Wednesday, November 18, 2009

USM’s 12-year Tamil language saga (Malaysiakini)


Senthil Nathan | Nov 16, 09 3:30pm
It was indeed very surprising that there are suggestions to make Japanese a third language whereas learning Mandarin will be much more useful and economical as well as universal. Mandarin-speakers are the largest in the world with over one billion of them.This also makes us wonder if importance is being given to our own citizens and their cultures. Having ‘little Napoleons’ in various places only makes such simple things seems so difficult to be exercised.

On my personal experience in USM, for more than 30 years there, were many, many languages in the Pusat Bahasa. This included Arabic, French, Thai and many more foreign languages. For some reason, there were no Tamil language and when we enquired , the dean said there was a lack of support from students etc.

So to prove a point, student volunteers became part-time teachers to teach other students the language as a trial programme. Mind it, it was on personal basis as no club or even the Indian Cultural Society not willing to undertake this cause.

After one year, the classes had many students but the dean said, ‘We need to see statistics, please show us statistics’. So the second year was full of paperwork while the students-cum teachers ran their classes on Fridays from 12- 3pm for an entire year.

When presented with the statistics on attendance, the dean, simply said, ‘You did not have exams for the students, so there is proof the teaching was done properly’.

Third and fourth year volunteer teachers kept on with their Tamil-language private classes without fail and even streamlined four different levels and had exams for the students. All this was happening while they themselves had their own coursework and degrees to think about.

After applying for recognition from the university authorities for the fifth time, they realised that the authorities were simply delaying the approval hoping that the matter would eventually be forgotten after those who started it left the university upon graduation.

Nevertheless, the torch was passed from seniors to juniors who kept the work going and even recruited Chinese students who were at the mercy of the whims and fancy of the Pusat Bahasa management.

I was among those who came in the sixth year and stayed on until the ninth year. Seeing the dedication of the student/teachers and the unsupportive university authorities, we pushed the matter to the vice-chancellor who again told us to meet the dean.

Some students who graduated even continued with their masters just to ensure the success of this project but to no avail. No arguments were valid for the university authorities; they gave us all kind of excuses including the economic value of the Thai and Japanese languages compared to Tamil and unsupportive students once the language is offered (this is ironic, because they never tried offering it in the first place).

They even had the cheek to say students who took Tamil for SPM might score high results for the university Tamil paper examination.

After 12 years of non-stop effort, The Pusat Bahasa in USM finally accepted Tamil language as a paper and classes are now officially run. Thanks to the dynamic students who wanted to make a difference while sacrificing their quality time in university.

This has been entirely their effort from the start and it only proves that we have to struggle for what should have been given to us in the first place.


Suicide victim in serious condition. Police shot dead 5 Indian youths in Klang case.

Suicide victim in serious condition. Police shot dead 5 Indian youths in Klang case.

Police shooting. This morning at about 7.00 a.m we received a phone call from the family of Seetha that she is in critical condition and that all relative and friends can visit her (for the last time)


Posted on 18/11/2002 at 9.50 a.m

Press Release: Deaths of migrants in prisons, rehabilitation and detention centres

Image The Malaysian Bar is disturbed about the high number of migrants who have died while in custody.

In July 2009, the Dewan Rakyat was told that some 2,029 persons died in prisons, rehabilitation centres and immigration detention centres between 2002 and 1 June 2009. More recently SUHAKAM Commissioner Datuk Siva Subramaniam was quoted as saying that 1,300 foreigners died in detention within the past six years. The Dewan Rakyat figure would mean that an average of one migrant dies in custody almost every day!

The authorities should conduct a thorough investigation to identify the underlying causes for this large number of deaths. Brushing off these deaths as being due to illness, asthma or suicide is unacceptable. When individuals are placed in custody and denied their freedom of movement, the detaining authority is responsible for their well-being and care. The detaining authority has a duty of care towards all such individuals, which is a responsibility that should be taken very seriously.

In the event of a death, the questions that should be asked include whether the death could have been avoided, and whether the authorities were negligent in fulfilling their duty of care.

In order to address the worrying situation of deaths of migrants in custody, we call on the authorities to:

Take greater care to regularly monitor the health of all those in custody, especially those held in immigration detention centres. This will involve conducting regular medical check-ups and allowing the detainees easier access to medical personnel and facilities;

Give serious attention to health-related complaints made by the detainees;

Conduct an inquest each and every time there is a death in custody;

Reprimand and take disciplinary action against all staff members who, through neglect or indifference, fail to prevent a death from occurring;

Give lawyers and family members greater access to detainees and detention centres; and

Monitor those in custody more carefully, including the use of closed-circuit surveillance and more regular patrols.

In addition, one concrete step to reduce instances of neglect and abuse and to improve conditions in detention centres is to set up a Board of Visitors in each and every detention centre. The establishment of such Boards, which would have the power to conduct unannounced visits, will demand greater accountability from the system. It will compel the detaining authorities to upgrade their facilities, become more transparent in their operations and be more vigilant regarding what is happening within the detention centres.

The reports of deaths of migrants in custody are not new. Migrants, especially those in custody, are extremely vulnerable. They are more cut off from their families and community than Malaysians held in custody, hence there is an urgent need to take immediate measures to ensure that their welfare is protected and nothing untoward happens to them.

The Malaysian Bar also reiterates its call for open inquests to be held promptly and expeditiously to determine the cause of death of any person in custody.

The litmus test of how civilised we are as a nation is measured by the treatment we accord those who are most defenseless and vulnerable among us.

Dato’ M. Ramachelvam
Law Reform and Special Areas Committee
Bar Council

Parents of Kuala Dipang tragedy victims to file RM105mil suit

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Nov 17 – The parents of the three young girls who died in the recent bridge tragedy in Kuala Dipang will be filing a RM105mil suit against nine parties, including the Education Ministry, the bridge’s sponsor and contractor, at the High Court here this Friday.

According to their lawyer A. Sivanesan, the fathers of the three deceased would each be suing the parties for RM35mil, amounting to the total of RM105mil, for negligence in the Oct 26 tragedy.

In the suit, the three plaintiffs will name the Education Ministry, Perak Education Department, SJK (T) Mambang Diawan, SJK (T) Gopeng, GS Synergy Sdn Bhd (bridge contributor), CWL Enterprise (bridge contractor), Kinta Selatan district council, the Kuala Dipang 1 Malaysia camp commandant and the Government of Malaysia as defendants.

“They will be suing the parties for a total of RM105mil in damages, amongst other things,” Sivanesan told The Malaysian Insider today.

He added that the suit would be a historical one as it was the first time the parents of any Tamil school student was suing the government for such a high amount in damages.

During the tragedy, 11-year-olds N. Dina Deve and M. Devatharsini, both from SJK (T) Mambang Diawan, as well as 12-year-old V. Divyashree from SJK (T) Gopeng, drowned after they were swept away by the swift currents of the Kampar river.

They had been amongst the 22 students who had fallen into the river when the bridge they were crossing uprooted on one side of the river bank and collapsed.

The group was at the time participants in the Education Ministry’s 1 Malaysia Unity camp which was held at the education department’s co-curriculum centre in Kuala Dipang, Kampar.

Furore was raised following the incident, which led to the formation of two parallel investigative committees – one under the Education Ministry and another under the Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

The PR committee yesterday revealed its findings, which claimed that the weak foundation of the bridge had caused the collapse.

The committee also held the Perak Education Department’s Co-Curriculum Centre responsible for the bridge, which they claimed was illegal, and revealed the names of the two companies involved in the construction of the flimsy structure.

No emergency motion by 82 PR MP’s in police shooting dead Indian youth. But motion was filed because in One Malaysia Pakatan Rakyat MP’s were discrimi

Where is your multi-racialism PKR, DAP and PAS? At least UMNO, MCA and MIC are not hypocrates and never claim to multi-racialism as a means to cheat the Indian voters.

No emergency motion by 82 PR MP’s in police shooting dead Indian youth. But motion was filed because in One Malaysia Pakatan Rakyat MP’s were discriminated (NST 17/12/09 at page 27)


HRP Information Chief



Evidence wiped out: Murder in Air Molek Prison of Indian youth (22) by UMNO’s number one Indian mandore party chief and police Special Branch (S.B)

HRP Media Statement (17/11/09)

Evidence wiped out: Murder in Air Molek Prison of Indian youth (22) by UMNO’s number one Indian mandore party chief and police Special Branch (S.B)

This afternoon we received a telephone call from our Johor State HRP Chief (pro tem) Y.Mohan who informed us that the body of J.Saravanan (22) which his uncle Mr.K.Selvaraj in his police report No:- JBS/020804/09 had alleged was killed by the Air Molek prison personnel within four (4) days of him being imprisoned. Upon calling the complainant Mr.K.Selvaraj and then Mr.K.Chandran ( another uncle of the murder victim) this afternoon we were informed that (UMNO’s number one Mandore) Indian political party chief (and UMNO’s special branch) had “turn them over” and that they are not to make this issue any bigger but to close and hush up this matter.

A post mortem was rushed and hurriedly performed from 6.00pm to 9.00pm yesterday. The body was rushed to the family home after 9.00pm for prayers that was rushed through and the body sent back to the hospital mortuary as it could not be buried at that late hour.

By 10.00am today morning (17/11/09) the body was hurriedly cremated and all evidence of the prison brutality of beating the victim with a cane, kicked and punched were all wiped out by the a single light of the UMNO/police SB vis a vis their Indian mandore’s match stick.

