(Malaysiakini) A number of prominent Chinese groups are among 45 organisations which inked a joint statement criticising the government's decision to retain the controversial novel 'Interlok' as a compulsory textbook for secondary schools.
In a strongly-worded statement, the civil society groups ticked off the novel for attempting to indoctrinate Form Five students with the 'Malay supremacy' ideology.
Describing 'Interlok' as an “insidious poison”, the civil society groups accused the novel of propagating the ideology of “Ketuanan Melayu”.
“In fact, Interlok is barely a step away from the Biro Tatanegara brainwashing that promotes racism and disunity. 'Interlok' conveys the central message that Chinese, Indian and other minorities are second-class citizens in addition to perpetuating the divisive notion of a host community (the Malays) versus foreigners ('bangsa asing' Cina dan India).
“Not so subtly, 'Interlok' intends to put the Chinese and Indians in their place as 'pendatang', and validating a social hierarchy according to ethnic origin.”
Organisations which signed the statement included KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall, Johor Federation of Chinese Associations and Penang Chinese Town Hall.
It is however not the first time that Chinese groups have issued statements on the matter.
“Not only offensive to Indians, Interlok portrays the Chinese in the most derogatory manner too,” said the hard-hitting statement.
“Kim Lock (in 'Interlok') is depicted as a miserly opium addict and callous adulterer while his son Cing Huat is painted as cunning, greedy, unscrupulous and someone who would happily sell his daughters.
“A major thread of the plot has the Chinese character cheating and oppressing the Malay character. Other Chinese characters such as the communist guerrillas are nasty and immoral, and the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army comprising Chinese recruits is demonised by the author.”
The civil society groups said that 'Interlok' has failed to comply with the guidelines set by the Education Ministry.
“The National Interlok Action Team (Niat) has pointed out that its contents violate five out of six criteria outlined by the KBSM (Malaysian National Syllabus for Secondary Schools) textbook guidelines.
“Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recently announced that the government has agreed to amend 19 words/passages found to be sensitive. Nonetheless, the fact that the 'Interlok' review panel has had to suggest a total of 106 changes only goes to show how problematic the novel is.
“Furthermore, the withdrawal in protest of the three Indian panelists serves to discredit the ministry's proposed resolution to the issue.”
Solution is to replace 'Interlok'
The groups said that the way out of the impasse is to replace 'Interlok' with other text more suitable for use in the classroom.
“Some defenders of 'Interlok' have claimed that the main characters in the book are mere individuals who cannot be extrapolated as representatives of their race.
“This is a mistaken line of argument as the Interlok lesson guide produced by the Education Ministry's curriculum development department has clearly stated: 'The theme of Interlok is the integration of three main races – Malay, Chinese and Indian – in Malaysia and the challenges they face in order to live together in an independent and sovereign country'.
“Because it is the ministry itself which has dictated that the characters in the novel are allegorical, therefore it will be wrong for us to now view them as atypical. Rather the Pak Musa, Cing Huat and Maniam personas (in 'Interlok') are indeed symbolic of their races.”
The joint statement stressed that the protest against 'Interlok' was in no way a disrespect to author Abdullah Hussain's freedom of expression.
“We do not object to his novel being sold in the bookshops. We do not ask either for the unabridged original version to be edited or censored although we welcome its critical appraisal by discerning adults. But the upshot is Interlok should not be a textbook in schools.”
Sentimen masyarakat India terhadap buku tersebut juga begitu.
Sentimen kemarahan yang ditunjukkan badan bukan kerajaan masyarakat India terhadap Interlok edisi murid sebenarnya tidak banyak berbeza dengan masyarakat Melayu dan Umno dalam tahun 1950an.
Pada tahun 1952, Setiausaha Agung Umno Zulkifli Hashim telah menyeru masyarakat Melayu agar membakar buku ensiklopedia bertajuk ‘Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia’ dalam satu majlis minum petang anjuran bersama Umno dan MCA.
Ucapan beliau ini dilaporkan oleh akhbar The Straits Times bertarikh 16 Disember 1952.
