Monday, August 16, 2010

NRD studies Hindraf memo on 'British subjects'

(Malaysiakini) The National Registration Department (NRD) in Putrajaya is reportedly studying Hindraf Makkal Sakthi's memorandum presented last Friday, on the problem of several thousand people in peninsular Malaysia whom the group says have been denied Malaysian citizenship since independence in 1957.

Hence, they allegedly retain their British subject status from the colonial era. Previously called, in a misnomer, 'stateless', Hindraf has since dropped the term as it implies 'a person without a country' which is not the case.

Hindraf drafted the memorandum on July 26 but held it back until after the 1st National Hindraf Convention in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 8.

N Ganesan, HRP advisor June 4“We had a very formal but cordial two-hour meeting with Mohd Azmin Hassan, the director of births, deaths and adoptions,” said Penang-based Hindraf advisor and industrialist N Ganesan (left) in a telephone call to Malaysiakini yesterday. “Initially, the director-general and his deputy agreed to be present.”

He was giving an update on the dilemma of British subjects in Malaysia following a statement released yesterday by London-based Hindraf chair P Waythamoorthy. The ad hoc human rights movement has conducted research on the subject at the National Archives of the United Kingdom.

The purpose of the hastily-set-up meeting with the NRD, continued Ganesan, was basically to get it to listen to Hindraf's elaboration on the memorandum rather than for them to give a briefing on known procedural requirements.

NRD: Only 80 without documents

For starters, the 12-man NRD team queried Hindraf's conservative estimate of 150,000 'stateless people' (henceforth 'British subjects') among 'ethnic Indians' in peninsular Malaysia who have been denied Malaysian citizenship and nationality.

indian rubber plantation worker 030905The NRD disclosed that they in fact conducted 84 campaigns throughout the peninsula alone in recent months, apparently seeking out those without Malaysian personal documents “and only 80 people turned up”.

“We explained that it doesn't work this way,” said Ganesan. “These people are not very educated and live in fear in a twilight zone. They would not dare to approach the authorities with their problems.”

The Hindraf advisor explained the basis on which they arrived at 150,000 which the NRD has accepted as a guideline, without dispute, for further study. The NRD conceded, when challenged to give their own estimate, that they “really did not know who is out there and how many of them (there are), especially when they don't turn up and see us”.

The fear among the British subjects, Ganesan stressed, is that they would be “detained at a centre for illegal immigrants for deportation” to India or other ancestral origins. The result is that they avoid having anything to do with the authorities and the system but, it appears, sometimes not very successfully.

“Most of the petty crimes in urban areas in peninsular Malaysia can be attributed to the British subjects,” said Ganesan. “They eke out a precarious living as cheap daily labour in the underground economy and live in abject poverty from generation to generation.”
These conditions make it an ideal breeding ground for those who are attracted to various criminal activities to supplement their meager incomes as cheap labour, the NRD was told.

'State should not dictate religion'

An additional shocker for the NRD was Hindraf's conservative estimate that at least 20 percent of the British subjects are non-Muslims married to Muslims, usually under Hindu rites, and went on to have children. Such marriages are not registered under the law and bring with it a host of attendant documentation problems of their own.

Hindraf's suggestion, spelled out in greater detail with graphic case studies in the memorandum, is that the parents involved in interreligious marriages should be allowed to decide on the religion of their children. The state should stay out, said the movement. “They should also not involve the judiciary or the Syariah Court.”

Briefly, the Hindraf take is that religion is a matter of individual faith and hence the individual should state his faith, if needed as a matter of public record, and not allow the state to dictate the religion.

corpse snatching family pc 011206 nrd documentGanesan and the other four members in his delegation explained the importance of the NRD shedding its old mindset and adopting a paradigm shift above race, religion and other considerations like the “numbers game”, among others.

The old mindset, alleged Ganesan, was politically driven by a “hidden agenda” to deny procedurally what is guaranteed by the federal constitution.

“We are confident that the NRD is the only department, no matter how flawed at the moment, that can help address the problem systematically and eliminate it,” said Ganesan. “They have the resources and can even employ field staff familiar with an area to seek out the British subjects and help them go through the process.”

