Friday, March 18, 2011

Small or not, Interlok errors should be corrected

'Muhyiddin claims that they were minor. Who should know better how to spell words on Indian ceremonial matters - non-Indians or Indians?'

DPM: Interlok walkout due to misunderstanding

Kit P: When authorities say a problem such as the Interlok issue is to be handled by an 'independent panel', there is a reasonable expectation that the panel will be allowed to do its job without undue interference, and its recommendations will be accepted even if Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin may not really agree with it.

Otherwise don't call it an independent panel - that amounts to a public relations fraud or a whitewash.

Wira: I remember the 'Malay' entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica drew frenzied protests from the community because they were stereotyped as lazy. I don't understand why a novel published locally which insulted the sensitivity of the Indians be allowed to be used in our schools. Have our educators lost their common sense?

Jimmy Ng: Muhyiddin claims that they were minor issues? Who does he think he is to decide whether they were minor? Why not leave it to the committee to iron out and decide whether they were minor or not?

Who should know better how to spell correctly words on Indian ceremonial matters - non-Indians or Indians? My bet is that he is putting political considerations first and foremost above other things.

Gerard Samuel Vijayan: The solution is very simple - withdraw 'Interlok' and replace it with another text by some other Malay writer. Why can't it be done?

What is wrong with amending minor words and phrases since the entire book is under review? If there are spelling mistakes, grammatical and contextual errors, shouldn't these be corrected? Or is the review only confined to the word 'pariah'?

'Interlok' is not a suitable book to be made compulsory reading in schools. It contains many factual and cultural errors, racial profiling and stereotypes, and derogatory terms to refer to Indians and Chinese and even the Malays. So why keep such a controversial and divisive book as a compulsory text?

Teacher: I agree. It is a good novel but it is not suitable for schools. Will the teacher who has to teach it be able to handle it with all the negative publicity it has received? Students will tease each other and this will not create unity in class. It may be a cause for a fight outside the class.

Please withdraw the book. Don't create more problems for teachers.

53 Hindraf M.S. prosecuted: Urgent appeal for contributions for bail!

To date RM 111,000 bail has been imposed on 53 Hindraf Makkal Sakthi supporters at the Kuala Lumpur, Selayang, Ipoh and Seremban magistrates court todate (14/3/11), and we have received RM 18,870 in contributions from the grateful concerned public. We need to cover the expected shortfall of approximately RM 200,000!
Contributions for bail can be made to:
Trustees: Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Accountants.
Pathmarajah & Co
Maybank Account No: 514075011112

B31, 3rd Floor, Podium, Plaza Pekeliling,
Jalan Tun Razak.
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: Sudha 40427042/Vijay 013-3407197/Dr.Paraman-0192358284
We, FRIENDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, are appalled by this act of targeting key leaders and their well wishers in the hope that this democratic movement could be clamped forever. We feel sorry for those persons who were detained and some who suffered injuries. We also understand this is an act to prevent Hindraf/HRP leaders from contesting in the next elections, in the vain hope that should they contest the charge will be activated a la Tian Chua and force a by-election.
A group of friends and well wishers have stepped forward as Friends of Human Rights Defenders, to raise funds and post bail and related expenses for those 100 odd persons who have been prosecuted or expected to be charged.
The money collected will be placed in a bank account operated by independent accountants as ‘clients account’ and will be disbursed solely for bail, legal fees and allowances for those prosecuted for those who stand up for human rights.
We shall administer these funds in the most professional manner, account for the funds disbursed and make it public by placing the details of collections in the Human Rights party website
We urge all Malaysians, including Chinese and Malays to show their support and contribute as approximately is require for bail, for legal fees and allowances for those prosecuted for standing up. For human rights concerns all, not just the Indians. Fighting for human rights is fighting for all. In first world civil societies, the majority bends backwards to stand up and protect the minorities. That would be the definition of a civil society!
Thanking you.
Friends of Hindraf Makkal Sakthi and Human Rights Party
Amidst the various unfounded and malicious allegations, HINDRAF is publishing its accounts to the public for their scrutiny.
Hindraf was formed in December 2005 and it only came to limelight in August 2007 after I had filed a class action against the UK Government on Malaysia’s 50th Anniversary independence celebration on August 30th 2007 in pursuit of the systematic marginalized state of the Malaysian Indians.
The accounts prepared by an independent Public Accounting firm regulated in Malaysia for the funds that were collected is attached herewith The full accounts are also available at our website at , , and
A brief run down on the accounts are as follows -
a) Total funds received from Hindraf Enterprise and subsequently placed in the care of trusted individuals is RM 119,814.20
b) A further sum of RM110, 000.00 was cash collected through personal donations, which was initially placed in the hands of Paparaidu a/l Veeraman has been placed in interest bearing clients account of Messrs Kumar Hashimah & Co.
c) A sum of RM35,000.00 was banked into my credit card account by ASP Vasanthakumar whilst I was away from the country on 8th December 2007which is now placed in the hands of the accountancy firm.
d) Total fines paid for Hindraf supporters charged in court and for their travelling allowances, accommodation etc., is RM 111,706.60
e) A sum of RM 50,000.00 that was collected from members of the public to bail P.Uthayakumar was handed over to Ganapathi Rao a/l Veeraman, one of the ISA detainees who had nominated his brother Paparaidu a/l Veeraman to stand as bailor and deposit the said RM50,000.00 in court under the name of Paparaidu a/l Veeraman. Paparaidu and/or Ganapathi Rao had refused to return to HINDRAF the said bail sum of RM50, 000.00 vide his lawyer’s letter dated 14.12.2009.
f) The total amount collected by Hindraf from the account of Hindraf Enterprise is reflected in our accounts. This is only the sum that we are aware of the portion of the money that came into our possession to our trusted HINDRAF allies by the transfers made by ASP Vasanthakumar.
g) The total amount collected for and on behalf of Hindraf by Hindraf Enterprise has to be made public and accounted for by ASP Vasanthakumar. We are only accounting for that portion of the money that came into our possession by the transfers made by ASP Vasanthakumar.
h) The funds collected were for the purpose of dealing with the costs of the cases arising from the various arrests of HINDRAF activists. The funds were specifically never collected for the purpose of the civil suit filed in the British Court as some have alleged.
In summary therefore, the total amount that we have to account for is RM451,617.51. The expenses we have incurred so far is RM163,278.05. The balance is RM 288,339.46 which includes RM 82,182.28 nationwide fund raising dinners organised in 2008 to collect for Hindraf activities less RM61,090.00 receivables i.e. the sum of 227,249.46 is entrusted with the Public Accountant as of 31st December 2009.
I now wish to comment on the collected funds and on the various allegations on the misappropriation of the funds.
From the summary of the accounts above, one can see that none of the money received from the public by Hindraf has been used to finance any purpose other than what it had been collected for, least of all my stay here in the UK. These accounts show the lie, mala fide and mischief in their allegations.
When ASP Vasanthakumar first came to our attention about 3 months before the ISA detentions on 13th Dec 2007, he claimed he was a Bank Officer. We allowed him to handle all the Hindraf funds. He had sole responsibility for the funds before the detention. He collected the funds into HINDRAF Enterprise, a stationary business he registered in his personal name and made himself a Director.
Based on the sums received from ASP Vasantha Kumar and that he was in control of , it creates an irrationality amongst HINDRAF supporters as to why ASP Vasanthakumar would lodge a police report against Uthayakumar on 7th January 2008 ie 3 weeks after his “ISA arrest” claiming that Uthayakumar and his family members had collected large sums of money which may total RM700,000.
The same ASP Vasanthakumar and his cohorts have over the last 6 months continuously defamed me although he was responsible for collected funds which he alleges totals up to RM700,000.00 and this sum was further inflated to Millions by Ganapathi Rao. At the material time I was not in the country nor had any access to the alleged funds as the signatory for the HINDRAF ENTERPRISE account is solely within the control of ASP Vasantha Kumar.
In the first week of January 2008 i.e. 3 weeks after the arrest of the Hindraf lawyers, I had issued media statements urging the public not to donate any money to any middlemen and to channel the funds directly to the affected families and my statements were carried by all the major mainstream Tamil papers and Malaysiakini. It was also posted in the official blog of Hindraf and many other independent Blogs.
As such, it defies logic and rationality as to why I am now subjected to continuous serious allegations of funds collection and misappropriation other than to seed unwarranted suspicion and doubts by ASP Vasantha Kumar as part of the government’s “operasi padam HINDRAF” conducted by the Police Special branch to permanently erase Hindraf and its struggle from the minds of the people and to cause confusion and mistrust.
HINDRAF is a movement of conscience and humanity to uplift the systematically marginalized Malaysian community in Malaysia. It only seeks to show up the truth and the reality that is faced by the deprived lot daily.
It is unfortunate that certain DAP leaders have fallen prey to the Special Branch ploy and had repeated the malicious allegations in their pursuit to defend their own political agenda based on hearsay and for their political benefits as opposed to the voice and need of the marginalized community.
HINDRAF’s enemy is the oppressive system led by UMNO. UMNO for its part seeks to permanently erase HINDRAF from the annals of Malaysia, using these and various other treacherous tactics. No matter how hard they try, we will try harder. Truth and justice is on our side. We are well equipped morally for this struggle.
Hindraf well-wishers must be prepared for the truth as the truth always prevails as we continue to be defiant for a humane and moral cause.
Thank you.
P. Waytha Moorthy.
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Aggressive UMNO racism – the new emerging reality