We believe all this was under pressure from UMNO and their police special branch, We were told that UMNO’S number one Indian Mandore political party’s number one leader stepped in to do this perfect mandore’s job as he had successfully been doing for 30 years by hushing up this most serious case of human rights violations.

All the above was hurriedly rushed through despite the family agreeing to our proposal even up to yesterday evening:-

1) That the body should be buried and not cremated so as not to destroy the evidence in case the body has to be exhumed for a second post mortem etc like in the case of Teoh Beng Hock.

2) That after the first post mortem, a second post mortem will be conducted in Singapore.

3) The family was never allowed to take any pictures by the hospital and police authorities from the word go right up to the end.

Res Ipsa Loquiteour ( The facts speak for itself about UMNO their police special branch and their Indian mandore number one political party)

All these only possible under UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malaysia.

Thank you,


HRP Information Chief





Reps in public spat over land row

Two rival elected state representatives got involved in a public spat today over the controversial conversion of a seafront land from leasehold to freehold by the Penang government for a commercial entity.

Komtar assemblyperson and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary Ng Wei Aik drew first blood accusing that Umno’s allegation that Lim had lied in the state assembly over the land issue was no different from a “thief falsely shouting thief.”

He accused Umno as a party with an ingrained corrupt culture and was running scared of Lim’s decision to declassify the official minutes on the conversion of 3.5 acres seafront land in Lebuh Farquhar in George Town.

‘This is probably the first time that an irresponsible and undemocratic party like Umno did not welcome declassification of minutes to throw light to the issue.

“The Pakatan government initiative to declassify minutes made without any pressure from the opposition clearly showed that it upheld transparency and had nothing to hide.

“Why Umno is so frightened of the truth being told from declassifying the minutes?

“Are they afraid that the truth from declassifying minutes will expose Umno and BN’s tactics of using their control over mass media by repeating a lie 1,000 times until it becomes the truth?

“People now can know who has the courage to tell the truth and who is scare of the truth being told,” said Ng in a statement today.

In immediate response, Umno assemblyperson from Pulau Betong Muhamad Farid Saad slammed Ng of shooting aimlessly and arguing a case without facts.

“We did not accuse Lim a thief or anyone else in Pakatan of stealing.

“We are not afraid of the declassification of minutes either.

‘We just wanted Lim to clarify and explain on whether he had misled the assembly sitting with his written answer to my question over the controversial land conversion issue.

“Ng is actually shooting without direction.

“He should substantiate his accusations with facts.

“He should not be making statements for the sake of it and hurl senseless accusations,” rebuked Muhamad Farid.

He said Lim can easily end the public row over the issue by admitting he had erred in his answer and apologise for it.

“I am not trying to become a champion here.

“Lim just had to admit his mistake and carry on with his work. It’s as simple as that,” said Muhamad Farid.

In his statement yesterday, Lim said he would propose to the executive council during its weekly meeting this Friday to declassify the exco and state land committee minutes on the decision to allow the land conversion from leasehold to freehold status.

Muhamad Farid has dismissed the declassification of the minutes as irrelevant to him.

Lim said the declassification was imperative for the public to know the background and the truth behind the decision to convert the land to its owner the Penang Heritage Hotel Sdn Bhd (PHH).

PHH is jointly owned by Penang Development Corporation (PDC) (49%) and YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd (51%).

Opposition Barisan Nasional leaders, including state legislative assembly opposition leader Azhar Ibrahim, have criticised Lim for not being honest and transparent about the PHH land deal.

They claimed that Lim had misled the assembly sitting in August when he gave a written reply that the state government has not approved any conversion of land from leasehold to freehold, and that it was waiting to bring up the matter with the National Land Council at the year's end.

Penang Umno Youth treasurer Aziaan Ariffin has even challenged Lim to either quit as chief minister or admit that he had lied in the assembly for claiming that the state government has not approved any land conversion.

In the August sitting, Lim was replying to a written question by Muhamad Farid on approval of applications for change of land status from leasehold to freehold between April 2008 and June 2009.

However, confusion arose following recent news reports that PHH would build a luxury condominium and seafood restaurant on Lot 408, Section 19, next to the E&O Hotel.

Ng accused Umno of making baseless and false attacks on Lim to undermine the credibility of Pakatan government, which was recently praised by Transparency International for its anti-graft efforts.

“The declassification is in line with our CAT motto on competency, accountability and transparency.

“Why didn’t Umno question BN for never declassifying minutes on project approved to protect public interests and accountability?” he asked.

Muhamad Farid said neither Lim nor Ng had categorically denied in the statements that the assembly sitting had been misled.

“Their statements failed to answer to the prevailing question on whether Lim had lied in the House.

“Indeed, they seemed to imply that the chief minister had actually misled the assembly sitting,” chided the Umno assemblyperson.