Datukships and awards like him. We can’t afford to be wearing designer clothes like him. We are not supported by the government’s silver spoon in our mouth from the day we were born. We have to struggle to take care of our families. What does he know?

He said, “Dalam PIPP, ada dinyatakan kita harus memartabatkan profesion keguruan. Apa yang kamu faham tentang itu?”

That is the Teras Kelima in the PIPP. I explained that according to the PIPP blueprint, we are supposed to upgrade the intake system of teachers and improve the working environment of teachers. I wasn’t taking rubbish. That was the textbook answer.

He said, “Tak payah, tak payah. Kalau untuk kamu saja, macam mana?”

I said, “Kena memperbaiki imej, kalau menurut dato.”

He said “Gaji satu bulan berapa? Pergilah beli seluar…”

He even stood up to show me his slacks. He said must buy a pair that costs seratus lebih. That would be a good one.

I cycle to school everyday. My shoes aren’t shined. I can’t afford a pair of slacks that cost over a hundred bucks. I don’t have a coat. I guess I’m not fit to be a teacher.

Well, if they can pay me 4 grand a month, certainly the profession guru’s martabat will be dipertingkatkan, isn’t it?

If what I wear matters so much more than how I teach, my workplace is not in a musty classroom. I should be on the catwalk runway.


Dato’ Haji Abdullah bin Haji Abdul Kadir


– Teacher A (real name withheld)


Are you angry yet?

PETITION : Return The Judiciary to the Rakyat! Call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (2)

1 10 2007

CALLING FOR SUPPORT: The People’s Parliament is preparing a petition to the Agong calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to properly investigate the judicial corruption scandal exposed by the ‘Lingam tape’.

Please help to publicise and support this petition.

We need to demonstrate that we the rakyat are dead serious in demanding accountability for the judicial scandal (and all other scandals) perpetrated by the government.

Please go to The People’s Parliament for details and support the PETITION by signing it.

The English text of the petition is reproduced below; you can also sign the petition by sending an email to savethejudiciary@gmail.com ; the signatures will be collated and appended to the petition. Unlike the Election Commission, we don’t have ‘phantom voters’, so please submit your real name and IC no when signing the petition. Your details will be handled with the utmost care and responsibility.

Thank you.


[ ORIGINAL POST ] Read the rest of this entry »

SOLIDARITY: Burma (3); Day of Action 29 Sept

29 09 2007

[ UPDATED ] 070930 . 1315

Petition has 235,000 signatures at the time of this update. Please support the petition HERE.


[ UPDATED ] 070929 . 1400

In support of the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Burma, who even now are suffering as the Burmese military junta executes a violent crackdown on the unarmed civilians and monks: an NGO has organised a worldwide petition in solidarity with the Burmese people.

The petition is targeted at and will be submitted to the UN Security Council and especially Chinese President Hu Jin Tao (as China is the Burmese junta’s main ally and source of support) and will be circulated to international media networks.

The petition has garnered 211,000 signatures as of the time of this post and will be sent out as soon as it reaches 250,000 signatures.

Please support the Burmese people’s struggle for democracy and sign the petition here.


[ ORIGINAL POST ] Read the rest of this entry »

PETITION: Return The Judiciary to The Rakyat! Call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

27 09 2007


In a parallel effort, Haris Ibrahim of The People’s Parliament — a prominent lawyer and one of the leading lights of the civil society and human rights movement in Malaysia — has drafted a petition to the Agong to call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the judicial corruption that has been rudely brought to light by the ‘Lingam tape’.

If, like me, you think that the government’s half-cooked ‘independent’ inquiry panel is just another whitewash rubberstamp panel and have absolutely no confidence that the Badawi administration intends to take any meaningful action to properly investigate and prosecute the wrongdoers behind the ‘Lingamgate’ judicial scandal and the unbroken string of scandals before this, then:

Please go to The People’s Parliament for details and support the petition by signing it. Haris will be submitting the royal petition, but we must demonstrate meaningful support for that to happen.

Do we want change for the better? Then let’s keep the pressure on, people.




[ video courtesy of Malaysiakini ]

Bravo to the Bar Council, for proposing and leading this march; and

Bravo, also, to the brave civil society activists, opposition members and concerned citizens who showed up in force today at Putrajaya, and despite the inclement weather, a heavy police/FRU presence and early police interference (preventing the marchers’ buses from approaching), they cheerfully and peacefully marched on Putrajaya to submit the memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office. Read the rest of this entry »

Kuuki ga Yomenai; Knowing When It’s Time To Step Down

19 09 2007

[ notice ] Dear readers, am travelling for work the next few days and will be updating less frequently while away, but would like to leave some food for thought in the form of this article featured in today’s editorial page of the (Singapore) Straits Times, which addresses the resignation of embattled Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

kuuki ga yomenai: “cannot read the air”, or completely out of touch.

sonnano kankeinei: “So what? I don’t care!”

There are many parallels with our own situation (except of course the willingness of failed leaders to accept responsibility and resign — or be forced out dishonourably). Click to enlarge:

Here’s the disgusting fact: the real and perceived shortcomings of the Shinzo Abe administration pale by far in comparison to that of Badawi’s UMNO-BN administration.

Fortunately for the Japanese, their level of awareness and the honour code is so deeply ingrained in their social psyche that when an individual, group or government’s misdeeds come to light, the position of those implicated soon becomes untenable. Even if an individual’s own honour code fails him and he tries to cling desperately to power, the Japanese people will vociferously demand that he be held accountable and to take responsibility for his or his subordinates’ misdeeds. Resignation or (political or actual) suicide usually follows such a dishonourable public backlash.

Despite the fact that the Japanese have also had the same (Liberal Democratic Party) party in government for most of their post-war history, no tainted leader/minister has ever been able to survive for long (politically) after their (or their subordinates’) misdeeds or mistakes were brought into the light. The maturity and independence of Japanese (civil) society and media has generally been able to act as an effective moderating factor to check government abuses.

I don’t need to explain how far our own miserable political situation differs from that of the Japanese.

The Japanese political system is far from perfect, but it is also far ahead of our own. Can we do the same? Vociferously demand accountability of our corrupt, inept and malignant leaders – and since we know it shall not be forthcoming – throw them out at the next general election.

So, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, have you learned to read the air yet? Or are you — as always — both kuuki ga yomenai AND sonnano kankeinei?

[ hiatus ]

10 09 2007

temporary hiatus : work travel for a few days.

will resume shortly.