Alasannya, ensiklopedia 12 jilid tersebut menggambarkan Melayu sebagai masyarakat yang ketinggalan, biasa dengan pemerintahan autokratik kesultanan Melayu dan bangsa pemalas.
Jika Umno sendiri mahu membakar ensiklopedia tersebut, seruan kumpulan pendesak seperti Badan Bertindak Interlok Kebangsaan (Niat) agar Interlok edisi murid oleh Abdullah Hussain tidak digunakan wajar dipertimbangkan.
Mereka sama sekali tidak membakar Interlok, malah pindaan hanya akan mencacatkan kelangsungan cerita Interlok.
Setelah 106 pindaan dikemukakan, Niat masih belum berpuas hati. Hujah mereka, perkataan boleh bersilih ganti namun pengertian masih sama. Tambahan pula keretakan hubungan kaum jelas kelihatan ekoran kontroversi ini.
Kepimpinan negara juga perlu melihat isu ini dari perspektif politik. Apakah kerajaan Barisan Nasional mampu bertahan sekiranya tsunami politik kedua melanda.
Pilihanraya umum 2008 memperlihatkan 90% undi masyarakat India jatuh ke tangan Pakatan Rakyat.
Sekarang adakah BN di bawah pimpinan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak boleh bertahan dengan kombinasi kontroversi Al- Kitab dan Interlok?
Perlu diingat di sini bahawa meskipun masyarakat India hanya mempunyai majoriti pengundi di Dewan Undangan Negeri Buntong, tetapi terdapat lebih 80 kerusi parlimen dan negeri di mana mereka menjadi faktor penentu kejayaan calon.
Di dalam BN sendiri, satu-satunya faktor yang menyebabkan masyarakat India mengembalikan sokongan adalah kerana faktor ‘Najib’.
Penulis sendiri pernah menghadiri satu majlis di mana Najib mengalu-alukan sumbangan masyarakat Malayalam. Pemimpin MIC sendiri tidak menerima sambutan mesra seperti yang diterima Najib.
Takkan kerana mempertahankan sebuah karya, BN sanggup kehilangan kuasa. Bak kata pepatah, menang sorak kampung tergadai.
by edward gibbons, donplaypuks® intrepid correspondent for history affairs
Cura Si Manja Kini
Bezoar of Dew
Kris Taming Sari
I recently stumbled upon the fact that there is in the possession of the Sultan of Perak and the Perak Royal Family some astounding relics of antiquity that in all probability have an extremely significant bearing on the question of Malaysian identity and history.
One such astonishing artifact is the sword Cura Si Manja Kini or Chora Samanda Kian mentioned in John Leyden's 1810 Malay Annals or Sejarah Melayu (published in 1821 by Sir Stamford Raffles). The same sword is said to have been used during the installation of Parmeswara as ruler of Melaka in 1400.
But in fact, its origins go further back, possibly 200-400 years earlier than 1400.
The sword was part of the regalia of a Indian/Hindu prince linked to the Chola Kings (Raja Cholan) from South India, i.e. Nila Utthaman/Sri Tri Buana/Sang Nila Utama (founder of Singapore) narrated in the Sejarah as having landed on Mt. Segantang Maha Meru in Palembang, Sumatra together with two other princes, Vichitram and Karna Pandita, and a probable Brahmin Priest, Bat'h, exact date unknown!
Now, Bat'h is a pretty unusual name for an Indian and perhaps it's a truncated form of Vadhyar (Tamil for priest), Vadh, which became Bat'h, in the same way Vichitram is spelt in the Sejarah as Bichitram. This is consistent with the fact that the Malay language generally does not have old words that commence with the letter 'V' and 'B' was substituted.
The Sejarah relates that it is this self-same sword that was used by the borrower (from Nila Utthaman/Sri Tri Buana/Sang Nila Utama) and champion warrior Peramas Cumambang to slay the serpent monsterSaktimuna (Sakatimuna/Ichktimani) into 3 parts in Minangkabau, Sumatra. In the process the sword became etched with 190 notches which strange "clue" of Dan Brown and da Vinci Code proportions, no Indonesia or Malaysian historian or anyone else has ever deciphered!
