Thursday, September 23, 2010

HRP tells NRD to be non race and religious bias in eliminating Indian statelessness and freedom of religion.

(HRP Report dated 21/09/2010)
P9210420On 13/8/2010 our National Adviser Mr.N.Ganesan, P.Uthayakumar, W.Sambulingam, S.Thiagarajan and Manimaran had an official three (3) hour meeting with EnP9210438 Mohd Azmin bin Hassan, the Director of Births, Deaths and Adoptions and twelve (12) of his senior officers at their Putrajaya office. At this meeting we had emphasized on an Independent and non race and religious bias National Registration Department in eliminating statelessness and upholding the Constitutional Right to freedom of religion.

Having laid the groundwork we promised to come back with the real cases.
And today 21/9/10 we did just that. We brought to the National Registration Department (NRD) Headquarters in Putrajaya ten (10) Malaysian Indian victims from three different families of forced conversion or forced to Islam namely the families of Rajina a/p Krishnan ( whose name on the Identity Card is Rajina Bt Mohd Zaini @ Krishnan), Rani a/p Kandasamy ( whose name on the Birth Cerificate is Jamilah binti Abdul Kadir) and Banggarama a/p Subramaniam (whose name on the Identity Card is Siti Hasnah Vangarama binti Abdullah).

We arrived at the National Registration Department at about 9 a.m and were attended to by one Puan Azliza Binti Shaharudin the Timbalan Pengarah 1, BahagianP9210412 Kelahiran, Kematian & Anak Angkat .Upon perusal of the documents Pn Azliza Binti Shaharudin rejected the applications on the grounds that these three cases should be brought to the Syariah Court for the change of name and religion from Islam to Hindu and then to come back to apply for their Identity Cards and Birth Certificates with the Syariah Court Order.

We instead gave a briefing on the Constitutional, Legal and the United Nations(UN) International Covenant provisions to Puan Azlina and her officers as outlined hereinbelow in items No 1 to 6. She then called in Mr Nik Hassan Husin bin Nik Abdullah (Penolong Pegawai Pendaftaran Tinggi) to attend to the cases.

Another special officer Pn.Zabariah from Bahagian daftar lewat was assigned to attend to Rejina’s son case where he has no birth certificate since he was born. The National Registration Department office in Johor had at the birth of her son Tinesh (2) refused to include the name of his natural father Mahendran a/l HabimaDSC00176nan and his religion as
Hindu in his Birth Certificate.

Then another officer Rabiatul attended to Bangaramma’s two (2) children Hisyanthini and Kanagaraj to fill in the application forms to change their religious status to Hindu and include their father’s name Sockalingam a/l Suppiah into the birth certificates which column had been filled up with the words “Maklumat Tidak Diperolehi” (details not available).

We had questioned the said NRD Deputy Director how could this be when the natural father and mother had confirmed that Sockalingam is the natural father and that this is in contravention of Section 5 (1) (a) and (b) of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1975. (Note: the connotations can be so derogatory so as to cast imputations that the child could be an illegitimate child).
Upon completion, Banggarama and Rajina’s son’s application were forwarded to En.Nik Hassan bin Nik Abdullah for affirmation (oath).

Upon completion of Rejina’s son’s application, I was called aside with Mr Mohan to the meeting room by En.Nik Hassan to get feedback on the statelessness and P9210481the forced conversion to Islam cases we were handling. We raised several other issues on the stateless and forced religious status cases faced by Malaysian Indians. En Nik Hassan conceded that the JAKIM’s rule in handling the conversion case is cruel. He mentioned that they had meetings with Jakim and Jais personnell and with Majlis Raja-Raja Melayu and recently had discussed this matter but they are yet to come back with a solution since all the State Rulers will have to meet and discuss this matter to come to a solution.

Later, Rani was told by another officer En.Mohd Ashgar of the Birth Death and Adoption that the amendment in the Birth Certificates for her children could not be changed as the birth certificate is only issued once in their life time and it is to remain the history of their birth and the application to change the name and the status from Islam to hindu is rejected by virtue of Section 15(1) of the Registration Births and Deaths Act 1975. However they informed us that they could use Section 27(3) of the same Act to make corrections to the name and their religious status. Rani’s case was then handed over to the officer in charge of Identity Cards En.Zulkiflee (Penolong Pengarah Bahagian Kad pengenalan) and Puan Azliza to do the changes in the name and the status of their religion. Here we had submitted the six applications of:-

1. Rani-to change her name and religions status

2. Muniandy (Rani’s husband)- to change his name and the religious status (Mustapha Muniandy bin Abdullah)

3. Ganesan(son)-Name and Religious status (Abdul bin Mustapha Muniandy)

4. Chitra Devi (daughter)- to change Name and religion(Chitra devi binti Mustapha Muniandy)
Note: Chitra Devi was forced to stop school at 16 years of age as she was forced wear a tudung and attend Islamic religious classes. 

