VARIOUS relief initiatives have been launched to ease the burden of groups impacted by Covid-19 and the Movement Control Order (MCO).
One such initiative is the #FrontlinersFirst project by Projek Wawasan Rakyat (POWR) that support the Health Ministry (MoH) staff with urgent childcare requirements.
Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) president and POWR coordinator Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said there are very few alternatives in childcare services as it must be licensed.
“At the same time, these groups also run the risk of exacerbating the spread of Covid-19,” he said in a statement recently.
According to him, POWR aims to raise funds to support at least 50% of the childcare costs, collaborating with childcare service platform KiddoCare who are reducing their rates for MoH frontliners.
“There may also, as of yet, still be insufficient measures in place to ensure the livelihoods of small-time traders whose businesses will be nearly shut down completely by the MCO.
“Many such Malaysians depends on extremely small incomes, and will not have the financial means necessary to provide for their families over a long period of business shutdowns,” he added.
As such, he called for the government to redirect resources from political leaders to frontliners and vulnerable groups including low-income earners, the elderly, the homeless, migrant workers, and refugees.
Muhammad Faisal suggested that the government could emulate the move undertaken by the Singapore government where its ministers and holders of political office will be taking pay cuts while giving bonuses to government servants in the front lines combating the virus.
“The latest Cabinet is significantly larger than the previous ones, and the additional salaries for ministers, deputy ministers, political secretaries and all the various attendant staff are all extremely high.
“Thus, sufficient measures must be taken immediately as Malaysian frontliners are facing massive burdens,” he added.
Meanwhile, prominent food bank The Lost Food Project (TLFP) GM Mohd Syazwan Mokhtar said that although TLFP is still operating its food distribution services, they are in middle of looking at ways to continue providing sustenance to its most critical charities due to the Covid- 19 crisis.
“Although ‘feeding the hungry, not the landfill’ is our mantra, we look at this critical time to focus on providing food for the needy first particularly when food source becomes scarce, especially for the B40 group,” Mohd Syazwan said in a statement last Friday.
He mentioned that TLFP is looking at ways to collaborate with food delivery service to provide cooked meals to some of its charities.
“A platform will also be launched soon to allow people to contribute as these meals will incur some cost for preparation,” he said.
Mohd Syazwan stressed that all of the efforts will be conducted within the MCO guidelines and TLFP is tailoring its operational procedures to suit health and safety standards during this time.
“Beyond this crisis, TLFP is determined to continue and grow our operations, work with more partners and stakeholders to ensure that we are able to provide to more underprivileged communities,” he added.
Separately, MoH DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) is encouraging the spirit of helping among Malaysians when he tweeted that the nation should protect the elderly and those with medical conditions.
“Help them so as they don’t need to leave home and teach them to protect themselves,” he said on his Twitter account last Friday. Sources: The Malaysian Reserve.
Published 21 May 2020, 9:44 am
COMMENT | On May 14, the US Senate passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. The bill now goes to the US House of Representatives and then to the desk of the president to be signed into law.
This is a milestone for us as Uyghurs. We have spent years struggling to have our voices heard. Since 2017, the Chinese government's brutal campaign of mass internment, imprisonment, and coerced labour has brought the continued existence of the Uyghurs into question.
The legislation endorses targeted sanctions on culpable Chinese government officials and creates a mandate for reports on human rights abuses in the Uyghur region and on Chinese government harassment of Uyghurs living inside the US. Uyghurs have a pathway to bring to account our persecutors.
It is now time for other countries to embark on similar actions and Muslim-majority countries must break their silence on Chinese state repression of Uyghurs. Malaysia can take the lead.
Malaysia has witnessed a growing outspokenness on the Uyghur crisis. Late last year, the Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim) urged the Chinese government to stop “playing with political propaganda” inside Malaysia about conditions for Uyghurs, adding the abuses are well documented.
Furthermore, the Malaysian government appointed the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation to investigate reports of Chinese government repression in the Uyghur region.
As the executive director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, an organisation dedicated to documenting rights abuses targeting Uyghurs and advocating for change, I welcome these developments in Malaysia.
Uyghurs understand that states like Malaysia must deal with China. We also believe that states like Malaysia can take a lead in advocating for justice and freedom from persecution.
Often when discussing China, observers claim some governments bury their values for the sake of economic promises. Malaysia can demonstrate that values can be at the forefront of relations with China and maintain national interest.
The Uyghur people are in an existential fight for their ethno-religious identity. An academic has estimated that up to 1.8 million Uyghurs may have been interned in camps since 2017.
