Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wayang Kulit” in Grander 1Malaysia style

HRP, Naragan,
 
The following is a summary of a report on a so-called roundtable conference on the future of Tamil Schools from the FMT website on the 27th of June 2011. The report starts with a grand: “In a historic roundtable conference, BN and Pakatan leaders joined hands to chart the future of Tamil schools.” The stated purpose: “discussions were held to set up a steering committee to chart a blueprint for the future of Tamil schools in the country.” 
Present at the conference were SK Devamany, M Saravanan, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, Kulasegaran, P Ramasamy, M Manoharan , S Manikavasagam, Charles Santiago , R Sivarasah , Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, A Sivaneson, P Guna, Daljit Singh Dalliwal and S Ramakrishnan.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, 
chaired the conference. It is learnt that the steering committee would be made up of 18, there would be six members from BN, six from Pakatan and the rest from Tamil Foundation and other NGOs.
Now look at the report like this.
This is the making of a “Wayang Kulit” in grander 1Malaysia style. This amounts to the politicans fine tuning their approaches. Before only the MIC used to engage in this sort of deceptive wayang kulit. Now, in the last 3 years the Pakatan Indian reps have begun to play the same game – you see this regularly in mock cheques and computers given away in the Tamil newspapers. Yesterday 
both these groups have taken this wayang kulit thing one stage further – in 1Malaysia style and these two groups are getting together for a joint wayang. This is 1Malaysia after all isn’t it. History suggests that this is what is happening. If I am wrong, then they have to show that I am wrong now. And further as if to legitimize this wayang , they pull in a few Indian NGO reps to give it an appearance of a non-partisan effort.
For 54 years the UMNO regime has been using their accomplice MIC in the grand game of deceit of the Indian people. The Malay elite harbour an implicit desire to kill off the vernacular schools, but are blocked by the provisions in the Federal Constitution. To circumvent this, they adopt – and this is unstated private but explicit policy, an ambivalent attitude in public and a clear non-allocation of resources in private. They have been doing this with full collusion of the MIC accomplices.
.Article 12 reads:
Rights in respect of education
12. (1) Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth—
(a) in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority, and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees;
or
(b) in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of
pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside the Federation). This is their way of killing off a part of the education system continued from the colonial times and which was institutionalized in the Federal Constitution.
Here is the reality. 
The amounts spent annually on education is about 20% of a RM210 billion budget – works out to about RM 40 billion. The expenditure for just the MARA education system, not to mention everything else that occurs in the education arena, just this one – 42 MRSMs with a student population of 12,400 , with each such school costing anywhere from RM 50 -120 million to construct, 209 Giat MARA schools with a budgetary allocation of RM550 million in just the 10th Malaysia plan period alone, Institute Kemahiran MARA which has put out over 200,000 Malay students, MARA UiTM University with 4 satellite campuses, 12 branch campuses, 9 city campuses and 19 affiliated colleges with an enrollment of 120,000 students and 15,000 staff, and all the other MARA schemes for the last 54 years. How much do you think the expenditure on all of that may be. No clear stats are available for me to quote accurately. But I think easily that would be 30 to 50% of the RM40 billion annually.
If all of that was for 60 odd percent of the majority community of the country, how much should have been allocated to the Indians who constitute 7.4% of the population this year, given the provision in the Federal Constitution Article 12 – on equal treatment . Of course this statistics again is not available. You and I can venture guesses. My guess is that it is less than 0.1 % of all of this RM40 billion. Even the stated amounts of RM 100 million for each of the last 3 years – statement by Devamoney in this conference (which amount I think is just eyewash anyway – but this is what he stated) works out to a bare 0.25%. Like with all their allocation pronouncements for the Indian community, this is most likely a significant exaggeration.
See how serious the problem really is. A community starved of their rightful allocations for at least two generations. This has gone on unchecked for 54 years, just because of this kind of complicity and deception. It is this problem that these reps must really correct. They must get their fundamentals right first.
In light of this seriousness of the problem it is extremely frivolous on the part of these lawmakers to continue with this wayang nonsense – they want to set up a steering committee now, and for what – to do a blueprint – what nonsense. If they are really working for the good of the Indian community, they should all get together now and go to their tuans and towkays and ask for the rightful allocations, now!
We do not need another generation to lose out on something so fundamental as education. See the deleterious effects of this policy in just one aspect of the result– the increasing number of criminals among Indian youth, one in two youths that are in prison are Indians. These reps need to see what they are really dealing with.
If they do indeed represent the Indian people as they all project themselves to , then they have to start becoming effective in whatever they are doing. Without a doubt in my mind this is what they must all do, they should all get together now and go to their tuans and towkays and ask for the rightful allocations, now!. Otherwise I can only take it that they project themselves as representatives of Indians for no other reason than to make an income out of it for themselves. They are all today powerless because of the choices they all have made.They have chosen to make a personal career and a good income out of the miseries of the Indian poor. 
If these reps are serious they should act where it matters. All the BN run states and the Pakatan run states should immediately and before the next elections alienate 5 acres of land to at least 10% of the schools in the country – about 50 of the schools to establish their bona fide intent. These representatives should show bona fide intention this way first while any blueprint or anything else in the form of a robust plan is drawn up.
If these reps are serious they should start there where they do have some authority, in the States where they are in the Exco lineup of the State. We do not need a blue print to start real activity, if that is the true intention it is only a matter of a will. This is well known, so, what is required now is action. Just allocate the land needed – 5 acres each, instead of doing as P.Ramasamy did a few months ago,when he told the people of Ladang Batu Kawan when they asked him for additional 3 acres of land to make their school a 5 acres school, that they and whoever was speaking up for them – in this case, Hindraf, should come up with the additional RM 3 million for the land for the school, as land was not cheap in Penang. This is exactly the kind of thing Samy Vellu has been saying all these 50 odd years as he played Tango with UMNO.
If your true intention is to undo a terrible injustice, then start where you must and can – do not mislead with wayangs. Enough of all that nonsense – we are all so sick and tired.
Go back to your PKR, DAP and UMNO tuans and towkays and just say it to them. Get the ball rolling. Do not form anymore committees – we need to see some action. Pakatan reps , understand this, you should have started on this at the beginning of your respective tenures in 2008 and not at the end of it in 2011. BN reps you should have started all of this 54 years ago. 
Naragan

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hindraf seeking more classified documents to sue Britain

Hindraf's lawyers in London say they need more documents on the colonial period in Malaysia to refile their suit against the British government
 
By Athi Sankar - FMT
GEORGE TOWN: Hindraf Makkal Sakti is set to refile its suit against the British government by the end of he year.

Hindraf chairman, P Waytha Moorthy, originally filed a class action suit on Aug 31, 2007, the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence, against the United Kingdom London courts for US$4 trillion.

The suit was filed prior to Nov 25 historic Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur, to demand compensation for Indian Malaysians whose ancestors were brought in by the colonial government as indentured labour.