'NRD must be people-friendly'

In short, Hindraf wants the NRD to adopt a people-friendly approach and go out to the British subjects instead of having them come to it. The onus, under this approach, is on the NRD and not on the affected people.

mykad counter 051105Ganesan thinks that the existing approach of hurling a stack of documents at would-be applicants and expecting them to decipher them and solve the problem on their own would not work.

Anyone would be put off especially if they feel that they are seen as a nuisance, added Ganesan. “The result is they don't come back.”

Hindraf has an early Dec 31, 2011 deadline in mind for the resolution of the problem. However, the memorandum itself acknowledges that it might take at least up to three years to bring closure to this unfortunate legacy from the colonial past.

HRP wants India to sponsor top students

Memorandum to PM of India on 63rd Independence Day of India requesting 2,237 full scholarships and University places in India for top and high achieving Malaysian Indian students segregated. (15/8/2010)

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15th August 2010

His Excellency Mr.Manmohan Singh,

Prime Minister of India.


His Excellency Mr.Vijay Gokhale

High Commission of India to Malaysia By Hand

No2, Jalan Duta, Off Jalan Duta, By fax: 03-20933507

50480 Kuala Lumpur Email: ,

Your Excellency,

RE: 1) Memorandum to Prime Minister of India on Independence Day of India requesting for 2,237 full scholarships and University places in India for top and high achieving Malaysian Indian students segregated and denied JPA scholarships etc, PTPTN loans, Matriculation and University places by the Malay-sian Government.

2) Request to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he visits Malaysia on 9/11/2010

3) Request to meet Indian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur not responded to.

4) Request to address Pravasi Bharathiya Divas Conference in India 7-9th January 2011 on pressing Malaysian Indian problems on the first day of the Conference.

We take this opportunity to wish the people of the Republic of India happy 63rd India’s Independence Day. But even on this day we the even sixth generation Malaysian born Indians are even denied and segregated in every aspect of our lives from an estimated 450,000 being made stateless, denial of jobs and top jobs in the private and public sectors,demolishment of Hindu temples and cemeteries, Tamil school in cow shed like conditions in the background of the KLCC world’s tallest Twin Towers etc. Most importantly to our very basic rights to education by reason of our being the tiny (8%) ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia.

An estimated 2,237 top and high achieving students of Indian Origin in Malaysia especially from the poor and working class who have been denied Malaysian Government scholarships and other scholarships, Matriculation and Public University places contrary to the Malaysian Federal Constitution. The Malaysian Government refuses to engage us in a discussion to resolve this critical issue.

We now turn to the Government of India as your goodselves have a publicly stated interest in People of Indian Origin the world over. In many parts of the world, People of Indian origin contribute towards development in India. In the same vein, in other parts of the world, the People of Indian origin need development assistance as in our case and the Government of India can contribute.

We would like to appeal to your Excellency to allocate 2,237 full scholarships and University places in India in the Medical, Pharmaceutical, Engineering, Aeronautical, I.T, Actuarial Science, Bio Technology and Dentistry faculties in Indian Institutions of Higher learning that is recognized by the Government of Malaysia for our top and high achieving Malaysian Indian students who are segregated and denied JPA scholarships etc, PTPTN loans, Matriculation and University places by the Malay-sian Government.

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia (Equality before the law) and Article 12- rights in respect of education of the Federal Constitution. Article 12(1) reads, "without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race and descent or place of birth."

Year in and year out over the past 40 years or so, thousands of especially top and high achieving poor Malaysian Indian students have been denied JPA and other scholarships, Matriculation & University places. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s claims One Malaysia policy, but top and high achieving poor Indian students are being denied the opportunities from becoming graduates, professionals and reputable citizens who would take Malaysia into the international arena.

This denial of fair and equal educational opportunities has forced an alarming number of poor Indians into the world of crime.

In any part of the world scholarships and study loans are granted by the government to deserving students without fail but only in One Malaysia is this discrimination, exclusion and segregation against the Malaysian Indian students are going on and on.