The list of relics, other than Cura Si Manja Kini, dating anywhere from 600-1,000 years includes:
Royal Collar (15th century) said to have been presented by the Emperor of China
Dokong or Kerongsang Besar (Neck Pendent)
Cap Lalulintar (Royal Silver Seal) of Sultan Muhammad Shah (Melaka) and Kayu Gampit mentioned in Sejarah Melayu. (The Royal Lance, Limbuar appears to be missing)
Mestika Embun (Bezoar of Dew)
Kancing Halkah (Royal Collar Ornament)
Kris Taming Sari (originally said to belong to Hang Tuah).
For full details (available at the official website of the Perak State Government)Click here
So, how did all these relics from Palembang and Melaka end up in the custody of the Perak Royalty?
After the fall of Melaka on 24th April 1511 to Portugal led by Alphonso de Alburquerque, Melaka's last ruler, Sultan Mahmud Shah eventually made his way to Kampar in Sumatra where he died in 1528. One of the sultan's two sons, Muzzafar Shah journeyed to Perak where he was installed the first Sultan in 1528. It was Sultan Muzzafar Shah who brought with him the artifacts which had been handed down to his father, Sultan Mahmud.
The inscriptions on Cura Sa Manjani Kini in Sanskrit are said to come from the the words "Churiga Si Mandakini" which means "the blade from Lake Mandakini of the Ganges (River) in India!! Refer to Sembangkuala's blog for more details.click here.
And what is the link between the Chiri of Perak, nobat players and Bat'h the Brahmin Priest cum charitra or cheritra teller in the Sejarah (pg. c4/23 - 25 John Leyden's Sejarah Melayu)?Click here and refer to the document below extracted from the Sejarah and a translation of it from page 175 of 'A History of Perak' by R.O.Winstedt and R.J.Wilkinson published by The Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS): :
In short, Bat'h had recited the lineage of the 3 Indian/Hindu princes who landed in the mountains of Palembang to Demang Lebar Daun, the aboriginal chief and his people in Sanskrit !! Astonishing, is it not?
The Sejarah clearly states Parameswara was buried in Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachado) near Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan (in Malaysia). It is Demang Lebar Daun and Nila Utthaman/Sri Tri Buana/Sang Nila Utama who are reputed to have actually been buried in Fort Canning, Singapore!!
There is therefore some serious error with the claim that Parameswara was buried in Fort Canning (Bukit Larangan) in Singapore. Click here for Keramat Iskandar, Singapore details. It absolutely makes no sense that Parameswara would be buried in Singapore when he originally fled from there in fear of his life, before founding Melaka!!).
The time has come for the Singapore Government to initiate investigations to identify through modern scientific procedures such as carbon dating, DNA testing etc., exactly who is buried in Keramat Iskandar and Fort Canning.
Some of these artifacts and regalia must be at least a thousand years old and there is not a shadow of a doubt about their links to Parameswara and the Melaka Sultanate of the 15th and early 16th century, Indonesia and INDIA!
So, why haven't our Government and Department of Antiquities engaged an archaeologist and expert in Sanskrit and Indian languages/dialects and South East Asian history (and there must literally be hundred of them in India) as well as China counterparts to piece together what must surely be THE story of the century?
In particular, the Sanskrit inscriptions on Parameswara's sword need to be investigated in depth!
So, why the leaden footedness? Too busy "interloked" in controversies?
We read a lot nowadays in Hindraf blogs and the website about many issues involves our Indian suffering and persecutions. It's a sad scenario, many innocent people are ignored by basic rights of Human living and the rights to live and survive. This is nowadays are frequent reading materials that we see in the website and the support groups writings.
Our Hindraf Leaders have voice out what need to be said and to be done, as slowly Indian supports are gaining strength for our community. Many that i see are young vibrant people in their middle age are our main supporters. They are professionals, students, businessman and other layman whom support HINDRAF, coming down strong in their comments and their writings.
The actual facts is , we have strong people whom voice out the grievances and their problems they faced in their daily life in work, community and also in society.
What a group we are going to be IF only we could cage our parents, brothers , sisters, in laws, friends and relatives to be with us in this struggles.
