Monday, September 6, 2010

Stateless in Malaysia - the poor suffer most

(Malaysiakini) Fifteen year old Citra Dorai was born in a prison in Alor Setar and her knowledge about the circumstances surrounding her birth is rather vague.

She has been illiterate all her life as she does not have a birth certificate or an identity card which makes it impossible for her to register for any school.

stateless persons gather perai 050910 citra dorai on rightHer mother died recently and her father has left her and two other siblings in the care of an aunt, and Citra (left) is totally uncertain of her future.

"I want to be like everyone else, to go to school, and to have something to do in the future," she said, teary-eyed.

Citra, is among 40-odd stateless persons who turned up at the Human Rights Party's office in Perai today, to fill in their national registration forms.

More than 20 children, with ages ranging from two to 15 years, were accompanied by their equally stateless parents, to try and reverse their situation by registering their plight.

The effort is part of the HRP's national campaign to assist stateless persons, as most of them come from the Indian community.

Citra is also part of the 150,000 Malaysians who were born and bred in the country but who continues to suffer as stateless persons for various reasons ranging from not having parents' with citizenship to refusal to follow suit when a spouse or parent converts to Islam.
Disappointing meet
On Aug 13, HRP leaders met with NRD officers in Putrajaya, but came home feeling disappointed that the officers gave the impression that the problem was not as serious as they had made it out to be, said the party's national advisor N. Ganesan.

"But we have proven our point, in just a month, without even a campaign, only word by mouth, we have managed to gather some 40 stateless people in this office," he said.

stateless persons gather perai 050910 n ganesan"We want the NRD to take ownership of this problem and try to resolve this issue; it cannot deny that this is a big problem," Ganesan (right) added.

Ganesan, a lawyer by profession, reiterated that what has been constitutionally guaranteed has been systematically and procedurally denied to the poor and vulnerable.

"This has contributed further to their marginalisation and continuing dispossession from mainstream Malaysia," he added.

Meanwhile, the NRD has responded to the allegations by stating that the mobile registration program known as MyDaftar has been travelling to several Tamil schools and Indian estates to register undocumented children this year.

Its public relations officer Janisiah Mohd Noor stated in an email reply, that for cases of mixed marriage sans conversion, the matter should be referred to the appropriate religious department for more clarification.

She also stressed that the parents must be in legal wedlock to be registered as the child's parent.

Janisiah claimed that the main reason for this statelessness plaguing the poor Malaysian Indians is due to their ignorance of law, unregistered marriages, and domestic problems.

stateless persons gather perai 050910 crowdGanesan said the forms provided by the NRD was complicated that even an educated, un-marginalised middle class person would find a daunting task to fill in all their particulars.

"Please be reminded that these people with the stateless problems are from the working class; everyday they go to the NRD and are rejected due to incomplete forms, they lose a day's wage," he said.

"They have to return again and again before they get their forms rights and for many of these working class people, they simply cannot afford the time, so they let things continue to hang," he added.

UMNO Education Minister Muhyiddin Yasin’s racial discrimination of burnt down Kulai Besar Tamil school and all 523 Tamil schools in Malaysia.

This afternoon at about 2.00pm a group of 100 students and parents of the Kulai Besar Tamil school ,Johor and HRP supporters by prior written appointment with the Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin came to see him at Parliament house to present a memorandom on the burnt down and dilapidated state of the Kulai Besar Tamil school and almost all of the 523 Tamil schools in One Malay-sia.

This apprixiamtly 100 year old Tamil school which unlike almost all

the Malay and Chinese schools was never rebuilt in the 53 years of Malaysia’s Independence. This school was partly burnt down and is still endangering the lives of the 1299 pupils studying therein.

But the racist and religious supremacist UMNO Education Minister does not care as it only concerns the poor and politically powerless Indians . And neither has the 82 MP’s and top leaders form PKR,DAP and PAS including their 11 Indian mandore MPs lend voice to the Indian poor.

As usual UMNO sent in their Indian mandore policeman to create an Indian versus Indian fight situation as per UMNO’s 53 year old strategy. But HRP did bite the bait and completely ignored these Indian police mandores.

At the press conference HRP Information Chief S.Jayathas expressed disappointment that the Education Minister or his representative had refused to be present and does not care about the plight of the 523 tamil school in Malaysia.This is also in contravention of Article 12 of the Federal Constitution (no discrimination in education) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which is entitled to compulsory free education.Jayathas asked why does this only happen to tamil Schools in Malaysia? Jayathas also announced HRP and HINDRAF’S call for all 523 Tamil Schools in Malaysia to be made fully financially aided government schools with equal status, facilities and teaching staff like any other malay muslim school after having granted all these Tamil schools land and they be gazette accordingly.

HRP Central Committee Member Mahesan of Johor Bahru whose daughter also studies at this school said that pupils are forced to study in “khemah Kenduri”and Shipping Cabins.causing school children to get wet in the rain and falling sick and being on medical leave and studying under punishing conditions. He also asked why temporary classrooms have not been built despite it being over three months now.

As this UMNO Education Minister or his representative refused to be present despite HRP’s written letter . S.Jayathas , Johor based HRP Central Committee member Mahesan and a group of the Kulai Besar Tamil school pupils laid their memorandum down at the enterance to Parliament, sang the Hindraf trademark song Tholvi Nelai Yena Ninaithaal and shouts of Hindraf Valga,manitha urimai valga and then dispersed peacefully .

UMNO thinks it can ignore HRP but we warn UMNO that it was these kinds of even smaller protests that eventually led to the 100,000 Hindraf Rally on 25th November 2007.Slowly but surely Hindraf & HRP is picking up steam to wipe out UMNO in the 2012/2013 general election.

The official memorandum will be sent to Putrajaya for the Wednesday cabinet meeting on 8/9/10.

The protestors then dropped by to the HRP HQ in Bangsar for a one hour briefing by P.Uthayakumar on the next course of action.

A consensus was derieved to get all 523 Tamil schools especially those with similar problems to gather peacefully outside the UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak ‘s office in Putrajaya on the 25th of November 2010 if this Kulai Besar Tamil school problem and that of all the other 523 are not attended to and all the 523 Tamil schools are not being made fully aided.


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