Friday, January 1, 2010

Hunger strike in JB for recognition of Tamil subjects - Malaysiakini

A group of 30 activists championing the Tamil language staged a one-day hunger strike in the middle of the Johor Bahru yesterday to protest what they claim to be the government's blatant sidelining of the Tamil language.

According to PKR Johor vice-chief P Magendran, "The policy of not counting Tamil subjects in SPM credits marginalises the importance of Tamil language and literature in Tamil subjects."

tamil language protest hunger strike johor bahru 2"As they don't count, pupils will not pay attention to them. This will lead to the Tamil language being sidelined.

"But this also has more serious implications, as once the Tamil language becomes sidelined, Tamil schools may close down.

"What is to be come of the Tamil language? What is to become of Tamil teachers?" he asked.

The group further alleged that the government is also not giving enough opportunities for those who want to advance their knowledge in Tamil by not giving JPA scholarships and blocking those seeking to further their studies in Tamil language or Tamil literature studies at public universities.

Tamil knowledge development blocked

Both policies, said Magendran, is another telling evidence of the government ignoring the Tamil language.

The hunger strike was led by the state's PKR special officer K Selvakumar. Also present were other representatives of the PKR and the DAP as well as Tamil NGOs such as the Tamil Neri Association of Malaysia and Johor Manimandram Association.

tamil language protest hunger strike johor bahruIn attendance and closely observing the group were close 20 to 30 police officers who arrived in five police cruiser and a police van.

The hunger strike which began at 9am ended at 9pm.

They gathered right in the middle of the city at Jalan Ungku Puan, near the Raja Mariamman Devasthanam Temple.

This is another in a series of protest and campaigns by Tamil NGO's and Indians in general over the government cap of 10 subjects for SPM examinations, a move which many say sidelined vernacular language subjects.

Recently the government had revised the policy to allow for two additional subjects to be taken by students, especially those from vernacular schools.

However, the government is firm in not giving full recognition for these subjects nor count them in calculating SPM credits.