Friday, July 23, 2010

HRP seeks UN help for top Indian students (Malaysiakini)

Gavaskar Brian Raj and Richard Loo ( Photos by HRP) ,IMG_1696
The Human Rights Party (HRP) has appealed to the United Nations to intervene in the Malaysian government’s denial of scholarships and study loans for top Indian students, as well as places for them in university and matriculation courses.
In a memorandum addressed to the UN, HRP called on the body to despatch a fact-finding mission to investigate the matter, which the party described as "akin to apartheid".
HRP information chief S Jayathas described the memorandum to the UN as the "last resort", following the party’s unsuccessful attempts to seek intervention from the prime IMG_1673 minister and the King.
"We have no other avenue as we have exhausted all political and legal options," Jayathas (right) said.
He also said that many people have promised the HRP help on this issue, but he described them to be the cakap tak serupa bikin type.
United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) representative Hans Olsen received the memorandum on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative, Kamal Malhotra, who was predisposed.
HRP Memo to UN "I will take it (the memorandum) to Kamal and he will decide what we (the UN) can do," Olsen said.
Among others, Jayathas had previously submitted memoranda to the prime minister as well as to the Yang diPertuan Agong, and has also made 31 police reports against the federal government.
Riot police present
He was accompanied by HRP adviser Pathmarajah Nagalingam, central working committee member Jeevindra Kumar Krishnan and six party members.
Around 20 riot police personnel were gathered outside the UN headquarters, but no untoward incident was reported.
The HRP has been championing the cause of an estimated 2,237 high achieving but financially constrained Indian students in the country who have been denied opportunities for tertiary education.
The party tried to submit a memorandum to the King at his palace recently, in which it sought the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry to address the issue.
In the memorandum, HRP also called for a UN official to head the selection committee for the allocation of Public Service Department scholarships as well as matriculation and university placements for the next five years.
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Family wants written safety guarantee for Tharmendran

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: The family of former air force sergeant N Tharmendran submitted a note of demand to the Defence Ministry urging its minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to give written guarantee that no armed forces personnel will attempt to arrest him. It also also urged the minister to take action against those who were attempting to take Tharmendran back to air base and those who had tortured him when he was in custody.

On June 17, Tharmendran's father claimed that his son was tortured while in custody by senior Royal Malaysian Air Force officials and made to confess to stealing two jet engines.

On July 8, Tharmendran was released from Sungai Buloh prison after posting bail. However, his family claimed that there were attempts by the air force to bring him back to the air base.

Fearing the prospect of being illegally taken to the air base, Tharmendran applied to withdraw his bail and voluntarily surrendered himself to the custody of prison officials.

Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran, who accompanied Tharmendran's father N Nagarajah to the ministry, said: “Tharmendran ceased to be an air force personnel since May 28.

“But we were recently made aware that the air force is trying to get him back to its air base. This is unlawful.”

MPs S Manickavasagam (Kapar), Zuraida Kamaruddi (Ampang), Tian Chua (Batu), and lawyers Latheefa Koya and N Surendran were in the procession to hand over the note of demand.

Lawyers and MPs denied entry

The group was earlier denied entry into the ministry premises by military police which irked Zuraida who lambasted them.

“We are the people's representative but yet you are not even giving us the courtesy by letting us in,” said Zuraida.

After several deliberations, the ministry sent its corporate communicatons officer K Raveendran to receive the note at the ministry's entrance but the lawmakers refused to hand over the note to him.

“We are not here to do business. We are here on an issue of national concern,” Manogaran told Raveendran.

Then the military adviser to the minister, brigadier-general Dzahir Abd Rahim came to receive the group, eventually allowing them into the ministry premises for a meeting at 11am.

After 20 minutes, the group returned and said they were disappointed that the minister or the deputy minister was not around to receive them.

Manickavasagam said that Dzahir could not guarantee Tharmendran's safety. “He did not even say when he was going to hand over the note to the minister. Tharmendran's well-being is still at stake.”

Give Tamil schools direct funding, Khalid urged

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: The Tamil Schools Parents' Association in Selangor is demanding that the RM4 million state government allocation for Tamil schools be channelled directly to individual schools’ Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and not via irrelevant third parties.

The association president S Murali (photo) said the 400-member strong association also wants Tamil school affairs to be handled by the state executive councillor in charge of education, and not by irrelevant excos.

He said the demands would be highlighted in an eight-point memorandum on the development of Tamil education in Selangor.

He said the memorandum will be submitted to Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim in the next few days.

Explaining their reasons, Murali said the PTAs were in a better position to manage the funds, which are state allocations under the Tamil Schools Development Fund, as they have first-hand information of their respective schools’ needs.

Selangor has 97 Tamil schools.

The Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government allocated some RM4 million in annual funds last year for development programmes to Tamil schools.

However, only RM2.4 million of the allotted sum was dispersed directly to schools.The remaining RM1.6 million was channelled to three non-governmental organisations, namely the Education Welfare Research Foundation (EWRF), Tamil Foundation and Child Information Learning and Development Centre.

It’s learnt that the money was allotted to the three NGOs to carry out Tamil education development programme in the state.

For this year, the state government recently approved similar funds to be dispersed among Tamil schools and NGOs.

Unhappy with exco's work

Murali said the association was against the state government’s decision to divert part of the funds for Tamil schools to the NGOs.

He suggested instead that the state government allot separate funding for these NGOs while dispersing the whole RM4 million directly to the schools.

“We don’t understand why the money for Tamil schools is being diverted to these NGOs. Such diversion of funds is not happening in allocations for Chinese and religious schools,” Murali told FMT.

The memorandum will demand that Khalid's government walk his talk on multiracial governance by assigning only the state executive councillor in charge of education, higher education and human capital development portfolios, currently Halimah Ali, to handle Tamil school affairs.

Murali said the association members were strongly against the current arrangement in which another state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, who is in charge of health, plantation workers, poverty and compassionate government, is made responsible for Tamil school affairs.

Several PTA leaders criticised Khalid for emulating typical Umno-MIC politics by giving the mandate to an irrelevant Jeyakumar to distribute allocations for Tamil schools.

It’s learnt that Jeyakumar, formerly a dentist by profession, has close links with the three NGOs receiving the annual funds.

The state government cyber information portal, SelangorKini online, has disclosed that “Xavier is active in EWRF.”

Tamil school PTAs in Selangor have also expressed their dismay with the manner Jeyakumar has been handling the Tamil schools' issue.

“Although Tamil school affair is not his business, he is trying to promote himself as the Indian leader in the Pakatan government and state PKR," said several PTA leaders, who spoke to FMT in anonymity for fear of Jeyakumar's backlash.

They fear Jeyakumar would sabotage funds to their schools if he knew their identities.

Jeyakumar was not available for comment despite numerous calls made and text messages sent to him over the past three days.

Free land sought

The memorandum would also demand the state government allocate free land to all landless Tamil schools in Selangor and change land title ownership to the schools, which are already sitting on government land.

Murali said his association would demand that the Pakatan government include all Tamil schools into the state's mainstream national school development programme.

“In short, we want the Pakatan state government to be different from BN,” said Murali.

Copies of the memorandum are expected to be distributed to all executive councillors and elected representatives in Selangor and, the state and national PKR leaders as well.

Bid to seek guarantee of Tharmendran's safety

HRP seeks UN help for top Indian students