Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Acknowledging the way animals enrich our lives

In a few weeks, on Oct 4, people from all walks of life around the globe will be celebrating World Animal Day. Animal welfare organisations and other related agencies worldwide are currently busy planning and preparing to celebrate this day which is dedicated to animals and to those who care for them.

World Animal Day is a day to celebrate and appreciate our relationship with the animals that share our planet and the way they enrich our lives. It is also a day to speak out against all forms of animal cruelty  and to advocate for the protection of wildlife habitats that is shrinking. This day belongs to all the citizens of the world and the animals that is sharing their environment.

As human beings we are  said to to be neighbours, roommates and friends to these creatures. It is our responsibility to help and protect these animals so that their future generations can grow and thrive, which helps our future generations will be blessed to enjoy and  share their lives with these animals.

World Animal Day began in 1931 as a way to highlight the plight of endangered species. It has now evolved into a special day to honour all the animals in the world regardless of the celebrants’ nationality, religion, faith or political beliefs.

The mission of World Animal Day in short are:
  • To celebrate animal life in all forms,
  • Celebrate humankind’s relationship to the animal kingdom,
  • To acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives - from being our companions, supporting and helping us to bringing a a sense of wonder into our lives, and
  • To acknowledge and be thankful in the way animals enrich our lives.
According to an international animal welfare organisation report on the Net, an estimated 80 percent of the world’s 1 billion cats and dogs are said to be strays or neglected. The report also  pointed out that many of the 60 billion farm animals raised in the world today are said to be inhumanely treated and during disasters these  animals are forgotten.

 Daily around the world, hundreds of animals are said to be facing some form of  barbaric treatment at the hands of individuals and groups who are either  ignorant or don’t care two hoots about animal welfare or safety. The situation is getting worse in countries where  animal welfare legislations and enforcement are lacking to curb and protect  heinous animal cruelty.

One of the good things about World Animal Day is that it can be celebrated indoors or outdoors. As such local animal welfare oganisations, including  government agencies such as the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) and the Wildlife Depatment (Perhilitan) should  not miss out on this opportunity to highlight the mutual benefits man derives by taking good care of the well-being and safety of the animals that share our environment.

There are so many things that we can do in conjunction with World Animal Day celebrations in Malaysia. I am sure by now  our local  animal welfare NGOs  should have lined up various  events and programmes to commomarate this special day where the public can participate.

Our national animal guardians DVS and Perhilitan, with resources and expertise should be playing a prominent role a sponsoring and promoting events and  campaigns to commemorate  World Animal Day. It is sad and disappointing to note that in the past DVS and Perhilitan have  being rather silent or have not shown enough  enthusiasm  in promoting World Animal Day celebrations in the country.

DVS and Perhilitan should be in the forefront

Ideally DVS and Perhilitan should be in the forefront in organising events and programmes to celebrate this World Animal  Day. There are so many ways this World Animal Day can be celebrated.

Business entities, especially multi-national companies, can do their part by  to contributing in cash or kind to help out in the activities undertaken by the local animal welfare organisations which are facing financial constraints.

Supermarkets and outher business outlets can do their part, too, on this special day by offering special discount sales for pet food and other items. Fast food chains can organise special events for patrons especially children on this day. Veterinary clinics and hospitals can introduce special rebates for their services for pet owners.

The public can also play their role as individuals in boycotting business products originating from animal body parts such as fur, feather, tusk, etc. The buying of consumer goods and products derived from unethical and heinous killing of animals should be stopped.

The practice of patronising unethical  business outlets which deals with consumer goods derived from illegal (poaching) animal parts  has been cited as one of the major contributing factor for  heinous animal cruelty and the extinction of many protected animal species.

If you are an animal lover and you have  yet to join any of the local animal welfare organisations, take this opportunity during the world animal day celebration to get involved and do your part. Alternatively you can lend your voice to join  more than 1.5 million people around world  to show your support to a draft proposal by the World Animal Protection Society to the United Nation  on the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).

This is an  inter-governmental agreement among people and nations to recognise that animals are sentient beings and that we respect  their welfare and end all forms of  animal cruelty. Sign the online petition to show your support for the proposed UDAW atwww.animalsmatter.org.

Meanwhile, I appeal to government agencies which are directly involved in the welfare and well-being of our small and large animals, especially the DVS and Perhilitan, to play their part in making this World Animal Day celebrations a meaningful and memorable one. There are a hundred and one thing the DVS and Perhilitan can do by joining forces with the NGOS to promote animal welfare  awareness among the  public.

It will be memorable and meaningful World Animal Day celebration for Malaysians this year the authorities honour their pledge  to set up the Malaysian Animal Welfare Advisory Council and table the long-awaited new Animal Welfare Bill in Parliament for the October 2014 parliament session.

