Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Papan Nama baru di Kampung Baru Semenyih

Setelah isu ini dibangkitkan dalam Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kecil Infrastruktur dan dalam soalan bertulis untuk Mesyuarat Full Council oleh Sdr. Arul. Akhirnya kini terdapat papan nama untuk Kampung Baru Semenyih.

Road reopened after 4 years

As we planned

Need to make some safety precautions

Cars can now turn in

After the 2004 General Election, the Barisan National Government closed the traditional road leading to Semenyih town near the school. This has resulted in two rows of shops becoming almost like a dead road. After the new town councilors were elected, several meetings and discussion were held to reopen the road. The Infrastructur Committee where I am a member decided to reopen the road. Last Friday the road has been reopened. There is still some new sign and safety precaution which need to be taken in order for the reopened road to function smoothly. Meanwhile the Councillors have also decided to redirect the traffic near the temple junction to improve the current traffic flow. This is now being studied.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya

Selamat hari Raya
Berhati-hati di jalanraya
Bantu membantu antara rakyat
kuburkan politik pecah perintah kaum dan agama
berehat sambil berfikir
Masa depan negara di tangan rakyat

Majlis Perundingan Rakyat di Pangsapuri Taman Tasek Kesuma

Parti Sosialis Malaysia mengadakan Majlis Perundingan Rakyat (MPR) di kawasan perumahan kos rendah - pangsapuri Tasek Kesuma. Majlis ini turut memberi orang ramai peluang untuk berdialog dengan Sdr. Arul. Antara isu-isu yang diutarakan adalah masalah sampah di rumah kosong, tiadanya lampu jalanraya, tiada kemudahan dewan, Isu tiadanya talian telepon, isu penyelengaraan flat dan isu keselamatan murid-murid sekolah.

Sukarelawan PSM juga mengadakan meja aduan yang mendapat sambutan hangat dan hanya tamat selepas jam 11 malam.

Hantar Beras sempena Raya

Aktivis PSM Semenyih sedang giat mengedarkan beras kepada golongan yang amat daif dan memerlukan. Beras ini adalah sumbangan Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Selangor. Beras ini mungkin dapat membantu masyarakat buat seketika namun perubahan dalam kehidupan mereka akan hanya berlaku apabila mereka berjaya hidup tanpa kebajikan dan berjaya menukar sistem kapitalis yang rakus ini.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Maklumbalas MPKj Terhadap 16 Usul/Soalan Sdr. Arul

Berikut adalah maklumbalas yang diberikan oleh pihak MPKj terhadap 16 soalan yang dikemukana oleh Sdr. Arul berkenaan isu-isu di Semenyih dan Kajang. Sila klik pada icon setiap muka surat untuk membaca.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pressing for socialist principles

Tuesday September 16, 2008
Parti Sosialis Malaysia vows to stick with its political struggle despite having close ties with Pakatan Rakyat.
SOCIALISM is no longer a dirty word, going by the official recognition given by the Government to the small but vocal Parti Sosialis Malaysia or PSM, which had been operating openly, without fear of prosecution since its formation in 1995.
It had everything – a constitution, formal party leadership, elections and annual congress, a logo, an office and even a regular newsletter – but legally it did not exist.
Even now with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim plotting and planning to capture the government, the PSM was ignored.
“We are not invited. Nobody shares with us ... We are in the dark,” says PSM president Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim.
But all that has changed with official recognition by the Registrar of Societies effective Aug 19.
In fact, the PSM’s final appeal against official rejection by the registrar was still before the Federal Court and coming up for decision in November, when the Government relented and offered registration.
“March 8 changed everything. It forced the Government to face the political realities of the day and allow for greater freedom of political association,” Dr Mohd Nasir said in an interview.
Not only did Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar recognise PSM, he also allowed registration of the PKR newsletter Berita Keadilan and increased the frequency of PAS’ organ Harakah from a bimonthly to a weekly.
Previously, the Government had refused to register the PSM, arguing that a party founded on the principles of socialism was a danger to national security.
It also objected to the use of the word socialism in the party’s name or logo, equating it with communism, an ideology banned here.
In 1995, in a move to gain public credibility, the old Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia founded in the early 1970s under the leadership of Dr Syed Husin Ali, dropped the word “socialism” to become Party Rakyat Malaysia.
In 2001, Party Rakyat Malaysia disappeared into the Party Keadilan Nasional, the Umno breakaway, which later renamed itself Party Keadilan Rakyat.
Dr Syed Husin, now the PKR deputy president, and newcomers like Tian Chua continue to press for “socialist aims” in ideologically right-wing PKR.
But the 1995 name change had also left behind a disgruntled core of 30 die-hard believers, who decided that another party using socialism was needed to champion the plight of low-paid and exploited plantation and factory workers.
Today, PSM has 10,000 members in seven states for whom the recent recognition is a major psychological boost.
“Our first task now is to consolidate and go on a road show to recruit more members and expand across the country,” said long-time secretary-general S. Arulchel-vam.
In this, it will be aided by the dynamic left-wing tradition it inherited from the 1950s and 60s but which disintegrated in the face of state repression, infighting and defection.
After an absence of nearly 30 years, avowed socialist Dr Jeya-kumar Devaraj entered Parliament, boosting morale among left-wingers.
Asked to define socialism for today, Dr Jeyakumar said it is the ideology that tries to return the nation’s wealth to the people who created it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thousands of former estate workers in dire need of work and shelter