My suggestion is as you all who have followed my writings ... FREINDS get FRIENDS scheme ... its a simple thing actually ... we just have to get our own friends and family to get involve and support.
I would suggest the followings :-
1) Let Hindraf leaders to carry on the UMNO bashing and plan for political moves.
2) We on the other hand ... could create groups such as HINDRAF Single Mum's,
Hindraf Students groups, Hindraf Senior Citizen groups, hindraf Professional
groups and much more for us to help and assist our community to grow as
one unit under HINDRAF flagship.
We will able to help and assist all this people and we could gather strength to builds a united INDIAN community .... we won't waste time as we could create and move together with the leaders of hindraf .
It won't just be a saying " HINDRAF is just fighting the Government BUT not doing anything for the INDIAN community. So, we as the support group, we could start the ball rolling by building these groups and futher leaders in HINDRAF.
My dear brothers and sisters, LETS not only make comments here in this website, lets start building groups as we all know it well .... nothing going to change by writing here only ... the only thing is we need to talk about our fights, our new groupings and be UNITED. lets spread this articles around for INDIANS to understand our genuine intention to build a strong INDIAN community for the sake of all INDIAN children future and generations to come ....
MY wish is to build this kinda of groupings and i ask all interested please write and comment and get your friends too to join us ... Just imigine if one place like in cheras or Bangsar or Ipoh or penang for instance ...we have a group of 300 members ...then just calculate how many members we have through all MALAYSIA. AMAZING SUPPORT WE WOULD GET TO FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS ..
Dismissed 10 years ago from their estate jobs, 42 people are still waiting for news of better compensation as they worry about sudden eviction.
LABU: Forty-two former workers at Kirby Estate here have been living in suspense for the past 10 years, not knowing when they will be chased out of the houses they have been living in since colonial times.
They were among 180 workers dismissed in May 2001 and told to leave the land within four months. The others obeyed the order, but these 42, disappointed with the compensation offered, ignored the notice.
The offer was RM220 for each year of service. They asked for more, but the estate management never gave its response.
“We couldn’t and we won’t leave,” said P Shanmugam, chairman of a committee representing the 42. “We have nowhere else to go. We have lived here since the time of our great grandfathers.
However, as Shanmugam said, no one likes to live forever in limbo. They constantly worry about being forcibly evicted.
In 2007, the committee wrote to the estate management, asking it to raise the compensation to RM1,000 per year of service or a piece of land on which they could build new homes.
There has been no reply. So the anxiety remains, although the Negri Sembilan government has given its assurance that there are no plans to develop the land.
This is according to Party Socialis Malaysia secretary-general S Arutchelvan, who said he had been following the issue since the beginning.
“But I am not impressed by the assurance,” Arutchelvan added. “The real decision-maker is Sime Darby, which owns the land.”
Negri Sembilan MIC chief T Rajagopalu said he would raise the issue with the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry as well as MIC president G Palanivel, a deputy minister at the ministry.
“I have discussed this issue before with the state government, but we ended in a deadlock,” he said.
“But this time I’ll make sure it is resolved.”
The parent claims that MPSJ has taken land belonging to the school to build a bus station. But the local PKR leader denies this.
PUCHONG: An angry parent has asked the Selangor government to help settle the row between the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and a Tamil school in Puchong.
According to a Tamil daily report today, MPSJ had taken half acre of land that was previously allocated to the school.
Speaking to FMT, the parent, who wished to be known only as Maniam, said that there is an allegation that MPSJ wanted to construct a bus station on the plot.
Maniam said that in 2005, the previous state government rejected MPSJ’s bid to build a bus station there.
“The land was given to the Tamil school to build a canteen,” he added.
He said that originally the school owned six acres, but later the Education Ministry carved this up and gave four acres to a national school.
“Why is the local council eyeing the school’s land where there is private land nearby? We hope that the state government will clarify the situation as soon as possible,” he said.
Contacted later, Puchong PKR division chief S Murali rubbished the allegation.
“MPSJ has no right to take away land belonging to schools, and the council is not dumb to do such a thing,” he said, adding that as far as he knew, there were no plans to build a bus station there.
