The following is a summary of a report on a so-called roundtable conference on the future of Tamil Schools from the FMT website on the 27th of June 2011. The report starts with a grand: “In a historic roundtable conference, BN and Pakatan leaders joined hands to chart the future of Tamil schools.” The stated purpose: “discussions were held to set up a steering committee to chart a blueprint for the future of Tamil schools in the country.”
Present at the conference were SK Devamany, M Saravanan, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, Kulasegaran, P Ramasamy, M Manoharan , S Manikavasagam, Charles Santiago , R Sivarasah , Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, A Sivaneson, P Guna, Daljit Singh Dalliwal and S Ramakrishnan.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz,
chaired the conference. It is learnt that the steering committee would be made up of 18, there would be six members from BN, six from Pakatan and the rest from Tamil Foundation and other NGOs.
Now look at the report like this.
This is the making of a “Wayang Kulit” in grander 1Malaysia style. This amounts to the politicans fine tuning their approaches. Before only the MIC used to engage in this sort of deceptive wayang kulit. Now, in the last 3 years the Pakatan Indian reps have begun to play the same game – you see this regularly in mock cheques and computers given away in the Tamil newspapers. Yesterday
both these groups have taken this wayang kulit thing one stage further – in 1Malaysia style and these two groups are getting together for a joint wayang. This is 1Malaysia after all isn’t it. History suggests that this is what is happening. If I am wrong, then they have to show that I am wrong now. And further as if to legitimize this wayang , they pull in a few Indian NGO reps to give it an appearance of a non-partisan effort.
For 54 years the UMNO regime has been using their accomplice MIC in the grand game of deceit of the Indian people. The Malay elite harbour an implicit desire to kill off the vernacular schools, but are blocked by the provisions in the Federal Constitution. To circumvent this, they adopt – and this is unstated private but explicit policy, an ambivalent attitude in public and a clear non-allocation of resources in private. They have been doing this with full collusion of the MIC accomplices.
.Article 12 reads:
Rights in respect of education
12. (1) Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth—
(a) in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority, and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees;
(b) in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of
pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside the Federation). This is their way of killing off a part of the education system continued from the colonial times and which was institutionalized in the Federal Constitution.
Here is the reality.
The amounts spent annually on education is about 20% of a RM210 billion budget – works out to about RM 40 billion. The expenditure for just the MARA education system, not to mention everything else that occurs in the education arena, just this one – 42 MRSMs with a student population of 12,400 , with each such school costing anywhere from RM 50 -120 million to construct, 209 Giat MARA schools with a budgetary allocation of RM550 million in just the 10th Malaysia plan period alone, Institute Kemahiran MARA which has put out over 200,000 Malay students, MARA UiTM University with 4 satellite campuses, 12 branch campuses, 9 city campuses and 19 affiliated colleges with an enrollment of 120,000 students and 15,000 staff, and all the other MARA schemes for the last 54 years. How much do you think the expenditure on all of that may be. No clear stats are available for me to quote accurately. But I think easily that would be 30 to 50% of the RM40 billion annually.
If all of that was for 60 odd percent of the majority community of the country, how much should have been allocated to the Indians who constitute 7.4% of the population this year, given the provision in the Federal Constitution Article 12 – on equal treatment . Of course this statistics again is not available. You and I can venture guesses. My guess is that it is less than 0.1 % of all of this RM40 billion. Even the stated amounts of RM 100 million for each of the last 3 years – statement by Devamoney in this conference (which amount I think is just eyewash anyway – but this is what he stated) works out to a bare 0.25%. Like with all their allocation pronouncements for the Indian community, this is most likely a significant exaggeration.
See how serious the problem really is. A community starved of their rightful allocations for at least two generations. This has gone on unchecked for 54 years, just because of this kind of complicity and deception. It is this problem that these reps must really correct. They must get their fundamentals right first.
In light of this seriousness of the problem it is extremely frivolous on the part of these lawmakers to continue with this wayang nonsense – they want to set up a steering committee now, and for what – to do a blueprint – what nonsense. If they are really working for the good of the Indian community, they should all get together now and go to their tuans and towkays and ask for the rightful allocations, now!
We do not need another generation to lose out on something so fundamental as education. See the deleterious effects of this policy in just one aspect of the result– the increasing number of criminals among Indian youth, one in two youths that are in prison are Indians. These reps need to see what they are really dealing with.
If they do indeed represent the Indian people as they all project themselves to , then they have to start becoming effective in whatever they are doing. Without a doubt in my mind this is what they must all do, they should all get together now and go to their tuans and towkays and ask for the rightful allocations, now!. Otherwise I can only take it that they project themselves as representatives of Indians for no other reason than to make an income out of it for themselves. They are all today powerless because of the choices they all have made.They have chosen to make a personal career and a good income out of the miseries of the Indian poor.
If these reps are serious they should act where it matters. All the BN run states and the Pakatan run states should immediately and before the next elections alienate 5 acres of land to at least 10% of the schools in the country – about 50 of the schools to establish their bona fide intent. These representatives should show bona fide intention this way first while any blueprint or anything else in the form of a robust plan is drawn up.
If these reps are serious they should start there where they do have some authority, in the States where they are in the Exco lineup of the State. We do not need a blue print to start real activity, if that is the true intention it is only a matter of a will. This is well known, so, what is required now is action. Just allocate the land needed – 5 acres each, instead of doing as P.Ramasamy did a few months ago,when he told the people of Ladang Batu Kawan when they asked him for additional 3 acres of land to make their school a 5 acres school, that they and whoever was speaking up for them – in this case, Hindraf, should come up with the additional RM 3 million for the land for the school, as land was not cheap in Penang. This is exactly the kind of thing Samy Vellu has been saying all these 50 odd years as he played Tango with UMNO.
If your true intention is to undo a terrible injustice, then start where you must and can – do not mislead with wayangs. Enough of all that nonsense – we are all so sick and tired.
Go back to your PKR, DAP and UMNO tuans and towkays and just say it to them. Get the ball rolling. Do not form anymore committees – we need to see some action. Pakatan reps , understand this, you should have started on this at the beginning of your respective tenures in 2008 and not at the end of it in 2011. BN reps you should have started all of this 54 years ago.