Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Interlok' issue : Government must get views of all Malaysian Indians ...all Malaysians - not just MIC,...

'Interlok' issue - I believe that it is not just about the  usage of "p"  word   but also the manner in which Malaysians of Indians heritage ( and maybe also the Chinese, Malay) are being portrayed. I do not know how the book potrays the Malaysian Chinese ...and the Malaysian Malays. Is there an equal amount of honesty in describing the different racial/ethnic groups in Malaysia - and their origins? Does it deal about the Malaysian of Indonesian origins, of Thai origins, of other origins, ...or does it just paint a 'propaganda', not the whole truth, but a picture that the UMNO-led BN would like to paint?

Malaysians of Indian heritage/origins are made up of so many different ethnic groups, who have their own language, culture, etc... They also are of different religions - Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Bahais, Sikhs, and others

Whenever it is a matter that is of concern to Malaysian of Indian heritage, the government turns to MIC, the Malaysian Indian Congress (a component party in the ruling BN) - but alas, the MIC does not represent Malaysian Indians. In fact after 2008 GE, the number of Malaysian Indians that it represents maybe even so much lower...

So, why is the government now discussing with the MIC, a component party of the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional government? MIC, MCA, UMNO, Gerakan and all  BN parties had already failed when the BN-Government started using the Interlok book. They should have been there when they were considering the usage of this 'Interlok' book - or are they all not represented in every government decision making process?

Next, if the government wants to get the perspective and opinion of Malaysians of Indian origins, then it must solicit opinions from all the different ethnic Indian groups and religious groups in Malaysia. The book does not just talk about Tamils - there is also mention about Malayalees (from Kerala), Punjabis, Malabaris, etc. And of course, not all Malaysians of Indian heritage are Hindus, for there are many who are Christians, Muslim, Bahais, and of other belief.

I, like so many others, may not have had the opportunity to get hold of a copy of the Interlok, and read it and see what the fuss is all about. Recently, I managed to get hold of a couple of pages from this book, and I just would like to quote a few lines...as it may help people understand better.

Given, the fact that there is some displeasure about the usage of this book in Malaysian schools, a caring UMNO-led BN government [or a caring PM Najib Razak] would have done the prudent thing of halting the continued usage of this particular book until necessary feedback/review could have been done. But, NO - no such thing have been done. I call on the government to hold back the continued usage of this book until the matter is resolved... 

The worry about some is the creation of prejudices against certain ethnic groups in Malaysia, and that is certainly an important matter in multi-racial Malaysia. 

Di dalam kapal itu ada kira-kira 120 orang penumpang atas dek. Mereka datang dari berbagai daerah - Pondicerry, Pulikat, dan Madras; dan ada juga dari Malabar, Kerala dan Hyderabad. .....Mereka yang datang dari arah ke utara sedikit bercakap bahasa Malayalam atau Telugu, tetapi hampir semua tahu bahasa Tamil. ...Satu perkara besar yang membuatkan mereka senang bergaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta Pariah. Mereka tidak perlu takut akan mengotori sesiapa kalau bersentuhan. - extracted from page 210-211 of Interlok, Tingkatan Lima, Edisi Murid.

A rough translation: In the said ship, there were about 120 passengers on the deck. They came from various districts - Pondicerry, Pulikat and Madras; dand also from Malabar , Kerala and Hyderabad...Those that came from slightly north spoke Malayalam or Telugu, but almost all knew Tamil...One big factor that made it easy for them to interact was because they classed into one Pariah caste. They need not fear making anyone dirty if touched - extracted from pages 210-211 of 'Interlok', Form 5, Students' Edition)
Maybe, the Minister should be meeting all persons of Indian origins, and this would mean meeting all the different ethnic Indian organizations, like the All Malaysian Malayalee Association (AMMA), Telugu Association of Malaysia (TAM), Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress, MCCBCHST (Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism & Taoism), GUJARATI ASSOCIATION WILAYAH PERSEKUTUAN AND SELANGOR (GAWPS), MALAYSIA, Persatuan Malabari Malaysia...

Or maybe just all Malaysians....for after all are we not one nation one people?  I am sure that there will be many reasonable Malaysians of the other ethnic groups in Malaysia (Malays, Chinese, Kadazans, