Thursday, March 17, 2011

'Interlok' panel 'withdrawal' now in question

The withdrawal of three members from the government-established panel to review the Interlok novel yesterday is now in question.

According to the panel chief, Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, the panel had already completed its duties on March 4.

“Based on the terms of reference for the independent panel, the panel completed its duties after agreeing to submit its proposals to the (education) minister,” said Shamsul Amri in a text message to Malaysiakini.

The proposals were submitted to Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on March 8, said Shamsul Amri, who is also a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturer.

Shamsul Amri also clarified that he did not attend the panel's meeting with Muhyiddin in Parliament house yesterday as he is currently overseas.

During the meeting, three representatives of the Indian community withdrew from the eight-member panel.

They claim that the panel had reneged on their earlier consensus to make about 100 amendments to the novel, which is used in secondary school as a Malay literature text.

Critics claim that the novel had portrayed the Indian community in negative light. Some amendments were also proposed concerning the portrayal of the Malay and Chinese communities.

Shamsul Amri refused to comment on the consensus that was arrived at by the panel, but instead said that a copy of the proposals can be obtained from those who had withdrawn from the panel.

“Every panel member has a copy,” he said.

Deadlock over Interlok continues

'It is a shame that such a simple problem involving the 'Interlok' issue has been allowed by the authority to drag on for so long.'

Indian members quit 'Interlok' review panel

Gerard Samuel Vijayan: Why are the government and the Umno lackeys on the panel so stubborn and obstinate about this book? Can't they find any other Malay literature textbook that is not controversial, is unifying in its content and promotes national unity, tolerance and acceptance in its context?

Why stick to a book that consists of stereotypes, racial profiling and derogatory terms? Is the Indian unhappiness with this book seen as a provocation to the Malay hegemony that is so prevalent in our system today?

If the book is nothing but a literary work then is it acceptable to use a text that refers to Malays as generally lazy and stupid with a penchant for rape, incest and drug addiction all under the guise of literary freedom and social context?

The government is being very stupid. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that Malays can use all sorts of racist, derogatory and offensive words and gestures towards the non-Malays and get away with it with the tacit support of the Umno regime, but this is destructive.

Anonymous_4076: Where does this leave those of us who oppose the use of such a book? If we are opposed to the use of inappropriate books in schools, are we prepared to be involved to make a change even if through passive means?

Are we as a society - setting aside our political or racial backgrounds - prepared to mobilise ourselves to make a difference? Are we ready to think of the 'Interlok' matter as being a colossal mistake by the government, rather than dismissing the issue as being merely offensive to one racial group?

If we agree the decision of the government is wrong, the time has come for us to stand together and tell the government with one loud voice that it has to change its decision or face the wrath of the people.

Louis: Why is 'Interlok' so important to the nation? Does it contain some secret formulae which will help our students to be future rocket scientists and potential Nobel prize winners?

This problem can only be solved by none other than the education minister himself, Muhyiddin Yassin. Just direct that the book be replaced by a more acceptable text and all is solved.

It looks like some unforseen forces are dictating terms and conditions for him to follow. It is ashamed that such a simple problem has been allowed by the authority to drag on for so long.

Muthuran: DPM Muhyiddin Yassin should have left it entirely to the independent panel on the 'Interlok' to decide. Why set up the panel in the first place if the DPM wants to override it after the panel members have made a decision? The Indian trio were right to pull out from the panel.

Phoenix Star 88: I urge Indian members of the panel not to be too picky or oversensitive. The main issue had always been the 'pariah' word and they have agreed to do away with it. Making 100 changes to a book is quite impractical. The characters in Interlok should be judged as individuals rather than representations of their race.

Indian students should also avoid pulling stunts like returning the book to their principals. A principal cannot change a textbook even if he/she wanted to. Remember, failing BM means failing the entire SPM.

Rosmin Shahril: All the Indian panellists who withdrew have my highest respect. Thank you sirs for being principled. These Umno leaders are certainly playing politics and have their own agendas and are not there to solve the problem but to break the very fabric of our society. Just vote them out in the next GE. Wasalam

JBGUY: My respect is for the three Indians who stood their ground. Will the MIC, PPP, Gerakan, IPF and Makkal Sakti Party Indians have the same courage and walk out of the BN coalition if this issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Indian community?

For far too long, the Indians have put up with all the oppressive and discriminatory practices of the Umno-led government, it has come to this point, where the Indians must regain their lost pride and status. Enough is enough, stop grovelling and walk with your heads held up.

Bluemountains: The Indians, in particular HRP (Human Rights Party), should learn from the Christians on the Bible issue. The Christians have shown what people power can do and have successfully forced them to raise the white flag.

The Indians should do likewise by waking up the Indian community through group briefings and not by protesting at a rally and unnecessarily subjecting themselves to police arrest. The entire spectrum of the Indian society needs to be adequately informed before they cast their vote at the 13th GE.

Changeagent: This whole episode has played right into the hands of Umno. The next election is all a numbers game, and Umno have already done their sums. They know that even by not giving in to the demands of the Indian community, BN can still continue to count on their support at the ballot box.

At the same time, they can also expect an increase in support from the extreme Malays, ie. those who empathise and identify with Perkasa's mission. The end game is that they will win just enough votes to form government again.

Joker: Indians are BN's fixed deposits. Felda too. Sabah and Sarawak are major long-term fixed deposits. Both states rank among the poorest in Malaysia despite rich in natural resources. Felda was incorporated and settlers now are struggling on top of being cheated by Felda.

Indians are the poorest among the three main races in Malaysia and are disproportionately represented in the prison system. Anyone still wants to be BN's fixed deposit?

Indian members quit 'Interlok' review panel

(Malaysiakini) The controversy over the 'Interlok' rose several notches today when the eight-member independent panel to review and amend the novel saw all its ethnic Indian members pull out this afternoon.

indian plight forum 391106 uthaya shankarFollowing a meeting held at Parliament building with Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today, all three ethnic Indian panellists declared they were withdrawing from the government-created body.

According to writer Uthaya Shankar SB (right), the decision was taken after it became apparent that the other members of the panel had changed their minds and rejected one-by-one the 100 modifications that had been recommended to render the book appropriate for consumption by Form 5 students.

“We feel we were betrayed,” Uthaya Shankar told Malaysiakini. 

He claims that earlier, all eight panellists had reached a consensus over the matter.

Besides Uthaya, two others who withdrew from the panel are Global Aminuddin Baki Universiti education centre director Prof NS Rajendran and former education ministry officer G Krishnabahawan. 

Earlier today, all eight panel members led by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) ethnic studies institute director Shamsul Amri Baharuddin met Muhyiddin at Parliament to discuss the results of their studies.
'DPM disagreed'
According to Uthaya, everyone at the meeting had unanimously agreed that the word “pariah”, which denotes a lower caste in Tamil society, be removed from the novel. 

However, Muhyiddin was not agreeable about 100 other amendments and requested that it be reduced. 

“Muhyiddin then left the meeting. We continued discussing about the novel for three hours. But all the original amendments were rejected,” said Uthaya in a very dissatisfied tone. 

Among others, Uthaya and two others had wanted a correction to the word “tali (string)” used in the book to described the ceremonial gold necklace used in weddings. The correct word should be “thali”.

“They (other panelist) said this is not sensitive. How would they know? We are Indians. We know what is sensitive and what is not,” said Uthaya, who is a celebrated Malay writer.

He refused to call his action and that of two others a form of protest and instead said that they did what was “appropriate”. 

“We were brought in to represent the Indian community. Without us, I don't know what will happen,” he said when asked if the panel was doomed to failure. 

The panel's meeting after Muhyiddin left was cut short after the trio withdrew.  

Indian elite plus Malays and Chinese will not stand up for Indian poor however deserving, however serious, their plight may be.

url indian elite
Just see the attention, care and concern Teoh Beng Hock and Aminulrasyid got as opposed to the hundreds of P. Gunasegarans’ who was killed at the Sentul Police lock up on the same day as Teoh Beng Hock. And the hundreds of unheard of Muniandys’, Kuppusamys’ and Ramasamys’.
(Note A. Kugan being the exception because of the up beat Hindraf struggle then with their lawyers still being imprisoned.
(see The Star 15/3/2011 at page N 24)
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice

Indian elite

All Malaysian born Indians are Bumiputeras. You don’t have to be Malay muslim to be a bumiputera as is claimed by the UMNO racist junta.

url All Malaysian
(see The Star 15/3/2011 at page N 31)’

All Malaysian

HRP Vice President K. Tamil Selvam’s house burnt down in suspected police Ops Padam Hindraf at 5.00 a.m @ Kg Bengali, Rawang. Vice President K. Tamil Selvam’s house burnt down in suspected police Ops Padam Hindraf at 5.00 a.m @ Kg Bengali, Rawang.