A prime example is Prahsanna who ever since her childhood days grew up with the ambition to of becoming a medical doctor. Her parents, teachers and the community leaders motivated her to pursue medicine and shine in her academic qualifications. She took up the challenge. She worked hard day and night and proved that she is capable of achieving her ambition of becoming a doctor by scoring 11As in the Science stream. However her dreams were shattered when her applications to enter Matriculation, local Universities and JPA scholarship were turned down without any reason. And when she approached the Putrajaya officials she was told to drop her ambition! How would a sober person justify this! Her father is a retiree and her mother is a housewife. Who would help this poor young high achiever’s dream to come true if not the government? And this is just one and being the latest example and the tip of the iceberg to the even the sixth generation especially poor Malaysian Indian students being segregated and excluded from the national higher education opportunities of Malaysia.

Malay Muslim students from Pasir Salak MRSM who scored 7 Ds and 8 Es managed to secure a place in Matriculation colleges whereas Menaka who scored 8As from the same college is rejected. She was like a beggar knocking every government agencies’ door to get mercy. Is this the One Malaysia concept Prime Minister Najib is advocating?

Niquesan Nair was in the PLKN National Service Training while waiting for his SPM results. At the Camp they were taught of One Malaysia, that we are all One and happily sang the song Satu (One) Malaysia. But when he got his results, he scored 10A’s but was denied JPA scholarship, Matriculation and University places while his Malay Muslim friends in PLKN who scored 2A’s and 3A’s got seats in Matriculation/University and were relieved from PLKN training. At this young and tender age Niquesan Nair for the first time felt that just because of his Indian minority ethnicity he was denied the opportunity to contribute to his country.

While Malaysian Indians are denied their constitutional rights as enshrined in Article 8 and Article 12 of the Federal Constitution, the Higher Education Minister Khalid Nordin allocates scholarships to 363 foreign Muslim students to study in local Universities and upon completion they are to be given the opportunity to work here and the option to take up Malaysian Permanent Residence status (Malaysian Nanban 6/7/2010 page 1). In University Institute Technologi Mara (UITM) out of the 200,000 places, 10% are allocated to foreign Muslim students while even the sixth generation Malaysian born Indian students are completely (100%)denied entry. This is Najib Razak’s One Malaysia policy.

About 7,600 students were identified as “Excellent Students” or “Pelajar Cemerlang" upon the SPM results being announced this year (2010). There are 40,000 Matriculation seats available (UM 2/11/08 at page 4). Surely all 7,600 students should have secured places in matriculation colleges at the very least and there should have been zero complaints. But we alone have 69 SPM, STPM and Polytechnic students in our list who have complained to us that they were denied JPA scholarships, Matriculation and University places.

The above cases are only the tip of iceberg. We estimate 2,237 top and high achieving Indian students who have been denied JPA and other Scholarships, Matriculation & University places for the 2010 academic year.

We have requested that pre University STPM to be abolished and create a one pre-university examination in One Malaysia for all Malaysian students so that the higher education opportunities are given out fairly to all deserving students especially so as not to exclude and segregate the Indian poor.

As it is education, which is the responsibility of the federal government (and similarly by any other government in any other part of the world), it is not fair because it is race, supremacy and segregation based as opposed to what should rightly be needs based. Through one Google or Wikipedia search the whole world would know that our education system is not fair. How can it be fair when we have different pre-university programmes? Many qualified poor Malaysian Indian students have been denied their basic rights to higher education in contravention of Article 8 (Equality before the law) and Article 12 (no discrimination in higher educational institutions entry financed by the government) of the Federal Constitution. They have to go through the tougher path of STPM without any guarantee of securing a place in the Universities. They are growing up with inequality and injustices in every corner of their lives. How then do they become a part of the true meaning of One Malaysia?

Whereas almost all Malay Muslim students opt for the matriculation programmes. Almost all of the over 40,0000 places in the eleven Matriculation colleges nationwide are reserved for malay muslim students in the 10 month course as opposed to the two year STPM course (Wikipedia). This has become a source of contention because matriculation students, who will enter university one over year earlier compared with their STPM peers, are considered on equal standing with STPM only in Malaysia for the purposes of University admission though it is significantly easier than STPM with a streamed down Form 6 syllabus.