To commemorate the world animal day celebrations I wish to suggest that the authorities consider holding a special ceremony to recognise and reward outstanding  work by any individual or organisation that has contributed immensely to animal welfare and safety in the country.

Special awards should be given to outstanding  journalists who have created an impact on society to  significantly raise the standard and awareness  of animal welfare and safety. The authorities should make this award presentation ceremony an annual event  to commemorate the celebration of World Animal Day.

Titah istana tipiskan peluang Azizah?

Sampai bila kemelut pentadbiran Selangor akan berakhir?

Adakah Pakatan Rakyat akan terus utuh, terutamanya selepas Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim menghadap sultan awal petang tadi?

Walaupun Khalid memilih 'peralihan lancar' dengan menyatakan hasratnya meletakkan jawatan, titah sultan yang meminta lebih daripada dua calon pengganti menteri besar mungkin memanjangkan lagi kemelut itu.

Titah itu boleh ditafsirkan sebagai tanda-tanda bahawa calon tunggal Pakatan Rakyat Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Ismail, presiden PKR, bukan pilihan istana.

Justeru, nasib Azizah masih penuh teka-teki walaupun beliau sudah mendapat sokongan majoriti daripada anggota Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN), sekurang-kurangnya 30 daripada 56 ADUN.

Justeru, adakah peluang Azmin kembali cerah dengan perkembangan terbaru ini?

Tinjauan Merdeka Centre baru-baru ini bagaimanapun mendapati Azmin masih seorang calon kurang popular.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Everyone is Welcome!

MAS crew members resigned after jet disasters

MAS Retro 2 JPG

Almost 200 Malaysia Airline System Bhd (MAS) crew members have resigned
notably after the double airline tragedies involving MH17 and MH370. Malaysia Airline System Employees Union secretary-general Abdul Malek Ariff said they were down to only about 3,000 cabin crew staff now.
“Some are afraid to fly. There is nothing we can do about this. They have developed some kind of fear and we hope that over time, they will be back to normal,” he said.
In a statement to The Edge, MAS said that the total number of resignations from January to July this year was 186 and not 500 as some have alleged. ”Following the MH17 incident, there was a spike in crew resignations, but the number has now decreased to routinely expected levels.”
“Many cited family pressure as the reason for their resignation due to the MH17 and MH370 tragedies. At present, the resignation rate at MAS is less than 5% which is way below the industry norm,” it said.

Journalists are not the enemy

James Foley
Tiger offers his condolences to the family and friends of James Wright Foley, a journalist from America who was recently beheaded by ISIS militants. Tiger’s hackles are raised as history once again repeats itself, with how journalists are persecuted with disregard for the laws that protect a journalist in a danger zone.
Tiger is sad. And angry. And confused. But above all sad. From all accounts, a good person by the name of James Wright Foley lost his life in a statement of intent by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who beheaded the man to send a message to the United States to cease their meddling in Iraq, where president Barack Obama had sanctioned air strikes to aid in the containment of ISIS, with a recent victory being the capture of the Mosul Dam, which controls water and power to the region, from the hands of ISIS forces.
Tiger will take no sides here, but instead note, with no small amount of frustration and sorrow, that this so-called message had cost the life of an innocent man, merely doing his job.
And this is not even the first time this is happening.  Over the years, there have been multiple cases of abduction, incarceration, and murder of journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, there have been 32 murders of journalists in 2014 alone, with 70 murders in 2013 and 74 in 2012. Also noted was that 2013 saw at least 65 journalists abducted, more than double the number of the preceding years combined.
Is there no longer any respect for the neutrality of a journalist? Tiger believes that any and all sides in any conflict should respect that the people going in to get the news are journalists first, rather than as representative nationals of their respective countries. Journalists are beholden to their word to report any situation with neutrality and without bias, and Tiger would like to think that everyone on any side of a conflict would understand that.Location definitely has something to do with this issue. Syria has been acknowledged as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists by the CPJ, as it is one of the primary conflict zones at this time, along with Iraq, which also happens to be leading the CPJ’s Impunity Index, with 100% impunity to 100 cases.
As it always is, however, this is not to be. The safety of journalists in conflict or high danger zones is already very much in question, with munitions not knowing the difference between a neutral and an enemy. But when militants start gunning for journalists due to their relative lack of an ability to defend themselves, Tiger feels this crosses all sorts of lines in all sorts of books.
Even if the journalists are not killed, whether to make a statement or not, they are still abducted and held against their will for extended periods of time. How Foley was abducted and held for almost two years before his murder is one case in point.
And what happens to the journalists while they are being held? One can never be certain what happens, but tea and crumpets over an interview does not seem likely. Tiger does applaud the United States for their efforts in trying to locate and rescue Foley and several others abducted along with him, but Tiger believes that prevention of further abductions and killings might be for the better.
Among the steps already taken by the United Nations is the implementation of the U.N. Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, with the U.N. General Assembly adopting a resolution on the safety of journalists. The resolution calls for states to act to pursue justice and put an end to impunity.
Tiger definitely mourns Foley, who has gone where others fear to tread, and hopes for the safety of other journalists reporting from conflict zones to bring news to the world.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tinjauan calon MB: Wan Azizah pertama, Umno kedua

