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Speech by M. Kula Segaran in the Royal Address debate on Wednesday, 16th March 2011:

Speech in the Royal Address debate

No one can deny that the poor and helpless need to be helped. The poverty affecting Malaysians does not look at race and it is across the board in our country.

Recently the MIC President Senator Palanivel has come out with a unique way of overcoming the poverty affecting the Indian community in the urban areas.

The majority of Indians who left the estates some thirty years ago are in the fringes of urban areas and are generally earning a meager income. Planivel has suggested that, as a temporary measure, these people to return back to estates to increase their earning power.

Palanivel further said that estate workers can now earn some RM1500 a month. Workers in estates have generally been provided with housing water and electricity.

Palanivel needs to be reminded that for a family to be uprooted temporarily so as to earn a better income in the estates is illogical and a step back ward to the progress of the community. I suggest that the Government forms a Parliamentary Select Committee to ascertain the causes of urban Indian poor and make recommendations to solve the problem as a long term solution.

Interlok novel controversy: The government has introduced the Interlok novel as a literature text book for usage at the form 5 level. The novel has many facts which are misleading and distorted. The novel is demeaning and it has hurt the Indian community.

Many NGO's and related parties have taken objection to the book being used as a text book. With so much of objections, the novel should be withdrawn as a text book.

Protect our WildlifeThe authorities must buck up and be more serious in protecting our wildlife. Recently it was widely reported in the major local newspapers that our soldiers had caught a pied hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and eaten it. The photo of the slaughtered bird was put up in face book and only then the world came to know about this cruel act. The most well known poaching area in Malaysia is around the Thai/Malaysia border in particular the Belum forest.

The act of these soldiers can be summed up in the old Malay proverb "harap pagar, pagar makan padi". (Translation Trust the fence the fence start eating up the rice!) Hornbill is an important partner which spreads out the seeds it consumes, thus a necessity in our natural eco-cycle.

Hornbill, Sumatran rhinoceros, orang-utans, Malayan tigers and clouded leopards, are fighting a losing battle for their existence.

When the Wildlife Act was passed, a lot of hope was expressed in that it will protect wild life and address the poaching issue. Some how it looks like much still needs to be done by the authorities to overcome poaching which is wide spread.

Authorities say an illegal animal sale is second only to narcotics among all illegal trades, with wildlife smuggling being worth between 10 billion US dollars and 20 billion US dollars a year. So there is a lot of money to be made and we need much effort to overcome the issue of poaching.

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)The Rome statute came into being on 17.7.1998. The ICC started functioning from the 1.7.2002. The court's primary jurisdiction is to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Over 114 countries have become members of the ICC.

The Attorney General at the Regional Consultation meet which took place in Parliament on the 9th and 10 th March had a list of baseless and unfounded reasons to object in Malaysia subscribing to the Rome statute of ICC. Malaysia reluctance is totally unacceptable. The earlier we become a member, the better it will be for our image as a country which adheres to the rule of law worldwide.

* M. Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh Barat



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