Not all applicants for matriculation are admitted and the selection criteria have never been made public which has led to the perception that the entry has not been fair. The matriculation programme is not as rigorous as the STPM. The matriculation programme has come under some criticism as it is the general consensus that this programme is much easier than the sixth form programme leading to the STPM and serves to help malay muslim students enter the public university easily. Having been introduced after the supposed abolishment of racial quota based admission into local public Universities, the matriculation programme continues the role of its predecessor, albeit in a modified form. It is considered easier because in the matriculation programme the teachers set and mark the final exams that their students sit for whereas in the STPM the final exam is standardised and exam papers are exchanged between schools in different states to ensure unbiased marking. Also, the matriculation programme adopts a semester basis examination (2 semesters in the programme) whilst STPM involves only one final examination, covering all 2 years’ syllabus in one go. The scope and depth of the syllabus in matriculation is also lesser to that of STPM. The disparity between the programmes does not end there, for it is a known fact that in critical courses offered by local public universities (such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Engineering, Accountant, Law, Bio Science etc), almost 70% of the students comprise matriculation students. On the contrary, STPM students form the majority in courses which are less in demand, such as a Bachelor in Science. Defenders of the matriculation programme have described the two programmes as distinct and different, drawing the analogy of an apple and an orange. However, having served the same purpose (i.e. as an entrance requirement to Universities), we criticize the matriculation programme as a blatant practice of double standards.

The following is a fact – bright Indian students are systematically denied their entitlements for Government Scholarships, for admission to Public Universities especially in critical courses and for the Matriculation programme and this is becoming a more serious problem as more Indian students begin to excel academically as has been highlighted by HRP in the past few weeks.

Our sincere question is why does the UMNO led Government not become transparent about the selection process? Why do we need double standards in 1 Malaysia? Why hasn’t the public Universities and scholarship list and it’s selection criteria not been made transparent and public?

70% of the Indians are from the poor and hardcore poor, category and the only way for them to break out of poverty is through education and they are denied even this very basic right.

We have requested to Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak and our King DYMM Yang Dipertua Agong Tuanku Mizan to constitute a Royal Commission of Enquiry further to Article 93 of the Federal Constitution to address the exclusion and segregation of especially the poor even the sixth generation Malaysian born ethnic minority Indian students from JPA, Mara, Petronas, 13 Yayasan Negeri, Yayasan TNB, Telekom Malaysia, Bank Negara, Sime Bank and other Scholarships, PTPTN study loans, Matriculation and University places. Till today we have not receive any reply from them on this critical issue.

We hereby also request to meet Indian Prime Minister His Execellency Mr.Manmohan Singh when he visits Malaysia on 9/11/2010

We also urgently request to meet Indian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur which has not responded to.

We finally request to address the Pravasi Bharathiya Divas Conference in India 7-9th January 2011 on pressing Malaysian Indian problems on the first day of the Conference.

We hereby look forward to your favorable reply on this critical Indian problem at

your earliest convenience.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,



Information Chief

Human Rights Party Malaysia HRP (pro tem) and HINDRAF



The Hon. Mr.Shri S.M.Krishna Minister of External Affairs Room no169, South Block, By fax: 911123013254 New Delhi- 110011 Email:

The Hon.Shri Vayalar Ravi Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs 9th Floor, Akbar Bhavan, Chanakya Puri,

New Delhi-110021, By fax: 91-11-24197985 India. Email:

The Hon. Mr. Sri Lal Krishna Advani 30 Prithvi Raj Road, New Delhi-110003, By fax: 01123017419 India. Email:

Madam Susma Swaraj Opposition Leader,India 44, Parliament House, By fax: 23017470 New Delhi -110011

Mr.Vijay Jolly International Cell Head, Head BJP, Khasra No. 322, Neb Sarai, Near Ignou, New Delhi- 68 Email:

Mr.Rajesh Gogna Advocate 8, Todermal Lane, Bengali Market, Mandi House, By fax: 011-23752935 New Delhi-110001 Email:

Photos: Memorandum to PM of India on 63rd Independence Day of India requesting 2,237 full scholarships and University places in India for top and high achieving Malaysian Indian students segregated. (15/8/2010)

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