Presiden PKR, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail menjadi calon pilihan utama untuk mengisi jawatan menteri Besar Selangor, demikian menurut hasil kajiselidik Merdeka Center.

Manakala hanya enam peratus responden yang mahukan calon alternatif, Timbalan Presiden PKR Azmin Ali, menerajui negeri itu, diikuti oleh calon PAS yang mendapat 12 peratus.

Yang menariknya, 15 peratus daripada responden lebih suka menteri besar dari Umno berbanding dengan Azmin, ataupun calon PAS.

Dalam kajiselidik membabitkan 808 pengundi di Selangor, 25 peratus daripada responden berkata mereka mahu Wan Azizah menjadi menteri besar.

Bagaimanapun, 32 peratus lagi tidak pasti siapa yang mereka mahu untuk menggantikan Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Manakala baki lima peratus enggan memberi respons.

Thousands gather to share nation's sorrow

Thousands of city folk gathered at Dataran Merdeka and in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur, today to share the nation's grief over the MH17 tragedy in conjunction with the Day of National Mourning.
Like the rest of the country, they observed one minute of silence at 10.54am after the coffins containing the remains of 20 of the Malaysian victims which arrived earlier on a Malaysia Airlines special aircraft MH6129 at the KLIA in Sepang were placed in the waiting hearses.

The crowd, in dark attire, started to gather at the historic landmark around 9am to watch the official ceremony of receiving and honouring the victims at KLIA via a large screen at the square.

During the minute of silence, the Muslims in the crowd offered the Al-Fatihah while the non-Muslims silently prayed for the victims according to their religious belief. Many were seen shedding tears.

Meanwhile, motorists around the area stopped their vehicles as a mark of respect for the MH17 crash victims during the minute of silence.

Foreign tourists were also seen observing the minute of silence in sharing this nation's sorrow over the MH17 tragedy.

MH17 was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it crashed in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border on July 17.

The Boeing 777-200 aircraft carrying 298 people including 15 crew members, is believed to have been shot down by a missile over the troubled country. Forty-three of them were Malaysians.

Newspapers go black and white

The front pages of most of the major newspapers were in black and white to express the sadness felt on the Day of National Mourning for the victims of the MH17 tragedy.

The headlines, photos and quotations on the front pages also mirrored the sadness felt by the nation over the deaths of those who were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that went down in Ukraine in July.

Malay language newspaper Utusan Malaysia used black with the heading 'Penghormatan Negara' (National Tribute) and the names of the 20 passengers and crew on the ill-fated flight.

Another Malay daily Berita Harian had a black-and-white photograph of the Jalur Gemilang hoisted at half-mast on its front page.

With the headline 'Malaysia Berkabung' (Malaysia in Mourning), a third newspaper Sinar Harian used a photograph of the funeral rites performed at the Monuta Ineeme funeral home in the Netherlands on Thursday before the remains were flown here.

Harian Metro also used black and white, carrying the headline 'Kembali Bersemadi' (Back for Burial) as well as quotations of the final words of MH17 leading stewardess Mastura Mustafa to her husband Mohamed Affendi Khairuddin sent on the Wechat application.

Her message said she would not always be with him, but one day she would go to meet Allah, never to return.

English language daily The Star had a black-and-white front page which carried the photographs of the 20 MH17 tragedy victims whose remains were brought home today, and with the headline 'They are home'.

The front page of another newspaper The Sun had the photograph of a Malaysia Airlines aircraft and the Jalur Gemilang flown at half-mast, with the heading 'Malaysia Mourns RIP MH17.'

Meanwhile, The New Straits Times published the names of all the 43 Malaysian victims of the MH17 tragedy on its front page, which was also in black and white.

The Malay Mail's front-page headline, in the meantime, was 'They're coming home, no words to say farewell'.

On the Internet, the mood was equally sombre, with the local media using black and white for their logos on their websites and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The masthead colour of the website of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), www.bernama.com, was also in black and white.

Besides Malaysians, nationals from the Netherlands, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand were among the 298 people on board.

- Bernama