The Star Online > Central
Thursday July 17, 2008

Thousands of former estate workers in dire need of work and shelter


BEFORE Putrajaya came into existence, there was the Prang Besar Estate.

While the country’s new federal administrative capital was still a design on the drawing board, hundreds of estate workers had toiled daily in Prang Besar.

Pondering their future: (from left) Devi Ganie, Munichy Muniandy, B. Mathialagan and Mariayee Palaniappa of the Semenyih Estate are hoping for permanent homes.

They tapped rubber and worked in the oil palm plantation, savouring the simple life as they knew it.

The creation of Putrajaya opened a new chapter in the nation’s history but closed another.

The dramatic change in the landscape from that of a rural estate to a modern city with towering structures best embodies the high price we pay for development.

It also acquainted us with the ugly term known as displacement.

Close-knit community: Former estate workers of the Semenyih Estate gather for chats and to strengthen the communal bond.

According to statistics from the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), the number of estates in Selangor dwindled from 150 in 1986 to 95 in 2006.

Besides Putrajaya, former estates converted to mega development projects include Cyberjaya, the KL International Airport (KLIA), Bernam Valley and the Guthrie Corridor.

With Prang Besar Estate no longer in existence, a majority of the former estate workers were relocated to low-cost flats in Dengkil.

The estate they had called home for decades was no more and the close community living is all but a fond memory now.

Still backward: Life in the Semenyih Estate and other estates in the country seem untouched by tim.

Rubber tapper Subramaniam Munusamy, 45, of Semenyih Estate, firmly believes that they should be compensated with permanent homes.

“Semenyih has been my home for nearly three decades. Following the notice of termination of employment from the landowners five years ago, we were offered flats in Nilai,” he told StarMetro during a recent interview at the estate workers quarters.

“But this means starting all over again. We have asked for low-cost houses in Semenyih in recognition of our blood, sweat and tears for a commodity which is fetching high prices in the world market,” Subramaniam said.

Since they stopped working for the Semenyih Estate, Subramaniam and his wife Anjalai Devi Chinalagan, 43, have been tapping rubber on a plot of land belonging to a smallholder for daily wages. Their combined monthly income is barely RM1,300.

The couple, who have four children, said they could not retire for at least 20 more years.

Like everyone else, they hope to enjoy the comforts of living in a house of their own in the near future.

The struggle to gain a permanent roof over their heads began five years ago with little progress to show since.

For retirees like Mariayee Palaniappa, 59, and Munichy Muniandy, 53, their meagre incomes come from picking flowers for which they are paid RM8 per tin.

Estate resident Devi Ganie, 30, meanwhile, takes on odd jobs, leaving her five-year-old son B. Mathialagan in the care of neighbours.

Life is hard but the women share some little joy and comfort through communal living.

Red MyKad: 55-year-old Mariamah Anthony is still a permanent resident
Back when it was a functioning estate, the Semenyih Estate was home to 100 Indian families.

There are only 16 families left now. The others have left to seek their fortunes elsewhere after obtaining their dues from the landowners.

Meanwhile, a looming threat of displacement currently hangs over the Dunedin Estate workers.

Dunedin, located 3km from Semenyih town, is still functioning as an oil palm plantation and, like the Semenyih Estate, was established around a century ago.

According to plantation worker Arumugam Subramaniam, 51, and his wife Sarojini Paramasivam, 44, there is talk of the plantation being sold for development but they have yet to receive any notice from the landowners.