5. Nagendran (son) –Name and religious status (Hamzah bin Mustapha Muniandy)

6. Vijaya Letchumy (daughter) Hindu name but whose religious status in the NRD computer is Islam and cannot get registered to her Hindu husband Tamilarasan a/l M. Rajendran.

DSC00186The National Registration Department officers told us that they would revert to us within two (2) months time.
It took the whole day lasting over 8 hours including the lunch break with seven (7) NRD officers working to complete this application process and we were the last persons to come out of the National Registration Department office building. But all in the spirit of the Hindraf struggle. Also with me were the HRP 4M officials ie Mano, Manimaran, Mohan and Maniam (Kapar). And next week we would be taking the second batch of ten (10) stateless Malaysian Indians.
Central Committee Member HRP

1) By virtue of Section 6 of the Registration of Births and Deaths (Special Provisions). Act 1975 “A Registrar (of Births) shall record such particulars as may be prescribed in a report book in the prescribed form concerning any birth or death given to him by any person qualified to do so.
Section 5 of the same Act outlines persons qualified to give Information.

1) The following persons shall be qualified to give information concerning a birth, that is to say:
(a) father of the child;
(b) mother of the child;
(c) the occupier of the house in which the child was, to the knowledge of the occupier, born;
(d) any person present at the birth;
(e) any person having charge of the child; and
(f) any other person having personal knowledge of birth.

2) Article 11 of the Federal Constitution (Freedom of religion) and 11(1) “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and to propogate it”.

3) The Federal Constitution is the highest law of the country and is above all other laws, with no disrespect including Islamic laws and are only subsidiary to the Federal Constitution.

4) Article 14 of the Federal Constitution read with Part II of the Second Schedule provides for citizenship by “operation of law” and “for every person born within the Federation of whose parents one at least is at the time of birth either a citizen or permanently resident in the Federation.

5) Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (which Malaysia ratified in 1995 provides) “The Child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

6) States parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

Origins: Indian community in Malaya

by Vighneswaran Vithiatharan

The peninsula of Malaya, as it was known before the formation of Malaysia in 1963, has a long history of external social and cultural influence. Its strategic location on the sea route between India and China meant that it came under the direct influence of diverse social and cultural forces from India, China, Thailand, Cham (Vietnam), Indonesia, the Middle-East, and the West from the 16th century.

Estimates place the earliest arrival of Indians in the Peninsula of Malaya region as approximately 1,700 years ago. The Indian travelers are known to have referred to this area as Shuvarnabumi or land of gold. Indisputable evidence of early Indian presence can be found in the ancient Hindu relics and excavations at Takuapa on the Kra Isthmus, Candi Bukit Batu Pahat and Bujang valley in Kedah.
More significantly, the influence of the centuries-old trade-initiated relationship with India can be observed in Malay culture. The Sanskrit influence on the Malay language, the Hindu epic of Ramayana still exhibited in the form of shadow play (wayang kulit), some cultural rituals (e.g. shaving the head of a new born child) and the notion of kingship still preserved in the Malay courts are just some of the things that bear testimony to the Indian influence. However, Malay legends hold no memories of a Hindu or Buddhist conversion, like the dramatic depictions of the adoption of Islam, as the merging of Indian with Malay proceeded imperceptibly, deepening and enriching an already vital culture. These early Indian travelers did not settle in the Malay Peninsula.

According to scholar S.Arasaratnam, “with the decline of Hindu shipping and mercantile activity and the expansion of Islamic political and economic power in India, the number of Hindu traders coming to Malaya declined, giving place to the more powerful and better equipped Muslim merchants of Bengal,Golconda, Coramandel and Gujerat. These traders intermarried with the local Malay population and absorbed much of the Malay Muslim cultural and religious practices.

In contemporary Malaysia, the descendants of these traders identify more strongly with the Malay community rather than the Indian community. The Indian immigrants who came later, in the19th Century, as a result of British intervention in the Malay states were however largely Hindu.