Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UAE Jobs - Emiratis vs Expats

It is something not unexpected. During the current downturn, job losses have affected almost, yes, almost everyone in the UAE. The Emiratis or local Arabs are not spared with the recent retrenchment of 20 Emiratis from a local giant company, Al Futtaim.

There is a report on unemployment rate among Gulf nationals is likely to rise this year as the economic downturn limits job creation in the private and public sectors.

With the rising number of new entrants to the region’s labour force, reflecting the youthful profile of the population, evidently the greatest responsibility for providing new job opportunities rests with the private sector..
According to data compiled, nationals working in the public sector in the GCC accounted for almost 58 percent of all nationals employed in 2007.

Redundant Emiratis plan to sue former employer

A group of 20 Emiratis who were made redundant are considering filing a lawsuit for compensation against their former employer, if the Ministry of Labour fails to resolve the issue, it was reported on Wednesday.
Last week the group filed a complaint against their former employers, the Al Futtaim Group, with the ministry for "arbitrary termination" over their dismissal.

The Al Futtaim Group said it had made the 20 Emiratis redundant due "to the restructuring of the company in the light of the current global financial crisis".

The unemployed group has now revealed that it is in talks with lawyers over claiming compensation, according to UAE daily Gulf News.

Ahmad Al Naqbi, one of the Emiratis, who lost his job said: "We will file a case to demand compensation for the arbitrary termination, in addition to compensation for moral and psychological damages, but we will wait until the ministry gives us a formal response to our case before we go ahead with the case," said Al Naqbi.

The case prompted Dubai's police chief to threaten to boycott private companies that made nationals redundant - using the global economic crisis as an excuse.

It also coincided with news that the National Human Resource Development and Employment Authority (Tanmia) had drawn up draft laws banning private companies from terminating the employment contracts of local workers.

The Ministry of Labour is currently considering the proposals that state any company proposing to make Emiratis redundant would have to get the decision signed off by the ministry first.

Such a move would only be sanctioned if the company could prove it had made all possible efforts to keep the national in a job, accoridng to the draft proposals .

There is one interesting comment from an Emirate on the issue, more comments here:

I am a local and i love my country. For all the other emiraties i would like to say is that if majority of the people are arguing about something then there must be a shred of truth somewhere. I as a young child studied abroad and worked on my own and have learnt alot from the people and the place.
I would have to agree with most expats that they are grateful but on the other hand i also agree that most of our people are complaining because most of us have an ego issue. I believe if one person can do a job then so can we. We should prove ourselves to others then we can gain their respect.
The sad part of most of our mentality is that we believe we are better which really shouldnt be the case. Work hard and work with everyone side by side and see how people start respecting you and enjoy your work and company!
Lastly we shouldnt make such a big racket about anything unless we know for sure thats the right thing. If we are being hired then we can also be fired. If it was done the wrong way then you can say it out loud but please dont bend the system people will not appreciate it. Change is always good!

YB Elizabeth Wong's Nude Photos - Where's Helmi?

Rumours say he is an UMNO man...he he he

Now, where's Hilmi?
18 February 2009

Police are looking for Hilmi Malek, 32, for questioning in connection with the Elizabeth Wong nude photograph imbroglio. Full Story

Yusuf Islam and Me – Part 1

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

There are songs that stuck in our mind. One of those songs, “Morning Has Broken’ had a deep impact on me from the first time I heard it years ago, when I was a young innocent kampong boy. I did not know the singer then but I liked the melody except I did not really understand the lyrics.

The song is me...I am a morning person, always.

I was always the first one to reach the mosque for subuh prayer when my father was away. The first pupil to reach school even the sun was yet to rise.

Those morning walks along the dark and empty Jalan kampong Lang few kms to the mosque, and through the thick bush to school was somehow a way to conquer fear of darkness and unknown or surprises….during that period of time, the haunting myth of penyabit kepala man was kampung’s main past-time gossips…not that I was not scared.

I just took my chances and the penyabit never appeared to ambush and chop my head away. (Years later…I dared to take my chances by walking alone in the dark alleys of notorious places such as LA, Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, Melbourne, Frankfurt, New Orleans, Honolulu, London, Dublin, Glasgow etc and few times...encountered those things you see on Hollywood films)

I had never dreamed to meet and work together with the world renowned singer of “Morning Has Broken” as well as the face of moderate Muslim. Never! Even though during my TV3 years, I had ample opportunities to meet or to know some well-known artistes. No, thank you.

Then again, the most cherished moment was to be on the same stage with M.Nasir in one of the TV3’s 'entertainment' programmes. That was the first time I appeared on TV along with well-known and glamour personalities to recite my poem (well, I had to write a last minute one when my boss. Datuk Khalid Ahmad, then TV3’s MD took my prepared and rehearsed one….)

My encounter with Yusuf Islam was something out of ordinary. It was rezeki. Even not a dream came true as I never really dreamed about it. It just one of those things that people say – “God works in mysterious ways”

Yusuf was in London, I was in Dubai and we met out of love for Islam.

To be continued...

Malaysians, do we have answers for these questions? Malaysiakini

It is true, when Malaysians are overseas, they are less susceptible to racism and feel proud to be Malaysians irrespectives of creed, race and (some times) political inclinations. We are Malaysians, full stop.

When you see Malaysian from outside of our own tempurung, we can differentiate the myth and reality, the propaganda and lies. We are humans and Islam never differentiates people on their skin colours etc.