It claimed that, after granting independence to Malaya, the British had left the Indians without representation and at the mercy of the majority Malays.

However, the suit was stalled following the Malaysian government’s clampdown on Hindraf and arrest of several lawyers, including the movement legal adviser and Waytha Moorthy’s brother Uthayakumar under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).

Hindraf’s lawyers in London say that to refile the suit they need relevant documents which is kept by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

The lawyers have made a second request to the FCO to facilitate its impending million pounds suit against the former colonial master.

The movement’s legal counsel in London, Imran Khan (pix below) has made the second request on May 25 this year after the Hindraf’s first request on Jan 6 this year was refused by FCO.

The second request is made to seek access to all documents and information held or that which is within the knowledge of the FCO as well as any material held by any other governmental departments which have had access/dealings with Malaya between 1945 and 1957.

“In the event that the FCO refuses to provide us with the documents, we will then exhaust all internal review procedures to have access to the disclosure of these materials and documents.

“If this too failed, we will pursue other avenues such as a judicial review to force the FCO to release the documents necessary for the claim,” said solicitors Imran Khan & Partners in a statement to FMT.

More documents available


The statement said the FCO has turned down Hindraf’s first request citing that domestic records of colonial administrations did not form part of British official records and they were kept by the individual states created at independence.

It has now come to Hindraf’s knowledge that there were more classified documents held in undisclosed locations by the British government, as stated by Lord David Howell, Minister of State for FCO in the recent “Mau Mau uprising” case in London.

Lord Howell has also said that it was the general practice for the colonial administration to transfer to the United Kingdom, in accordance with Colonial Office instructions shortly before independence, selected documents held by the governor.

Lord Howell has said that these documents were deemed not appropriate to hand on to the successor governments.

FCO is said to hold about 8,800 files from 37 former British administrations, including Aden, Brunei, Cyprus, Fiji, Gambia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaya, Malta, Mauritius, Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia, Palestine, Sarawak, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, and Uganda.

The UK legal firm said it was first instructed by Waytha Moorthy in 2009 to look at the prospects of re-filing a legal action in the English courts for reparation against the UK government for failing to protect the legitimate interests of the minority ethnic Indian group under the Malaysian Federation Constitution when it was drafted in 1957.

Independently, Waytha Moorthy and a small team of volunteers of their own volition have unearthed nearly 35,000 “declassified” documents from various independent sources.

Hindraf’s solicitors were seeking more classified documents because the documents on hand clearly showed a huge lacuna (gap) in the information leading to Malaya’s independence.

Hindraf claimed that the Reid Commission was partly to blame for the government’s discriminatory policies as the commission did not provide for constitutional protection to the Indian community.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bersih Rally- Letter to International Organisations to make representation to Malaysian Government.


William J.Burns
The Under Secretary for Political Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520


Rt.Hon.  William Hague MP
Foreign Secretary
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London.
SW1A 2AH


Ms Heidi Hautala
Chair of the Human Rights Sub Committee
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
Wiertzstraat
B-1047 Brussels


Richard Ottaway MP
House of Commons
Foreign Affairs Committee
4 Millbank
City of London SW1P 3JA


Ms Navanethem Pillay
High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

+41 22 917 9656
civilsociety@ohchr.org

Mr. Githu Muigai
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: racism@ohchr.org


Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: urgent-action@ohchr.org


Gay McDougall
Independent Expert on Minority Issues
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland 

Fax: + 41 22 917 9006

Mr. Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: freedex@ohchr.org 



Gabriella Habtom
Human Rights Officer and Secretary of the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Human Rights Treaties Division
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel. +41.22.917.9193 - Fax +41.22.917.90.08
e-mail: ghabtom@ohchr.org / tb-petitions@ohchr.org
Palais Wilson - 52, rue des Pâquis, CH-1201,

Geneva, Switzerland

Frank William La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

UNOG-OHCHR 
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

Tel: +41 22 917 93 32 
Fax: +41 22 917 90 22



 Amnesty International
1 Easton Street
London
WC1X 0DW, UK

Telephone: +44-20-74135500
Fax number: +44-20-79561157
Email: activism@amnesty.org.uk

Human Rights Watch
Address: 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300
email: spiegem@hrw.org


Minority Rights Group International
54 Commercial Street
London E1 6LT, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7422 4200
Fax: +44 (0)20 7422 4201

Email: minority.rights@mrgmail.org

Front Line –
The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Head Office, Second Floor, Grattan House
Temple Road, Blackrock
Co Dublin, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)1 212 3750
Fax: +353 (0)1 212 1001
E-mail: info@frontlinedefenders.org


OSCE Secretariat
Wallnerstrasse 6
1010 Vienna
Austria
Tel: +43 1 514 36 6000
Fax: +43 1 514 36 6996
E-mail: info@osce.org



NAACP
Washington Bureau
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 915
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 463-2940
Fax: (202) 463-2953
Email: washingtonbureau@naacpnet.org


European Union External Action Service
Menara Tan & Tan, Suite 10.01
207 Jalan Tun Razak 

50400 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel.: +6 03 2723 7373
Fax: +6 03 2723 7337

 E-mail: delegation-malaysia@ec.europa.eu

US Embassy Malaysia
Mr Brian D. McFeeters - Political Counselor
376 Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  
Tel No:   (03) 2168-4946,
Fax  No : (03) 2168-5165,
Email : mcfeetersbd@state.gov


Rainbow Push Coalition
National Headquarters
930 East 50th Street
Chicago, IL 60615
Phone: 773-373-3366
Fax: 773-373-3571
Email : info@rainbowpush.org

National Action Network
House of Justice
106 West, 145th Street,
Harlem ,NY 10039
Tel No: (212) 690 3070
Fax No ( 877)-  626  4651
Email : rachel@noerdlingermedia.com

23rd June 2011.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Urgent Request to make Representations to the Government of Malaysia on the possible violence by PERKASA, UMNO sponsored NGO on Human Rights Advocates and the general public on the BERSIH 2.0 public rally for free and fair election in Malaysia on 9th July 2011.

I write to you with the utmost urgency for your attention on the above matter.

BERSIH is a coalition of NGOs’  that  advocate   free and fair elections  and intend to march peacefully  with the public in Malaysia on July 9, 2011 in line with the fundamental rights  contained in the  Malaysian Federal constitution under Article  10.The purpose of the march is to express the collective desire of the malaysian people for a free and fair election in the forthcoming General Election.

PERKASA is a Malaysian NGO and is a tool used by the UMNO led Malaysian government in extending its ugly hands into politically extreme policies topped up by fear inducing methods to ensure that whatever is sacred in the Federal Constitution for the good of the multi-ethnic polity is  compromised through this fear and state sanctioned threats from a seemingly independent organisation -PERKASA..

Malaysiakini, one of the few independent online news  portals reported on June 19th 2011 quoting  PERKASA as saying,  “Imagine, ladies and gentlemen, if the Bersih rally is not called off and they go ahead with it - if they don't cancel it on July 8 or 9 - I believe the Chinese community, many of them, will have to stock up on food at home."Anything can happen on that day”

On 13th of June 2011 Malaysiakini  quoted PERKASA chief as saying said they are ready to "fight to the end" (lawan habis-habisan) to stop the rally if the organisers insist on taking to the streets of Kuala Lumpur on July 9. "(If they proceed) there will be a clash (pertembungan). If that happens, it is for the better," he told a press conference in the Parliament lobby.”

The insinuations above falls short of an orchestrated attempt to riot or to promote some form of violent action by UMNO sponsored PERKASA against the public for their participating in this peaceful march on July 9, 2011 just for free and fair elections.

The fear of the Malaysian community is real and should not be underestimated or downplayed at this crucial moment as state sponsored gangsters PERKASA and its allies PEKIDA (another organization of ex-police and army personnel) & 3 Line ( a known large street gang) blatantly come forward in this aggressive and belligerent manner against what is a natural and legitimate grievance of the people. This march is nothing other than an expression of a collective voice of Malaysians.

The international community whilst accepting Malaysia as a member of the United Nations cannot sit in silence when such threats and fear mongering methods are pursued by fascist elements in the ruling party with the implicit sanction of the UMNO led government.



Your public statement in opposing this tendency of state sponsored violence against its people is of paramount significance as it is a fundamental human rights issue and not just political theatre. The minorities, marginalized and discriminated face these kind of human rights abuse daily through the racist and fascist agenda of the Malaysian government.. 

I write to urge you to make urgent representations to the Malaysian government that the BERSIH rally should be allowed to proceed unhindered and the peaceful protesters be provided protection from any untoward violent reactions by the state sponsored PERKASA, PEKIDA and other fringe elements..

P.Waytha Moorthy
Chair
HINDRAF
+447502289313 (Mobile)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Politicians playing to majoritarian gallery

Let’s cease the pretense that an Indian poor equals a Malay poor or a native poor, says Hindraf/HRP's P Uthayakumar.

COMMENT
By P Uthayakumar

One betrays the cause of the Indian poor when he pretends that for every Indian poor there is a Chinese poor just as badly off. And that a Malay or a Muslim poor is under ‘equal’ duress as the Indian poor. How can they be when for the bumiputera poor the sky is the limit?

Affirmative action is tailored for the Malays who are given ample opportunities in higher education, business and government jobs. This is definitely not the case for the Indian poor.

But why is the average Malaysian in a state of denial? Why does he deliberately sidestep the gravity of Indian problems with the moral equivalency that all the poor are in the same boat or are given the same life jackets?

The poor Chinese have their New Villages. The poor Malay, Orang Asli, Iban, Kadazan, etc, all have thousands of kampungs and ancestral land as their social safety net, which 99 percent of the Indian poor do not have. So let’s cease the pretense that an Indian poor equals a Malay poor or a native poor.

Similarly, many of the Malay poor have been provided with jobs in the state and federal public sector agencies, guaranteeing them a pension and health facilities for life. What have the Indian poor to look forward to?

Who bothered with Indians before?

The Hindraf movement arose to fill the vacuum created by the almost zero takers for the non-politically rewarding Indian problems.

Hindraf fought without fear or favour while PKR, DAP, PAS, PSM, the NGOs and the Indian elite closed one eye to the Indian ‘situation’ that was becoming increasingly dire.

If Indians were not in acute distress, the Hindraf rally would not have erupted.

Before November 2007, the Tamil underclass was ignored. Post March 2008, the political opportunists who rode on our wave of discontent chose to play to the majoritarian, especially the Malay-Muslim, political gallery.

Today when we give voice to the woes of our constituency – the hardcore Indian poor – we are portrayed and castigated as being overbearing and demanding.

Are our ‘demands’ really unreasonable? Hindraf has never asked for higher quotas for scholarships, university seats and other deliverables. We have always demanded for equal rights which are constitutionally ours as enshrined in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.

In fact our motto is ‘Rights not Mercy’.

Some of us are sixth generation Malaysian-born. We too are the sons of this soil as much as any other Malaysian. We – in respect to our indigenousness – are even more entitled to a place in the Malaysian sun than many recent arrivals whose rights we do not question just as we hope they do not question ours.

Indians, our own worst enemies

Fundamentally, Indians are shortchanged by the intellectual dishonesty which elects to dilute and divert away from the pressing and critical Indian poor problems created by especially Umno racism. Championing the Indian poor is unfortunately not fashionable.

When HRP and Hindraf battle against racism specifically targeting the Indian poor, we are – most bafflingly – accused of being racist for maintaining our focus. Yet have you ever even stopped to ponder with some measure of honesty that there would have been no need for HRP and/or Hindraf to exist if the Indian problems had been addressed in the first place.

Pray tell, who among those that are not Indian is willing to make the cause of our community’s poor their mission and to work the ground?

Yet for our necessarily selective focus on a single race, we are accused of racism by the preening and posturing multi-culturists and mono-culturalists who ride their high horses.

Their warped label of ‘racists’ hurled against Hindraf is to be found in no other part of the world except Malaysia.

Going by this perverted definition constantly applied to Hindraf by our detractors, Nelson Mandela would be considered anti-white – a veritable racist for fighting apartheid rule in South Africa because his opponents were of one colour.

And Mahatma Gandhi would also be a damn racist as he fought the white rajah’s rule in India. Why don’t the same people who are so fond of knocking Hindraf similarly insist that Gandhi must be colour-blind and that he cannot be allowed to single out a particular race (i.e. the whites) for moral censure?

Accusing us of fighting the racism that victimizes Indians with our own brand of Hindraf racism is just about the most convenient but lamest excuse used by shallow, unthinking Malaysians.

This particularly applies to the English-speaking groups who love to sound magnanimous. They are usually the Indian elites priding themselves that their best friends are Malay and Chinese, and patting themselves on the back for their liberal credentials because they move in social circles not exclusive to their own kind (i.e. the dark-skinned).

Some of them may profess to have a multi-racial mindset but my own analysis differs, even if they have not attained this self-awareness as yet.

I believe their trapped mentality (of seeking approval and to please others with proof of their apparent broadmindedness) arises out of a minority and inferiority complex. Such a type of personality is the one most prone to denying the real problems Indians face here because of racial discrimination.

Who’s racist? You look in the mirror

For championing this cause of the Indian poor, I was detained for 514 days under the ISA and arrested on 11 other occasions.

I still have the charge of sedition hanging over my head for drawing attention to what has been perceived to be ‘ethnic cleansing’, especially with regard to the Kg Medan tragedy where five Indian poor were murdered and more than 100 suffered grievous bodily harm.

The atrocities committed in Kg Medan were greeted with pin-drop silence from the supposedly all embracing ‘multi-racial’ PKR, DAP, PAS, PSM, NGOs as well as the so-called ‘multi-racial’ Indian elite.
We have closely documented the killings but nobody cares to get to the bottom of this ethnic issue.

For calling the massacre an ‘ethnic cleansing’, I face prosecution for sedition which carries a three-year jail sentence. My case is still in the courts. But I have no regrets as anyone intimate with how Hindraf operates will know that we somehow or other soldier on despite the nasty brickbats and the vicious catcalls.

The allegation that we are a reverse image of Perkasa is simply an expediency to marginalize Hindraf by those who are our harshest critics.

These prefer to fish in the 60 percent Malay-Muslim majoritarian pond because of the tantalizing vote catch. Never mind the Indian poor kena nyaya (get screwed) on a day-to-day basis.

Our paramount interest in HRP and Hindraf is to procure justice and equality, and to uphold human rights. We are for ending Umno rule to achieve these ends but unlike the highly partisan opposition crowd, we’re not willing to give a blank cheque to Pakatan.

One must be able to discern the cause of the Indian poor to know what the Hindraf and HRP struggle is truly about. Either you feel it or you don’t. We cannot open your eyes if you resolutely refuse to see. And what can we do if you hear but refuse to listen?

So we’ll simply say this, quoting a Tamil proverb: ‘If a person cannot help, he should not get in the way of those who are doing something about it’.

P Uthayakumar’s sedition case is fixed for mention on June 24 at the KL Sessions Court pending his appeal at the Court of Appeal to declare the sedition charges against him unconstitutional. This article first appeared at the Centre for Policy Initiatives website.

June 30 For Hindraf Judicial Review

HMSHighCourt
KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 (Bernama) -- The High Court here today fixed June 30 for the judicial review filed by Hindraf Makkal Shakti.

Hindraf sought to set aside the decision not to grant it approval and registration as a non-governmental organisation.

Judge Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim fixed the date after meeting M.Manoharan, counsel for Hindraf secretary P.Ramesh, and Noor Hisham Ismail, senior federal counsel representing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and three others.

Ramesh named Najib, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, the Registrar of Societies of Malaysia and the Federal Territory ROS as respondents.

He also sought a writ of mandamus for the respondents to approve Hindraf's application based on the Federal Constitution and Societies Act within seven days of the court order.

In his supporting affidavit, Ramesh said the application to register Hindraf as an NGO was made on Oct 2009.

It was based on rights of freedom and equality under Article 10(1)(C) and Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.

Noor Hisham told reporters that Najib and Hishammuddin should not have been named as respondents because they were not the decision making parties for the registration.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

HRP launch in PD disrupted by authorities

The police and local council personnel have failed to bring down a canopy set up by the HRP but party leaders expect more harassment before the official launch this evening.

PORT DICKSON: A Human Rights Party (HRP) event in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, was today disrupted when local council officers and the police “raided” the venue and ordered its members to disperse.

However, HRP leader P Uthayakumar said despite the “harassment” by the authorities, the Indian-based party would continue with the event, which is the official launch of HRP’s Teluk Kemang operations centre later this evening.

At about 11am, some 20 police personnel and local council enforcement officers arrived and told the HRP leaders to dismantle their canopy that was being set up at Batu 2 1/2, Jalan Seremban, Port Dickson.

However the HRP members managed to stop the enforcement officers from tearing down their event tents.

Uthayakumar said the authorities have backed out for the time being but were still in the area. He expected the authorities to continue to harass the HRP event during the official launch at 5pm today.

“The police are still here with M16s and some 30 of their plainclothes personnel, saying we don’t have a permit eventhough our Negeri Sembilan HRP chief P Sivakumar applied for it and was rejected without reason.

“Just opposite the road there are food stalls operating without permits,” said Uthayakumar.
He said HRP members told the authorities that they would call off their event if the enforcement personnel took action against at least one illegal food stall operator.

“However, it’s clear that we’re being harassed here. Why? Because we are going to contest in Port Dickson in the coming general election. This is one of our front line seats in the 13th general election. This is our first major presence here.

“And Barisan Nasional is afraid of us… seeing us as a threat to the political equilibrium. BN fears Negeri Sembilan would fall to the opposition,” he said.

Uthayakumar said the yet-to-be-registered HRP has set up GE13 operations centre in Kedah (Lunas), Penang (Prai), Perak (Buntong), Selangor (Kota Raja), and Johor (Tebrau).

“In Perak, we willingly complied when the police stopped our speeches midway and physically stopped our official launch.

“But today, we won’t back down until the launch at 5pm. If they come to stop us, we will not give in because it is our right to assemble peacefully without harm under the Federal Constitution,” said Uthayakumar.

Hindraf: End religious ‘persecution’

Failing which the government faces the risk of the international community applying sanctions against Malaysia, says Waythamoorthy.

PETALING JAYA: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, an NGO in overdrive since late 2007, wants Malaysia to end all forms of religious persecution in the country or incur the wrath of the international community on the issue.

They fear that Malaysia will end up as an “international pariah state and outlaw like some other countries run by rogue regimes”.

The NGO warns that religious persecution is a serious offence under the United Nations Charter, of which Malaysia is a signatory, and under international law. Religion should not be brought into the public sphere, it added, to clobber anyone with it.

“This (religious persecution) has been going on long enough in the country and we want to see an end to it,” said Hindraf chair P Waythamoorthy in a telephone call from political asylum in London.
“Enough is enough. Don’t play politics with religion.”

He was commenting on the on-going polemics on the incidence of apostasy (murtad) in the country following conflicting statements from Selangor mufti Tamyes Abdul Wahid and Islamic Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom.

The minister, in particular, has allegedly contradicted himself by telling the press something different from what he told Parliament.

Waythamoorthy refuses to be drawn into the polemics which, according to him, is being politicized by the mufti and the minister.

Instead, the Hindraf chair wants the authorities to buck up on the issue of religious persecution or risk the international community applying sanctions against Malaysia.

“We must not think that it (sanctions) will not happen. It will once the international community decides that the country has lost credibility on the issue of religious persecution,” said Waythamoorthy.

“If enough people in Malaysia stand up on the issue, things could get very hot quickly for the government.”

New umbrella body

Asked for his definition of religious persecution, Waythamoorthy cited, as an example, that the country was not allowing freedom of worship as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

One aspect was “the authorities forcing non-Muslims to embrace Islam against their will when they married Muslims”.

Other examples, he said, were rampant incidents of body-snatching by Islamic Religious Department officials, difficulties in getting official permission to build places of worship, indiscriminate demolishing of places of worship, religious establishments being forced to take down the symbols of their faith and discrimination against one on the basis of faith.

“The worst form of religious persecution in Malaysia is the encroachment of the Syariah Court into the domain of the civil courts,” fumed Waythamoorthy. “The civil courts are the last bastion of civilization in Malaysia.”

Unfortunately, he added, there were too few non-Muslim judges in Malaysia to defend the judiciary from insidious attack by the Syariah Court.

The Hindraf chief conceded that his ad hoc apolitical movement had not been vocal enough on religious persecution in the country. However, he vowed that things will be very different from now on under the UK-based Human Rights Foundation Malaysia which was recently set up to work closely with all human rights NGOs in the country.

“Religious persecution will top our agenda in Malaysia, at the United Nations and in international forums,” said Waythamorthy.

“We have already raised the issue of Islam being imposed illegally on Sabah and Sarawak as the official religion and the Orang Asli Christians being persecuted for their faith.”

Opting out of Islam

Another sore point, continued Waythamoorthy, is the establishment of religious rehabilitation centres all over the country to re-brainwash apostates in Islam and force them to abandon their original faith or reject their new non-Islamic faith.

He reckons these centres as akin to the re-education camps set up by the communists during the Cold War years.

“The Islamic religious authorities in Malaysia are treading the same path as that taken by the communist bloc since 1917,” said Waythamoorthy.

“The Free World would sooner or later have to fight yet another global Cold War, this time against religious intolerance and the lack of respect for democracy, human rights and women.”

The Selangor mufti, Tamyes Abdul Wahid, has since disclosed that many new converts to Islam in the country applied to renounce their new faith and return to their original beliefs once their marriage to Muslim partners fell apart. He denounced the tendency among non-Muslims to embrace Islam only when they married Muslims.

Tamyes was elaborating on Jamil Khir’s recent statement in Parliament, as recorded in the Hansard, that 168 applications had been approved in recent months to opt out of Islam.

Jamil Khir has also been reported as saying by Bernama, the national news agency, that the Syariah Court had not approved even a single case of “opting out” todate. - FMT

Racism in disbursement of gov't scholarships charge

(Malaysiakini) The Human Rights Party has filed a police report in Penang against the government over what it described as "race based" disbursement of Public Services Department (JPA) scholarships, study loans and seat allocation for students of higher learning.

Ganesan Penang Human Rights Party HRPIn his police report, HRP advisor N Ganesan (far left) urged the police to investigate Prime Minister Najib Razak, his deputy and Education Minister Muyhiddin Yassin, Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khalid Nordin, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz over the issue.

He also urged the police to probe the Umno-led government, especially the violations of Article 8 and Article 12 of the Federal Constitution for denying the Malaysian Indian students of their basic right to education.

"This level of racism, religious extremism and supremacy do not exist in any other part of the world except in Najib Razak's One Malaysia," he told reporters after filing his report at the Jalan Patani police station last night.

Much hand wringing over issue

"Today Malaysia is the most racist and supremacist country in the world," he charged, asking the force to reply to him in writing within two weeks, failing which he would assume the contents of his police report to be true.

Ganesan said the government has committed a "gross abuse of executive power" by not revealing the details of the scholarship recipients', terming it a flawed process of "implementing transparently".

Later, Nazri had reportedly said that there was "no concrete evidence" when the proof itself was a state secret, he added.

He was referring to Nazri's June 14 statement, where he had said "It is the government's policy not to reveal the marks of the recipients to the public to protect their individual rights and privacy."

Nazri added that " there is no further concrete proof of abuse of power in awarding scholarships, looking at the fact that the implementation was done transparently and in order as dictated by the cabinet decision of 14th Jan 2009."

The Malaysian Indian-rights party views the issue of scholarship disbursement and seats allocations in institutions of higher learning for students from the community as contradicting the Federal Constitution.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What is your role?

By Susan Luees David - facebook comments

My dearest INDIANS!!!!! Looks like many of us have forgotten all the struggles and sacrifices that our Hindraf heroes have went through for us, just for us, the INDIANS!!!!! Can someone tell me why do they have to go through all this pain for us???? Don’t they have a life??? Don’t they have a family??? Why on earth must they fight for our rights???? Is it only for their children’s future???? NO!!!!!!! 

It is for our INDIAN community, for all us, for all the brothers & sisters who are marginalized & discriminated by the bloody BN!!!!! Don’t we all have INDIAN blood running in us???? I still come across many useless & selfish INDIANS who only care about themselves & their family. I’m not asking everyone to go and fight with the license thugs (police) or make noise in the parliament. Don’t bother about the political side of it, we have responsible and dedicated brothers and sisters like Jayathas, Johnson Doss, Sivan and Sara to take care of it. 
For the rest of you, play your part as a responsible, caring and loving INDIAN, show some love to your fellow INDIAN brothers and sisters. Help them in all the ways that you can. Not necessary financial support, like our sister Bavanie and Rangnee, you too can volunteer yourself to teach our children who are abandoned in the orphanage homes, make an effort to visit the kids, celebrate their birthdays and spend time with them by motivating them on how to be a responsible INDIAN, an INDIAN that the whole world will look up to. 
I salute my brother Arivu who makes all his effort to build an educated coming generation by making them to realize how important education is, how it will help to improve their life and the others through them. My dear brothers & sisters, we have to make the move now in order for the future generation to have a better future in our country. UNITY is the weapon!!!!! Aren’t you all ashamed of yourself letting the others to treat you like shit???? OK FINE, you don’t feel it probably because you are also suckers like some political parties in our country!!!!! 
Listen guys, again I’m not asking anyone here to go against the Malays or Chinese, trust me NOT all Malays & Chinese are racist, above all WE THE INDIANS ARE NOT RACIST!!!!!! We are only against the discrimination against the minorities in this country!!!!! All we want is equal rights!!!! I repeat….We have to start fighting for it now for our better future. In order to achieve that lets all of unite and together we bring up the social status of our community. 


We help each other, we share the pain together and finally we enjoy the success together. Those video clips uploaded are just a reminder to all of us, why are these people taking all the pain of tear gas & water canon??? Why do they have to bleed for us???? Why do our heroes spend hundreds of days in ISA while we were having fun with our family & friends???? Please spare some time watching these videos and think what is your role for our community!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bersih rally: Hindraf opts out

The movement's leader says since Pakatan failed to endorse its 18-point demand, Hindraf will not participate in the rally.
PETALING JAYA: Hindraf Makkal Sakti will not be participating in the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally, said its leader P Uthayakumar.

“We are not participating because Pakatan Rakyat failed to endorse our 18-point demand made in 2007,” he added in a press statement.

Uthayakumar was responding to a news report that linked the Hindraf rally to the first Bersih rally in 2007 that swung public sentiment against the government during the 2008 general election.

The former Internal Security Act detainee said back then, the movement supported Pakatan because it did not have a choice.

“Hindraf did not have a political choice but to give the unconditional political directions to support Pakatan. But after the 2008 general election, it became more plain and obvious that PKR, DAP and PAS like the Umno-BN regime only wanted Indian votes,” he said.

He added that the situation was different now because Hindraf has a political platform, namely the Human Rights Party (HRP).

However, Uthayakumar said Hindraf will back Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan on the condition that HRP is allowed to contest 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats in the next polls.

“We are committed to politically ending Umno’s rule of Putrajaya; we support Pakatan taking over Putrajaya and even Anwar becoming the next prime minister of Malaysia but on condition of HRP’s ‘Project 15/38′ as the internal check and balance mechanism so that the Indian poor are not segregated or excluded from national mainstream development of Malaysia,” he added.

He also indicated that there were proposals for another Hindraf rally to be held on Nov 25.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hicom Puchong Hindu temple to be ethnically cleansed by PKR S’gor.

url hicomTo make way for a flyover. Why didn’t the racist UMNO Town and Country planners draw up the plan to divert away from this century old Sri Maha Mariaman Hindu temple? For the Puchong M.P. Gobind Singh Deo he chooses to remain yet another static P.R. Indian mandore. His silence on this Indian poor right to freedom of religion by virtue of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution speaks volumes.

But along Jalan Bangsar near University Malaya entrance and Jalan Rasah, Seremban, millions of ringgit was spent to save and preserve the Masjids in situ ie at the exact place where it is.

But for this Hindu temple it is as if there is no other land to get the flyover going.

(see Starmetro 10/6/2011 at page 4
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
hicom

Monday, June 13, 2011

1st Tamil MP in Canada: Rathika Sitsabaiesan, inaugural Speech in Tamil at House of Commons

rathika1Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Tamil: இராதிகா சிற்சபை ஈசன்) is a Tamil member of Canadian parliament for the New Democratic Party, representing Scarborough—Rouge River. She is the first person of Tamil-origin in the world to be elected to a federal parliament, outside of Sri Lanka or India, and the first female member of parliament ever elected in her constituent.
Sitsabaiesan was born on 23 December 1981 in Achchuveli, Sri Lanka, a small town in the island nation’s peninsula of Jaffna in Northern Province.She has three older sisters. At the age of five, Sitsabaiesan and her family emigrated to Canada.
Sitsabaiesan grew up in Mississauga, west of Toronto.When her father was disabled following a workplace accident her mother had to give up her nursing studies to work in a warehouse to support the family. Sitsabaiesan attended the University of Toronto for the first two years of her higher education. She served as the Vice President of the Tamil Students’ Association while at the university. For the next two years she attended Carleton University, and completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree. At Carleton Sitsabaiesan served as a Vice President of the Carleton University Students’ Association, Caucus Chair of the New University Government and Operations Manager of the Rideau River Residence Association.[4] Sitsabaiesan then transferred to Queen’s University from where she obtained a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations.
Sitsabaiesan has been heavily involved in community and advocacy work. She is a member of the Malvern Community Association, a residents’ group in Malvern, Toronto. She was employeed with the University of Toronto Students’ Union before she was elected to Parliament.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

UMNOs’ zero sum game in building Serendah Tamil school. Zero 0.8 hectares land procured but 2 hectares required by UMNO and PKR refuse the rest.

khalid ibrahim
In Serendah there are some 280 Indian families based on the local hindu temple records according to S.Jeeva of Serendah who came in to complain to us today Assuming even each family has two school going children there are 540 ready Tamil school going children. But they have been denied and deprived of a local Tamil school by the racist and religious supremacist UMNO regime.
The Indians in Serendah have to wake up at 5.00a.m. to get their children ready for the school bus at 6.00 a.m and for the nearest Rawang and Sg Chor Tamil schools some 10 kilometers away by 7.30a.m. Imagine the inconvenience. But for the Malay muslim pupils they can wake up only at 6.00a.m, get ready and go to school not 10 kilometers away but a mere 10 minutes walk away.
And UMNO gets their kosong MIC MP mandore to do the usual Tamil dailies kosong wayang kulit ie this zero game.
This kosong Hulu Selangor MP mandore lives up to the 54 year old MIC mandorist “fine” traditions and makes the kosong statement that UMNO has already granted two acres of land and RM1 Million in funding for the Serendah Tamil school as promised to win the Hulu Selangor by elections in 2010.
But this MP mandore shows nothing / zero in black and white. All his is the mere kosong talk.
And as an excuse not to fulfill this UMNO promise this MIC mandore now says that it is the Selangor PKR state government that is refusing to grant the five acre land to build this Serendah Tamil school.
This is the tip of the UMNO racist and religious supremacist policies led by One Malay-sian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
After a two hour meeting with P.Uthayakumar at the HRP HQ today (10/6/2011) Jeeva and his two friends are proceeding to organize a public forum in Serendah soon
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
New Scan-20110610172915-00001 New Scan-20110610172825-00001

Racist PKR S’gor preserves Chinese cemetery even next to housing estate. But KKB Hindu cemetery ‘ethnically cleansed’.

url bi racial
Selangor has refused to grant land to all Selangor Hindu cemeteries, temples, 98 Tamil schools and Indian villages which the Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid (and not Prime Minister Najib razak) has all the powers.
PKR, DAP and PAS are already at the Selangor State Putrajaya of Selangor, and yet they refuse to grant a permanent solution for the Indian poor because they fear losing the Malay muslim votes.
So how are they going to solve these Indian poor problems when they get to the real Federal Putrajaya?
(see NST 7/6/2011 at page S5)
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
racist PKR

Racist PKR S’gor preserves Chinese cemetery even next to housing estate. But KKB Hindu cemetery ‘ethnically cleansed’.

url bi racial
Selangor has refused to grant land to all Selangor Hindu cemeteries, temples, 98 Tamil schools and Indian villages which the Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid (and not Prime Minister Najib razak) has all the powers.
PKR, DAP and PAS are already at the Selangor State Putrajaya of Selangor, and yet they refuse to grant a permanent solution for the Indian poor because they fear losing the Malay muslim votes.
So how are they going to solve these Indian poor problems when they get to the real Federal Putrajaya?
(see NST 7/6/2011 at page S5)
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
racist PKR

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jeram Estate Kuantan Tamil school in shipping container has to beg racist UMNO for even a six classroom school.

cabin school



This Tamil school was moved temporarily into shipping containers when the estate came up for development.
As usual what is temporary became a permanent but temporary structure for 12 long years with the view to the racist and religious supremacist UMNO “ethnically cleansing” this Tamil school and all 523 Tamil schools nationwide one at a time to avoid detection.
(see Malaysian Nanban 7/6/2011 at page 5)
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
jeram

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Police Report Against PM

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

History education in M’sia: Deep roots of contestation

history-misBy  Dr Lim Teck Ghee

Most Malaysians – including members of the specially appointed government committee to review the history curriculum – may not be aware of the deep roots of the current controversy on the narrow religious and ethno-nationalistic approach that has come to dominate history education in the country.  The following essay provides information on two studies that have examined the roots of the contestation on history education, especially with regard to the history curriculum developed for schools and the assigned textbooks. 1

Santhiram’s work: Textbooks that divide 

The earliest academic study on the subject was undertaken by Dr R. Santhiram.  The study published in 1997 is a pioneering attempt at examining the extent to which the educational system – as exemplified in the curriculum and textbooks – was reflective of a multiracial and multicultural society. 2 Focusing on selected lower secondary school textbooks and using quantitative content analysis and qualitative strategies, the paper’s general conclusion was that while some textbooks provided curriculum content appropriate for a multicultural society, others had concentrated heavily on majority race identity. 
3
Santhiram’s study covered four subject areas – English Language, Bahasa Malaysia, Moral Education and History – and his findings on all of them are useful. However, his conclusions on the history component are of special interest because of their relevance to the situation today.  This is what he had to write about the assigned textbook, KBSM Sejarah Tingkatan 2, authored by Zainal Abidin Abdul Wahid, Khoo Kay Kim, Muhammad Yusof Ibrahim and D.S. Ranjit Singh (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1989).
4
Santhiram noted:

To be sure, the focus here is on Malaysian national history. The main players on the political scene are Malay rulers and the indigenous people and the history focuses on their responses to western incursions and domination. As such, a major part of the History textbook highlights these matters. The text deals mainly with political issues and to a certain extent provoke pupils to think about the weaknesses of the Malay states that led to British intervention. 

Topics on economic development, growth of towns, development of infrastructure and development of education tend to give an overview of historical continuity and progress with a very strong Malay bias. However, it is important to mention here that evidence of stereotyping mentioned in some earlier works on the analysis of textbook material seem to have been corrected in this book (Mukherjee et al., 1984). The contention then was that the history textbooks as a whole focused primarily on one ethnic group – the Malays – at the expense of other ethnic groups in Sabah and Sarawak. Superficial coverage was given to the historical background and sociocultural aspects of non-indigenous groups. Instances of stereotyping of the races and misleading statements on non-indigenous ethnic groups were recorded in that research. These and other shortcomings were cited as a hindrance to the promotion of national unity (pp.16-32).

In relation to the crucial educational objective as defined by the Ministry of Education of inculcating and nurturing national consciousness through fostering common ideals, values, aspirations and loyalties in order to mould national unity and national identity in a multi-ethnic society, Santhiram expressed disappointment with the book’s contents. According to him:

In this book, topics that give an understanding of the origins of the multiracial society and their contributions are dealt with very peripherally, though Chinese involvement in tin disputes is dealt with within the context of internecine disputes of the Malay nobility.

Circumstances of Chinese and Indian migration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are not adequately explained. The only reference to Indian involvement in the rubber industry is a three-sentence acknowledgement which goes like this: "European planters preferred to use Indian labour" (p.127) and "Indian labour was brought in to work in rubber estates. Many Indians settled in this country in the 1910s and 1920s" (p.128). There is a page devoted to the development of Tamil schools which reinforces the fact that these schools are for the poor Indians (p.173) and a three-paragraph reference to Indian political activities (p.210).

In his conclusion on the history curriculum and textbook, Santhiram had this to say
Recognition of the evolution of the plural society and the contribution of non-indigenous communities in Malaysia has to be reexamined with a view to providing a balanced account… . One cannot wish away the realities of the past by ignoring them. Surely, Malay nationalistic fervour has to be highlighted to instill a sense of belonging to the nation. But a sense of belonging has to be promoted among all ethnic groups. 

He further noted:
The non-Malays have come to play an important role in Malaysian affairs in the past 100 years. Their contribution has to be acknowledged and highlighted, instead of making only footnote references to their presence. It has to be stressed that the Chinese and Indians are not detachable appendages but integral constituents of the Malaysian society. How can a people develop a sense of common historical experience and a sense of belonging to the nation if they feel alienated and marginalised and no recognition is made to their participation in the life of the country?

Cheah’s work: Ethno-nationalist victory in rewriting history 

Santhiram’s study approached the subject of the national curriculum and textbooks from the discipline of education.  Another scholar, Cheah Boon Kheng, approached the subject from the discipline of history.

Writing in the American Asian Review in 2003 5 , Cheah noted that “History, ethnicity and nation-building are not only related issues, but also controversial and sensitive ones in the politics of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic society.” In his study, unlike Santhiram who used the technique of content analysis of textbooks to arrive at his findings, Cheah relied on a selection of primary and secondary materials to arrive at his findings and conclusions.  He also delved further into the country’s political history to trace the developments that have influenced history writing.

According to Cheah, government policy aimed at making Malay history as the basis of national history and Malay culture as the basis of national culture followed the decisions adopted by several Malay groups at a National Culture Congress in 1971. Another key milestone took place in 1987 when the then Minister for Education, Anwar Ibrahim, instructed that the school history curriculum be revised to make it explicitly clear that the present day Malay political primacy was based on Malay history and on the premise that Malays were “the original inhabitants” and that their position could not be challenged.

Cheah also noted that in spite of Malay political dominance, other indigenous ethnic groups have tried to ensure that their communities’ own historical roles were not obliterated. His study provides examples of attempts during the past 40 years by various individuals and groups to contest the Malay-centric and politically biased history.  These attempts included that of the country’s founding father and first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman who complained that a book used as a text book for the schools “was obviously an attempt to put party politics above the historical facts” and “did not give proper emphasis to the important incidents and events [including his own role] which led to independence.” 6 According to Cheah, in the foreword to the Tunku’s own memoirs, Looking Back , the father of the country’s independence wrote:

One academic writer did write a book in Malay on Malaysia’s Independence, a work which was actually distributed to schools for our boys and girls to read, but the author had completely omitted to associate me with events leading to Independence.”

Other attempts at contestation of the official version of the country’s history emerging from Malay ethno-nationalist pressure included complaints by Sabah and Sarawak representatives at a national curriculum committee meeting in 1987 that Malaysian history textbooks tended to be too peninsula-biased” and that “to foster national integration, West Malaysians should also learn the histories of Sarawak and Sabah.”

More prolonged resistance to the official rewriting of Malaysia’s history, according to Cheah, has come from the Chinese community.  This resistance – which continues in a weakened form today - has been waged especially in response to attempts by Malay politicians and authorities to deny the crucial role of Kapitan Yap Ah Loy as Kuala Lumpur’s leading founder.  Other topics of contestation include key political events such as the constitutional provisions for Malays and non-Malays prior to independence in 1957 and the portrayal of the Japanese occupation period in Malaysian history.

With reference to the latter topic, Cheah has argued that the case of Malaysian textbooks that relate to Malaysia’s official memory of the Second World War “is somewhat similar to the Japanese government’s amnesia about Japan’s wartime atrocities during the Second World War.” In his view, the latest Malaysian history textbook (1992) reflects the government’s stand on the Japanese occupation of the country.  It is tied up with Malaysia’s internal and international politics. Malay political primacy requires an agenda to highlight Malay wartime roles and experiences over that of other communities, and to accord recognition to Japan’s wartime support of Malay nationalist aspirations.

The task ahead in reviewing ‘official’ history 

The guidance from Santhiram’s and Cheah’s work – though written some years ago – are important to bear in mind in relation to the current controversy over the history curriculum and textbooks as well as the parallel controversy over Interlok, the assigned exam text for the literature component in the Bahasa Melayu compulsory pass subject.

Santhiram is of the view that in a textbook-driven curriculum environment like Malaysia’s, it is imperative that clear guidelines be given to textbook writers to incorporate elements of material that will help foster images and forms that will shape experiences positively in terms of national unity goals. Careful thought has to be given to the area of textbook writing so that the content does not work against nationally declared goals and aspirations. But guidelines are not enough especially if the interpreters and implementers of the guidelines are drawn from one racial group and when representatives from other racial groups are added on, their roles are mainly to provide the fig leaf of legitimacy and cover up for biased and ethno-centric products.

Cheah’s conclusion was blunter and appears – for now – to be prophetic in discerning future developments. He noted that “the struggle for equal historical space and place by ethnic minorities in Malaysia has been argued on the basis of multiculturalism, i.e., the idea that different, disadvantaged minorities and cultural groups in society have equally valid perspectives on historical truth.”

Whilst recognizing that it is necessary “to empower these groups in the face of the dominant concept of historical truth held by the ruling ethnic group”, he realistically noted that “if the grounds used to prefer one vision or one interpretation of the past over another are political and if the persuasiveness of a historical interpretation is simply a matter of the power of its advocates within society and within the historical profession, then it does not follow at all that history is necessarily a democratic, fair or tolerant enterprise.”

Reflecting his pessimism, Cheah concluded that “[t]he controversies over Malaysian history textbooks have focused largely over the issue of national history textbooks being easily indoctrinated or manipulated by the ruling ethnic group, or by state-commissioned historians for mainly political interests – usually in the interests of ethno-nationalism, in favour of the majority ethnic group, the Malays, over the others.”

It is evident that the struggle for a democratic, fair and representative history in Malaysia will be a long and protracted one with the odds stacked in favour of the ruling establishment and their well rewarded apologists.

Now that another opportunity has emerged in the recent decision to review the history curriculum, it is imperative that Malaysians from all communities rouse themselves from their stupor and come together to correct past wrongs. Working to ensure that the full complexity and richness of our history – rather than a caricature of our past – is reflected in the curriculum and textbooks has to be a collective and multiracial responsibility if it is to have any hope of success.

*******************
Footnote:
1 The book, Glimpses of Malaysian history, was a collection of essays by Malaysian historians and was edited by Zainal Abidin bin Wahid and published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
2 See R. Santhiram, “Curriculum Materials for National Integration in Malaysia – Match or Mismatch”, Asia Pacific Journal of Education Volume 17, Issue 2, 1997, pp.7-18
3 For his analysis, Santhiram posed two questions to provide a general direction for analysing the curriculum materials. They were as follows: 1) To what extent do these textbooks help promote the development of national unity among the various races with specific reference to the Indians? 2) To what extent do these textbooks provide suitable role models for the minority ethnic groups, especially the Indians, to emulate?
Based on these two questions, the analysis concentrated on visual presentation, focus and themes in the stories and passages and the depth of treatment given to racial, cultural and religious diversity. Conspicuous stereotyping and omissions which would reinforce the identification of race with occupations and promote prejudice were also noted and assessment was also made of positive values and attitudes that were inculcated.
4 All four authors involved in writing this book came from academia with the first two being professors of History at Malaysian universities, and the other two, lecturers in local universities.
5 Cheah Boon Kheng, “Ethnicity, Politics and History Textbook Controversies in Malaysia”, Vol. XXI, No.4, Winter, 2003, pp.229-52.

Mahendran: "Pemaju lebih besar kuasanya dari Menteri Besar Selangor?"

7 laporan polis terhadap PM, TPM dan Menteri Pengajian Tinggi

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

‘I want my flat or I’ll stay here till I die’

The two longhouse residents who had their homes demolished vow to stay near the rubble until developer delivers on pledge
PETALING JAYA: The two residents of PJS 1 longhouses, whose homes were demolished last Friday, vowed to stay put at the site until a promise made to them by the developer is honoured.

V Mahalingam, a 56-year-old disabled man and A Pushparani are living in a makeshift tent where their homes once stood pledged to stay put until Peter Brickworks provides them the low cost flat it promised eight years ago.

“I want my flat. If not I will stay here until I die,” said Mahalingam, a 56-year old disabled. “Life as a disabled is hard enough and Peter Brickworks has made it worse for me. They must answer for the misery I’m going through.”

After nearly a week-long tussle with the residents, Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) and the state government, Peter Brickworks ignored numerous pleas and demolished their homes on June 3.
Mahalingam and Pushparani received eviction orders from the developer on May 23 and given a seven-day deadline to make way for a condominium project.

The eviction was postponed after MBPJ issued a stop-work order against Peter Brickworks in an attempt to compel the developer to find an amicable solution with the residents.

Mahalingam said today that the MBPJ had offered him a low cost flat at Lembah Subang on June 1 but he rejected the offer because it was a temporary solution to his predicament.

“Lembah Subang is too far away. I receive medications from a nearby medical facility. How am I to travel all the way from there to PJS 1 if I take up the unit there?”asked Mahalingam.

As both he and his wife S Tamilchelvi were not working, Mahalingam said he relied a lot on assistance from friends and well-wishers who live near PJS 1. Tamilchelvi, 53, is partially blind.

“I also receive monthly provisions from a nearby spiritual organisation. Who will help me in Lembah Subang?” asked Mahalingam, who gets a monthly RM110 from the Welfare Department.

Mahalingam said he had no other place to go. “We have a son but we lost contact after he got married four years ago,” said Mahalingam who was reluctant to delve into the matter.

Pushparani, 44, lamented that the developer went ahead with the demolition despite promising not to at a meeting with Selangor state exco Iskandar Abdul Samad on June 2.

“We can only hope that the state government will help us now,” said a teary Pushparani.

‘We fear for our safety’

Pushparani, who ekes out living ferrying children to school by a mini van to make ends meet said she had to send her six children to stay with friends.

“My husband V Balakrishnan and I now camp out in the makeshift tent or in our van,” said Pushparani.

She added that she also feared for her safety as several unidentified men were lurking around the area where their homes once stood.

“I hold Peter Brickworks responsible should anything untoward happen to us,” said Pushparani.

Residents action committee chairman, M Sugumaran, said he received a text message from Iskandar this morning saying the state government would seize the land from Peter Brickworks.

During a walkabout this morning, FMT team saw two individuals taking pictures of the makeshift tent of the two families and the FMT journalists.

Sugumaran said that one of them was the general manager of Peter Brickworks while the other was the project manager of the condominium project.

Sugumaran urged the state government to speedily provide alternative housing for the residents, especially for Mahalingam.

“I also hope the state assemblyman (Haniza Talha) and the MP for Petaling Jaya Selatan Hee Loy Sean will continue with their effort to assist the residents,” said Sugumaran.

In a latest development, Sugumaran said several men started baricading the area with wire fencing around the demolished area at about 2pm.

Meanwhile, Iskandar, who is in charge of the state housing portfolio, said that the state would acquire the three plots of land at the site because of Peter Brickworks’ defiance.

“The mentri besar (Abdul Khalid Ibrahim) had instructed state secretary Khusrin Munawi to acquire the plots under state laws on Friday,” said Iskandar.

However, Iskandar could not confirm whether the notice has been issued to the developer.