Quote from Malaysiakini of 17th March 2011, ”Denying that he had rejected the 100 amendments to the novel suggested by the committee, Muhyiddin claimed that he had in fact called for a review of the amendments as he believed that they were "minute" issues which ran away from the "isu pokok (main concern)".

Muhyiddin is proving to be a clown the way he is dealing with the Interlok novel issue He sets up an independent panel to review and suggest changes to the Interlok novel. Then he just about overrules all their suggestion. This results in a disgusted walkout by the Indian panel members. Then he denies rejecting the 100 suggested amendments saying what he looking for was more substantial than the nitpicking the panel had done.

Is he not a clown. That substantial thing he is looking for is a withdrawal the book altogether from the curriculum – is right there in front of his eyes. A child could come up with that. He chooses to nit pick instead and thenturns around and accuses the review panel of nitpicking. He is a natural joker isn’t he. A clown. That is how he so easily appears to us.

The whole UMNO government is proving to be a failure over and over again over all the contentious issues they have to deal with in running the country. One of the manifestation of this failure is the increasing polarization among the people in the country. The elite within UMNO in their selfish desire to keep a tight handle on the controls of the resources of the country need the Malay Muslim vote. They play up issues like Interlok, saying the minorities are being unreasonable and demanding in spite of the good nature of the Tuans. The book authored by a National Laureate and celebrated Malay writer can do no wrong. It is the minorities who are becoming demanding encouraged by the fact that the Malay people are split. So, the argument goes. The only way we can keep the minorities in their place is for the Malays to unite. This logic repeated over and over again by Perkasa outside and by the various internal propaganda organs inside UMNO is enough to make the ordinary average Malay citizen become a victim to this lie. The elite within UMNO are enjoying the security of the false race consciousness among the Malay people, oblivious or careless about the net effect on the nation as a whole.

This path only takes them further down, as the Malay citizens who buy this lie will then extend the race logic in their little realms all over the country as you see increasingly happening now . As time passes , the trajectory for racism in the country moves further and further upwards. What has been subtly happening for 54 years now bursts out into the open and operates openly, no need for the subtlety of the past. It becomes aggressive racism. This is a new reality emerging in the country.

Can you see it?

Interlok: Time to make a stand

Why are all the villains and nasty characters in Interlok Chinese and Indians?

As the drama over the Interlok textbook issue continues to unfold, it is important for Malaysians to understand the context and the stakes involved, and to make a stand.

There are some defenders of the book who have argued that withdrawing or even just editing it will rob Malaysian writers of their artistic freedom and integrity. To these people, I would like to say “hello, where have you been” – Interlok has already been edited twice, in 2005 for Edisi Pelajar and in 2010 for Edisi Murid.

Its literary integrity was already compromised by the shedding of some 85 pages even before this latest controversy.

In fact, copyright for the edition distributed free to schools no longer belongs even to Abdullah Hussain but to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Hence Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement that his ministry “will ensure that any amendments made will not affect the storyline of the novel and the noble message that the author wants to convey” is nothing short of whitewash.

According to reports, Muhyiddin is not permitting anything beyond deletion of the word ‘pariah’.

This concession is like slicing off one tentacle from a hundred-headed hydra – a totally pointless exercise.

Make no mistake; Interlok is a work that must not be permitted into the nation’s class rooms as a compulsory literature text. Anything less is a vital failure to grasp the gravity of the threat it poses.

The quarrel is not merely with vocabulary or spelling (for example, of ‘tali’ vs ‘thali’) but the overall suitability of the novel with its overt and covert racial messages as a school text.

Starting ‘em young and younger

Concern by many Malaysians that Interlok has been intentionally selected by the authorities to fulfill the Umno/Biro Tata Negara objective of indoctrinating young minds with a warped worldview and national view is hardly misplaced.

Before these concerns are dismissed as imaginary or overwrought, let us not forget that education has long been and continues to be the most politicized sector of the country.

Far from being neutral institutions, many of our public sector colleges and universities consciously and consistently promote a narrow nationalism.

It is in the educational sector where proponents of the Ketuanan Melayu dogma have sought to impose their will and polarize our communities.

Their missionary zeal focuses on use of race-based criteria at all levels and in all aspects. It is no surprise therefore that the propagation of the ideology of super-ordination and subordination has now been extended to the schools, and to the curriculum and text books.

As has been pointed out by those who have analysed the Interlok content, why are all the villains and nasty characters Chinese and Indians?

One of the key plots turns on the rapacious Chinese merchant swindling the easily duped Malay of his inheritance.

Touted as a ‘historical novel’, Interlok is constructing a version of BTN history and racial stereotypes to influence young minds.

Drawing line in the sand

Its government-mandated and authorities-supported dissemination and circulation appears to further a carefully thought-out agenda to fan racial animosity.

Because Interlok is the first round battle (in tandem with the History curriculum revamp), it is important for conscientious objectors to send a strong signal to the Education Minister and his bureaucratic and academic cronies that Malaysians will not be cowed into acquiescence.

We must exercise our right to openly discuss, criticize and protest on this crucial matter.

To remain mute will only embolden the apologist wolves wrapped in their sheep clothing of educational good intention and defence of literary freedom.

Lim Teck Ghee is the director of Centre for Policy Initiatives

Photos : HRP VP K. Tamil Selvam’s house burnt down by Police Special Branch under Ops Padam Hindraf.


Remove Interlok, remove Muhyiddin

In a collective stand, Pakatan MPs call for the revocation of the controversial book and for Najib to replace his deputy in the deliberation process.
KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat MPs today made a collective stand, calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Interlok novel.

They also wanted Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to be removed from the deliberation process based on the three Indian representatives quitting the independent panel, tasked with amending the book.

“Muhyiddin should be taken out and (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) should replace him,” DAP MP Charles Santiago told reporters in Parliament.

PKR MP Johari Abdul urged the government to take heed of the people’s voice. “If the people say it is sensitive, accept it lah.”

Johari also took a swipe at the government’s decision to edit the book after a firestorm of protest, especially from the Indian community.

The book, penned by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, courted controversy when it was introduced as a component for the Malay literature subject for Form Five students this year.

“This is the work of a national laureate, how are you going to edit the gist of the work (without violating the author’s right)?” asked the PKR MP.

DAP’s Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran said the matter must be resolved quickly as the students would sit for their SPM examination in November.

He urged the government to apologise and immediately retract the book from the syllabus.

The press conference was also attended by MP Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor), M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) and R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang).

The three panellists had walked out complaining that 100 suggested amendments were shot down, but Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said this was because it concerned “minute” details.