Yes, like other Malay kampung boys, I was brought up under the United Malays National Organisation brainwashed idealisme and ketuanan propaganda. I had my other than Malay friends and we were colour blind and very close. Then during the growing years, politics and racism became part of life....we are suspicious to each other because of our differences!

The diversity should be the strength and pillar of Malaysia in this 21st century. Obama can, so can we? Mana Malaysia boleh? Just for gimmicks and money wasted efforts like dropping Proton on the north pole?

Tu UMNO/MCA/MIC etc racist bigots, move on please or be obsolete.

Questions and answers for Malaysians
WE WORRY for this beloved country of ours. We worry for its future. We worry that political rhetoric is putting the country in jeopardy. We worry that the vitriol spewed by politicians and wannabes have reached a point of no return. We really worry that things may turn ugly. Like most law-abiding Malaysians, we worry that the resources, time, money and effort which is supposed to be used in nation-building is being used to further the political ambitions of a handful.
We don’t have a crystal ball to look into the future. We are no soothsayers or doomsayers. We are just citizens whose minds go on over-drive each time we see the images on television; read reports in the newspapers or the Net. Why are people dropping the race card each time they want to get a point across? Why should the colour of the skin be an issue when the law is broken? Why should it matter if the offender is white, black, brown or yellow? After all, the law treats everyone equally irrespective of race, colour, religion or creed, right?

There are many out there baying for blood. Have we adopted an "eye-for-an-eye" policy disregarding the written laws that rule this country? Even finding jobs for the retrenched and unemployed has taken a racial connotation. Didn’t we in the past, repeatedly tell the whole world that we are a model nation where different races live in harmony? Haven’t we boasted about our ability to share the wealth and correct imbalances? Why then are we allowing a select few to destroy what we and our forefathers have built over the years?

Is this "open house" concept which we all hold during festive seasons just a show? Are we "putting on" smiles when greeting each other while our hearts are filled with hatred? Are we all acting as if we are all after the coveted Oscar? Have we all lost our bearings and our ultimate goal has been changed to power which can translate to money?

Where did we go wrong? Didn’t we stand united when Tunku Abdul Rahman and his coterie of like-minded souls from various ethnic backgrounds stood up to the British and demanded for our right to rule this country ourselves? Why then are we getting embroiled in petty issues of race and colour? Why are we diverting our thoughts and making police reports on the medium of instruction in schools?
Has a crime been committed by our policymakers to warrant such an action? Didn’t we elect the government which makes policy decisions for the betterment of ALL Malaysians? Everyone has a right to disagree but there is a right forum for such disagreements to be debated in a civil manner without resorting to name-calling, threats and demands to "balik negara asal"?

Why are certain sectors of our leaders provoking the people? And don’t the people realise that they are being made use of? Stopping VIP motorcades with coloured headbands is not heroism – it’s a sad state that we have forgotten our very own core values which we have been brought up to practise and treasure. Is power all that important that we can dispense with our culture and tradition?

Can’t we accept the fact that each of us can differ in opinion and yet agree to disagree? What’s wrong with offering a view on issues? If you have to disagree, then use the right forum instead of reading between lines and innuendo to interpret such a view. These are basics.

Has our education system changed so much that the "new" generation has been taught to convert their disagreement into anger and violence? Can’t we, the right-thinking majority, have our say without being shouted down by those who claim to be mighty and powerful? We will not have unpopular policies shuffled down our throats and if we have to express our feelings, there’s always a forum which would be accorded at the right time. Why then all the noise and threats?
Was Dr Mani Jegathesan running for the Indian race in the Olympics? Was Lee Chong Wei playing for the Penang Chinese? Is Shalin Zulkifli now competing in the United States for Malaysia or is she proving Malays can compete internationally? We don our national colours, not the colour of our skins by which we are classified by some quarters.
Dear readers, you may want to say that I have an advantage in the form of a permanent forum, this column, to articulate my views and express my disappointment over certain issues. I don’t deny that. Not many are given such an opportunity. But having had this advantage, you would be the first to stop reading if I ever misuse the privilege accorded to me. Yes, we all have our own platform to deliver our messages – at meetings of organisations or political parties which we belong to. These messages can be carried to the nation’s leaders who will then assess, consider, dissect and deliberate on them. The bottom line is that all of us can’t have it our way.

Therefore, in these circumstances, why can’t we use our own avenues to get our point across? Why do we have to resort to working up the people and using crass language to get the message across? Can’t we be civil in our mode of communication?

We dare say, all the senior leadership of political parties know the race card is an absolutely unmitigated wrong! Speak up, for goodness’ sake and for the sake of all Malaysians. Honour the founders of our political system, the founders of our nation. Besides the politicians, bureaucrats and those responsible for the implementation of policies cannot escape accountability. There could be many reasons why many of you couldn’t thwart what is happening but now you see the results.
Stand up and speak out against this racial hooliganism. Decent people, please tell your children, your relatives, friends, neighbours, the fish monger, the supermarket counter girl and the waitress at the pub how you abhor racists. Enough is enough! Tell everyone. Let the whole world know that you treat racism with utter contempt.

Dear readers, speaking as a true-blooded Malaysian, I worry because if we allow these people to trod all over us, there will no longer be voices of reason. People who act and behave moderately will be over-shadowed by those with extremist views. That, ultimately, will be the beginning of the end.
R. Nadeswaran hopes like-minded Malaysians will stand up and speak up against bigots and racists. He is editor (special and investigative reporting) at theSun. He can be reached at: