Tuesday, August 3, 2010

State exco Halimah takes charge of Tamil school fund

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: Selangor state exco Dr Halimah Ali said that state government allocations to help raise Tamil school education will no more be managed by Xavier Jeyakumar but herself.

She said this after a meeting with parents of Tamil school students who were unhappy that the state government allocated RM1.6m to three NGOs to run the Tamil School Programmes.

The meeting was also attended by the three NGOs, Jeyakumar, the exco in charge of Indian affairs, Kelana Jaya MP Low Goh Burne and Kapar MP S Manickavasagam.

Halimah explained that Jeyakumar was given the mandate to manage the allocation because he had volunteered to do so although she was the exco in charge of education.

Whenever the allocation issue was raised at state exco meetings, Halimah said Jeyakumar said there were no complaints from the parents and or the NGOs.

"I'm here to tell you that I had never met with you, the Tamil school parents before," Halimah told the parents. "This is my first time and the time has come now for me to take charge."

She said that will raise this matter at the next state exco meeting and then call for another meeting with the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) chairmen.

Scuffle between rival factions

Halimah, the state exco for education, said if Tamil schools faced problems in getting access to the allocation, they can apply to the state government online.

She said the government has yet to decide if the RM1.6m allocation for the Tamil School Programmes will continue to be channeled to the three NGOs.

"We will discuss this at our next exco meeting," she said.

A slight scuffle broke out during the meeting last Saturday when rival factions traded barbs and criticised each other.

It started when MP Low asked representatives from the three NGOs the reason for not acknowledging the contributions of Pakatan Rakyat leaders in their souvenir programmes.

Educational Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF) special adviser S Pasupathi, who attempted to answer the question, was interupted by Low.

Fracas brought under control

The situation become chaotic and supporters of the both sides began shouting and heckling at each other.

When Jeyakumar tried to intervene, he was told off by several angry parents. S Kumaravel, the Midlands Tamil School PTA chairman came to Jeyakumar's rescue and in the process pushed Low who was standing near the edge of stage.

S Murali, the president of Tamil Schools' Parent's Association of Selangor (TSPAS), then lunged at Kumaravel who had to fend off a group of PKR members who joined in the fracas.

The situation was brought under control by a group of parents. Low, Manickavasagam and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad were not happy with situation.

Order reigned when Halimah asked Jeyakumar and the three NGOs representatives to leave the hall with their supporters.

Almost every parent at the meeting urged the state government to freeze the RM1.6m annual allocation which is channelled to the three NGOs.

The state government allocates RM4m for Tamil schools annually. RM2.4m is given directly to Tamil schools while the remaining RM1.6m is given to the three NGOs to run the Tamil School Programmes.

Besides the Educational Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF), the other two NGOs are the Tamil Foundation (TF) and Child Information Learning Development Centre (CHILD).

The issue of the RM1.6 m allocation came to a boil when Murali, the TSPAS chairman, accused the the three NGOs of mismanaging the funds.

Jeyakumar could not be contacted for comment. His aide said he will respond later.