Hall-Mark-Scam and its effect
The Hall-Mark-Scam has become a matter of great concern as well as a threat to our banking sector. All regimes have totally failed to efficiently operate the state-owned banks. When state-owned banks were converted to public limited companies, the government introduced the Banks and Financial Institution Department under the Ministry of Finance to control them. So there exists government pressure on these institutions that affect the promotion procedure of top level management and manipulation of loan sanctions. A banker should investigate an individual's loan payment capacity, business activities, nature of the industries, and above all, his characteristics, when making a decision to sanction loans. Is that what happened in the case of Sonali Bank? I doubt it. On the other hand, Tanvir Mahmud, managing director of Hallmark Group, is a cunning person who knows how to grab a huge amount of money from a state-owned bank exploiting its limitations. But it raises an important question: is he the only person who can exploit the system?
This latest controversy has had a negative impact on Sonali Bank customers, our banking sector and our economy. It is high time that the government takes proper steps to control such embezzlement as well as take steps to operate the banking activities more efficiently. One solution may be to give 100 percent controlling power to Bangladesh Bank to operate these banks; another solution might be to surrender nationalised commercial banks to the private sector. If proper steps are not taken, people's trust in banks will diminish considerably.
MBA (AIS), RU
I have always found the Star's take on political, economic and social issues open minded, critical and insightful. So it was with some dismay that I found last week's special feature “Grameen Bank at the Bureaucratic Altar” was following the pro-Yunus stance that The Daily Star seems to always adopt. I do not think he is a “bloodsucker of the poor”, but I do think that if the courts found it illegal for him to hold the position of managing director after the age of 60, surely there is more to this story than the government just wanting to intimidate and harass a famous and popular Bangladeshi? He was a public servant and his idea for a “bank for the poor” was the product of government support - Grameen would not be what it is today without both Yunus and the help he got from the Government. That all aside, why are we not focusing on the future of Grameen?
Hatred Begets Hatred
I understand the complex history of US imperialism in the Middle East and much of the Muslim world, but I don't think there is any excuse or real justification for the latest surge of unrests in Dhaka city. Do the protesters really think fuelling such hatred and setting cars on fire is a constructive way of critiquing or challenging US hegemony? They are not coming from a critical place at all, and are spewing bigotry and extremist views, like typical fundamentalists. They are further perpetuating the misconception that Muslims are violent and intolerant through their irrational activities. Furthermore, they are fostering anti-Semitic and anti-Christian views, which ends up further creating divides between the people of this world. I tried to sympathise with the anti-US sentiments in the Middle East in the beginning, but what it is happening there as well as here has now escalated to such extreme levels that I can no longer even offer excuses for their behaviour. It's one thing loving our Prophet PBUH and our religion; it is completely another thing to break cars and injure people to protect our religion's “integrity”!
You Bet they Can
I was very pleased to read the article: "Even girls can do Math". It expressed very simply the stereotypes our girls and women face when it comes to science subjects. They are often discouraged at a very early age to explore these subjects and this takes away their confidence in these subjects. But the truth is that given the opportunity, education and most of all encouragement, girls can excel in any subject whether it is science or arts.
It was wonderful, therefore to know about these gold medallists who have managed to ignore the stereotypes and follow their dreams. I commend the writer for sharing this story with us and also for being such an ardent mathematician.
Zebunnessa S Khan
A child-friendly Parliament
I am very pleased that the Star has published an article on children being allowed in the parliament. I welcome our present government for taking this move and consider this a great step towards a more democratic and accountable system. This decision can have two positive results. To begin with, the parliament members will be forced to reconsider their use of obscene words during cutthroat debates. On the other hand, children can easily learn about the parliamentary process in our country and benefit from it. How else will they be able to build a bright future for this country?
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