The reports of a system that is diversifying its repression are shocking. One notes how in 2017 alone prison sentences increased 10 times than in the previous year.
Another describes how: “Nearly a half million children have been separated from their families and placed in boarding schools.” Camp survivors give accounts of indoctrination designed to curb Uyghurs’ religious beliefs and language, cornerstones of their distinctiveness.
Malaysian civil society has made its feelings known about the Uyghur crisis. In addition to Abim, others have spoken out. The Malaysian Bar Council has pointed out the repression facing Uyghurs in China. Tenaganita called for “protection and compassion” for Uyghurs, saying that they “are now one of the most persecuted groups in the world.”
There have been calls from the top Islamic jurist in Perlis and Malaysian intellectuals for more pressure to be exerted on China and to resist Beijing’s disinformation in Malaysia about the Uyghur crisis.
There are small signs the Malaysian government is losing patience. Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed said his former administration would not extradite Uyghurs seeking asylum in Malaysia on the grounds that they are not “fairly protected” in China.
Malaysia has a record of guaranteeing Uyghurs’ safety. In October 2018, Malaysia released 11 Uyghur refugees to Turkey, after dropping immigration-related charges. Mahathir commented: “They have done nothing wrong in this country, so they are released.”
All these actions have been undertaken because Malaysians believe in freedom and justice. These are values Malaysians are willing to defend. The people of Malaysia know what is at stake.
To speak out on the Uyghur crisis is to push back against the imposition of Chinese Communist Party values that Chinese diplomats, media, and political leaders are aggressively promoting across the globe.
What the Chinese party-state is proposing is authoritarianism that offers a narrow definition on freedom of religion, speech and privacy. Any real or perceived opponent is suppressed extrajudicially or in the biased criminal system.
Malaysia can make a difference and not just in its bilateral relations with China. It is an influential player among Muslim-majority states and in Southeast Asia. Its voice carries weight in multilateral organisations.
Already there are signs of concern about the intense repressive turn in the Uyghur region among Muslim-majority states. Whether it is protestors in Indonesia and Turkey, members of Parliament in Kuwait, or Bahrain’s Council of Representatives, leadership on the Uyghur crisis from Muslim states will make an impact on how China treats Uyghurs.
Image is everything in Beijing as it embarks on policies of global influence. Malaysia’s direction and reminders to China that the values of justice and freedom cannot be conveniently put aside in this pursuit is part of the solution to ending the Uyghur nightmare.
It is time for Malaysia, Muslim-majority states, and free nations across the globe to put in place legislative protections for the Uyghur people.
OMER KANAT is executive director of Uyghur Human Rights Project.
KAJANG: A group of young Muslims led by Abim, the Muslim youth movement, organised a silent protest tonight outside a convention centre where a “Beautiful Xinjang” cultural show was being held, to show support for the Uighur minority there.
Abim vice-president Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsudin urged the government to speak out consistently against the injustices committed against the ethnic Uighur minority in Xinjang province. He said Abim also urged all Malaysians to boycott events organised by the Chinese government.
The protest was held at the Bangi Avenue Convention Centre here, tightly guarded by police.
Also present were representatives of PAS, the Global Peace Mission and the Muslims for Uighur organisation.
The Chinese government has been accused of oppressing the Uighur ethnic minority in Xinjiang, who are Muslim, and of forcing them into vocational training camps for “political education”. The special rapporteur of the United Nations has said that as many as a million or 7% of Muslims in Xinjiang are been sent to the camp.
Nazir Hilmi, leader of PAS Youth in Bangi, said thousands would hold large-scale protest demonstrations against the Xinjang cultural shows if it was held across the country.
He urged the government to make clear that it did not agree with the Chinese action against the Uighur. Although the government wished to maintain good relations with China, that did not mean the government should not take a stand on the treatment of the Uighur.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and People’s Vision Project (PoWR) today launched a special fund to facilitate journalists in carrying out their duties during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The project aimed at raising donations to cover the cost of certain items such as face masks, disinfectant and other necessities to be given free of charge to journalists.
“The project is a sign of solidarity among Malaysians to appreciate the sacrifice of journalists on duty who face uncertain risks in order to provide fast and accurate reports to the people.
“The struggles of journalists should not be overlooked especially in ensuring that they are always healthy and safe while carrying out their duties,” said the organisations in a joint statement here today.
It said individuals and organisations wanting to help could channel their contributions to the Public Bank account number 3077428903 (National Union of Journalists Malaya). — Bernama