“So, the parents should show where exactly is the land that belongs to the school. And if it is true that the half acre was given to the school, then PKR will urge the Education Ministry to build the canteen,” he said.
Why haven’t these poor Indians benefitted from the RM 214 billion 2011 national budget, gives houses under the UMNO Jabatan Perumahan Negara?
(see Makkal Osai 29/3/2011 at page 17)
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice.
We mean no disrespect to DYMM the Raja Muda of Perak but we truly believe in Justice (see NST 29/3/11 at page 4). As a first year law student in England in the 1980’s one of the most celebrated legal principles we first studied in Constitutional law is that Justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
In Malaysia the UMNO run courts beginning from the Magistrates Courts to even the Federal Court are nowhere to be seen to be dispensing Justice as in the Western civil societies at least in so far as the Malay-sian Indian poor vis a vis Hindraf Makkal Sakthi and HRP are concerned .
As late as this month from the 1st to the 4th of March 2011 as the tip of the iceberg case some 53 Hindraf Makkal Sakthi activists including Secretary Ramesh Periasamy was maliciously prosecuted at the K.L., Selayang, Ipoh and Seremban Magistrates Court for merely being a member of Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, a minority and human rights NGO.
No where else in any world democracy except in absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia has anyone ever been prosecuted for merely having been a member of a Minority and Human Rights NGO.
This is only possible in the racist and religious supremacist UMNO One Malay-sian Courts.
Ramesh was slapped with an RM 8,000 bail by the Malay-sian K.L. Court when the maximum fine is only mere RM 5,000. What level of Justice can we expect from this UMNO Court?
To us even the chance of Justice is not even a starter .
For all the 53 Hindraf Makkal Sakthi activists an excessive RM 111,000. Bail was imposed when they are no criminal intent but merely championing the Malaysian Indian poor public interest.
P. Uthayakumar (a lawyer of 20 years standing) for alleging “ethnic cleansing” (the Kg. Medan state sponsored murders and 100 over caused grievous bodily harm) in his letter of complaint to the British Prime Minister Gorden Brown was prosecuted for Sedition and a bail of RM 50,000 was imposed by the K.L Sessions Court Judge Sabaraiah binti Othman when the maximum fine is only RM 5,000.
We dread thinking of the full trial to us Justice is a non starter. Injustices will be the order of the day in the Malay-sian Courts. And a conviction is a foregone conclusion which would be determined by the racist UMNO Executive.
Also this month (March 2011) the K.L. High Court dismissed the ISA Civil Suit of lawyers P. Uthayakumar and M. Manoharan without even the UMNO government of Malay-sia having to file their Statement of Defence. If this can happen to even lawyers of 20 years standing seeking Justice, what can the common Indian man on the streets of Brickfields expect?
Last month the Court of Appeal at Putrajaya dismissed Uthayakumar’s civil suit appeal again without even the UMNO government having to even open their mouth on the very serious LTTE terrorist allegation made against Uthayakumar which was the basis of his ISA detention for 514 days.
If the Malay-sian Courts does not dispense, where else do you go to clear your name that one is not a terrorist?
Malaysia’s apex Court, the Federal Court even dismissed the forced to convert to Islam cases of Shamala, Corporal Moorthy and Subashini. All when even Islam forbids forced conversion to Islam and when Article 11 of the Federal Constitution guarantees Freedom of Religion .
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the injustices meted out to especially the Indian poor. We have a whole list which we would be making public soon.
Be that as it may we have never been deterred and neither has it stopped us; we knew what we were getting into right from the very beginning.
Our Hindraf Makkal Sakthi struggle will continue irrespective until all the even up to the sixth generation Malaysian born Indian poor is treated as equal citizens like any other Malaysian citizens as is enshrined in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.
We too are the sons of this soil. The Indian poor are also the bumiputeras of Malaysia why then should they in particular be targeted under UMNO’s acts of gross racism and religious extremism. We are born in Malaysia, raised in Malaysia and will die in Malaysia.
The Malay-sian courts literally let UMNO get away with even murder.
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.