Fire victims’ plight highlighted

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 04 Sep 2004

UTUSAN Malaysia highlighted the plight of the family of seven-year-old Mohd Sukri Mohd Sapiri who survived while his brother died in a fire that engulfed their makeshift home in Johor Baru on Wednesday. 

The daily asked why was it that no one, including the elected representatives and Government, had taken note of the family’s living condition. 

“Doesn’t the MP know? Did the Government not see? Or did the family not qualify for aid?” asked Awang Selamat in his column. 

Since the fire that took the life of Mohd Sukri’s four-year-old brother, Mohd Noor Azmi, the family has attracted sympathy from the public who have come forward or pledged to give aid. 

Mohd Sukri told the paper he really wanted to go to school but could not as his father was too poor. 

Mohd Noor Azmi was burnt to death in the hut which their father, Mohd Sapiri Mat Ali, 40, had built next to a shophouse in Taman Perling. 

Mohd Sukri, who escaped the fire, could not help his brother. 

The family’s income was derived from collecting cardboard boxes and used items at a shopping complex to be sold for money. 

Mohd Sapiri said he had lit a mosquito coil, something he never did before, so that his sons could sleep soundly. 

Berita Harian reported that gender discrimination was an outdated practice as qualification does not depend on a person’s name having a “bin” or “binti.” 

The article carried the views of criminal analyst Kamal Affandi Hashim, Umno Youth public complaints bureau head Datuk Subahan Kamal and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer Hamidah Ab Rahman. 

It said what should be evaluated was a person’s ability and skill to carry out responsibilities. 

It said an organisation needed people who really qualified for the job regardless of their sex. 

The challenge faced by women was obvious in the country where female students performed better then male students, it said. 

“Two years ago, we were shocked to learn that the entry of female students in universities was higher than males in a 60:40 ratio, with some universities registering 70% female students,” the article said. 

“The question is whether men, known for their egoistic attitude and stereotyping women, are ready to accept the presence of higher qualified women,” it said. 

Kamal Affandi said it was unfair for a highly a qualified person to be denied of her rights just because she was a woman. 

Subahan felt that if a woman was given a high position, she would carry it out well, citing International Trade and Industries Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz as an example. 

“To base a person’s capability on gender is an outdated practise, a medieval practise no longer used in today’s world,” he said. 

Hamidah said selection based in qualification now was more favourable towards women.  

For example, the intake of new lecturers in UTM showed more female than male candidates filling the vacancies because they were better qualified, she added. 

l China Press reported that Ipoh farmer Tan Kok Thai’s ability to “attract” rocks, metal, plastic and rubber items to his body attracted a Japanese television station to film a special programme about him. 

Tan chose to display the amazing feats before the TV crew in front of pomelo stalls and the famous Sam Poh Tong caves as he wanted to promote places of interest in Ipoh. 

The daily also reported Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu as encouraging local contractors to venture outside the country for business opportunities in view of globalisation.  

He said most major local projects were nearing completion, with only about 10% to15% of works left to be done. 

Samy Vellu revealed that 25 contractors had successfully bid for contracts overseas. 

Nanyang Siang Pau reported that the Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Association of Malaysia was offering cash rewards to those with information on the smuggling of frozen meat into the country. 

The association said the move was taken to protect the country’s livestock industry and those with information could call 03- 56331779/ 56336955. 

Sin Chew Daily reported that Muslim policewomen must wear the headscarf starting from Aug 28. 

It quoted a statement from Bukit Aman as saying the move was to enhance the police’s image. 

“Non-Muslims are however not forced to do so,” the statement added. 

·MIC has reminded the younger Indian generation to practise their culture, arts, religion and mother tongue or lose their identity. 

Tamil Nesan reported Malacca MIC chief Datuk R. Raghavan as saying that the community had to organise more cultural and religious programmes for the young to experience and understand certain ceremonies. 

He said opportunities should also be given to the youngsters to participate in the programmes as they usually did not take part in them. 

Raghavan said this during a religious event at Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple in Ladang Jasin Lalang recently. 

The daily reported Perak MIC chief Datuk G. Rajoo as saying that 30% of those who had obtained the micro credit loan from the party failed to repay them. 

He advised the borrowers to make efforts to repay their loans to enable the party to help others. 

He said MIC and the Perak Petty Traders Association had helped 732 businessmen to obtain RM6.3mil in loans created by the Government to help the small businessmen. 

Rajoo said several businessmen who had qualified for the loans were affected due to the non-payment of the defaulters. 

He was speaking at an event at Sri Darma Muniswarar Maduraiveeran Temple in Simpang Pulai near Ipoh.  

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