Gov't silent on intra-ethnic income disparities?

Nukilan Khairul Faizi bin Ahmad Kamil | 7/09/2008 11:53:00 PM | 0 Pandangan »

Gov't silent on intra-ethnic income disparities? - Malaysiakini
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz & Rahmah Ghazali Jul 9, 08 7:02pm

Among other issues in Parliament, a Pakatan Rakyat MP asked why the government was quick to reveal changes in income disparities between ethnic groups, but silent on income disparities within any particular ethnic group.

Government silent on intra-ethnic income disparities?

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi felt necessary in his Ninth Malaysian Plan mid-term review speech to show how income disparities between ethnic groups were improving, but declined to reveal the intra-ethnic income gaps, said Dr Michael J Devaraj (PKR-Sungai Siput).

"My question is, why did the government stress the disparities between ethnic groups while staying silent on the inequalities between the rich and the poor within every ethnic group which contributes by far to inequalities generally?" asked Devaraj.

He said this in his question to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Amirsham Abdul Aziz.

Reiterating Abdullah's speech late last month, Amirsham said the government sought to close the gap between the middle class and the poor, between the ethnic communities as well as between the rural and urban populations.

Earlier, Amirsham disclosed that 8.6 percent of households earn below RM1,000, followed by about 29.4 percent of households who earn between RM1,000 and RM2,000.

Put simply, almost 40 percent of households in Malaysia earn RM2,000 and below.
At the other end of the scale, about 20 percent of households earn more than RM5,000 a month, said Amirsham.

He said 19.8 percent of households are in the RM2001-RM3,000 income bracket, RM3,001-RM4,000 (12.9 percent), RM4,001-RM5,000 (8.6 precent), RM5,001-RM10,000 (15.8 percent) and above RM10,000 (4.9 percent).

‘Refugees for sale' claim

The Immigration Department has set up a special committee to investigate claims - contained in television channel NTV7's ‘Refugee for Sale' programme - that its officials sold Burmese asylum-seekers to human traffickers at the Thailand-Malaysia border.

Revealing this today in a written reply to Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang), Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said up until today, the committee has not found any immigration official to be involved in any heinous trafficking of Burmese nationals.

"However, the Immigration Department will meet with NTV7 to obtain further information on the matter because it affects the image and integrity of the Immigration Department if not handled immediately and urgently," said Syed Hamid.

"Whatever the case, the department will continue to investigate and if there is any truth to the allegations, the officers involved will face the appropriate action," he added.

When met at the lobby later, Santiago said he does not place much weight to the ministry's reply as he has been informed that since May 3, 2008 when the ‘Refugee for Sale' programme was aired, no meeting between Immigration and NTV7 has occurred.

‘Sultan of Sulu' issuing birth certificates to Filipinos in Sabah?

Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) and Hiew King Cheu (DAP-Kota Kinabalu) called for the authorities to investigate claims that a certain Sultan Muhammad Fuad Abdulla Kiram was issuing birth certificates to Filipinos in Sabah in his capacity as ‘Sultan of Sulu and Sultan of Sabah'.

Hiew said he had been given copies of the birth certificates by Sabahan bumiputeras. The ‘Sultan' also has a website dedicated to explaining the Sulu Sultanate's claims over Sabah, he added.

He pointed out that Malaysia is still paying the heirs to the Sulu Sultanate - to which there are about a dozen claimants in the Philippines - a yearly payment of US$1,500.

Lim said the discovery of the birth certificates raises questions of whether Malaysia's sovereignty and integrity was being challenged and urged for a full police investigation into the claims.

When met, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid dismissed the issue as only birth certificates issued by the National Registration Department are valid.

No more entertainment in protestsCoalition Against Inflation (Protes) coordinator Dr Hatta Ramli said he would take PAS leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat's criticism over the over-use of entertainment at the day-long rally as constructive criticism.

The PAS spiritual leader told Bernama yesterday that Sunday's anti-oil price hike rally was 'more festive rather than meeting the objective'."

I did not expect that such a protest rally suddenly became an event for people to have a good time with entertainment thrown in. That is not right," he was quoted as saying.

Hatta, who is the Kuala Krai MP, told Malaysiakini today that he would take the Kelantan Menteri Besar's criticism as a positive sign."If he meant to take the protest to the streets again, then we would do it. We won't go against our leader's words," he said.63 detained under ISA

In answer to a question from Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar disclosed in a written reply that as of May 31 this year, 63 persons are currently detained under the Internal Security Act 1960.Syed Hamid also said that 715 persons are being held under the Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance 1969, while 1,062 are detained under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.Syed Hamid did not reveal further details relating to those detained.

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