“There used to be over 100 families here but only a fraction are left now since the rumours began. If the landowners want us to move, we hope to be provided with houses nearby,” Arumugam said.

“As far as income goes, we are paid daily wages, base pay, cost of living allowance (Cola) and other allowances. It is hard to make sense of the pay slip but basically, my wife and I jointly earn around RM1,250 a month,” he said.

Hoping to break the cycle: Dunedin Estate pensioner Baby Angamuthu with her sevenmonth- old grandson Thinakaran Murugan. Is there hope of a better life for him in the future?

“In view of the surge in commodity prices and inflation, the Malaysian Agricultural Producers Association (Mapa) should increase the Cola while the NUPW should push for a higher minimum wage,” he said.

Retiree Baby Angamuthu, 57, in reminiscing how life in the estate was 50 years ago, said that little had changed in the estate community all these years.

“We are still living in deplorable conditions although oil palm is a priceless commodity. Some of the quarters are infested with termites, the drainage system is poor and dengue is a constant threat,” she said, cuddling her seven-month-old grandson Thinakaran Murugan.

At present, the future looks bleak for the young generation but parents like Subramaniam and Arumugam realize the importance of education and have sent their children to school.

They hope that their children, armed with an education, could leave the estates to work, and break the cycle of poverty.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) estate liaison officer Ramalingam Thirumalai can identify with the estate workers struggle concerning displacement.

“We at the Sungai Rinching Estate fought for 10 years for our houses. The struggle was long and difficult but we emerged victorious and we also realised that it was better to stand together,” he said.

There is strength in numbers which is why PSM secretary-general and Kajang Municipal councillor S. Arutchelvan wants to mobilise together the estate workers of Semenyih, Dunedin, Bangi and Glengowrie to demand for housing.

“Breaking up the communities of estate workers leads to a negative impact on their psyche as they already feel neglected and cast aside,” Arutchelvan said.

“With a proper area set aside for housing, displace estate workers can ask for a school, hall and places of worship,” he said.

During his recent visits to the estates, Selangor health, plantation workers and caring government committee chairman Dr Xavier Jeyakumar gave the landowners a timely reminder.

“Land status conversion for estates with 40ha and above will only be approved if the landowners agree to provide housing for displaced estate workers. This is the condition imposed by the state government,” Xavier said.

At present, there are 113 estates in Selangor seeking land status conversion.

Xavier also urged estate owners to give preference and priority to locals when hiring workers and not only employ foreigners.

Estate Workers’ Plight

Former estate worker Ramalingam shares his stories with the BRATs

Ramalingam Thiruamalai’s family has been working at a rubber estate in Sg Rinchang for four generations. In 1994, Ramalingam, along with 61 other families, lost their livelihood when 1,300 acres of the rubber estates they were working in was sold off to private developers. The loss of land meant that they not only lost their jobs, but they also lost a place to stay.

Most of the families relocated to the city, leaving only 10 families in the remaining 50 acres of land. Since the estate ceased functioning, Ramalingam has been fighting for alternate housing with the help of full-time activist. Arutchelvan who is the secretary general of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia.

“It is very hard for these people to get alternate housing because of two reasons,” says Arutchelvan. “The first is they have no source of income, so it is hard for them to get loans from the bank. Rubber tapping is considered a skilled job, and once they lose their job, it is very hard for them to get one outside of the estate,” The only jobs that most former estate workers could find are usually as security guards for the men, and as sweepers or factory workers for the women.

“When the estates close down, the employers will evict the workers, regardless of whether or not they have another place to live. Maybe even cut off the water and electricity supply,” says Arutchelvan.

“Rubber plantation workers have been facing problems since the very beginning,” says Ramalingam.“If, in the past, the problems used to revolve around their low wages, now, the issue they face is the lack of housing when the estates close down.” says Arutchelvan. He adds that it is the company’s social responsibility to look after the well-being of their former workers.

The current house they are left with is not suitable for living, especially for the younger members of the family who are in school. It is in bad condition.

However, after 12 long years of fighting for alternate housing, Ramalingam and his family can now look forward to moving into their new flats. Arutchelvan says that they can finally move in to their new low-cost flats as soon as the documentation are finalised.

“This whole problem can be avoided if the Government implements and enforces a law that states that employers should provide alternate housing of plantation workers,” says Arutchelvan.

Evidently, this is a fair move as the ex-plantation workers find it hard not only to look for a job but for housing as well when the company decides to sell off the land.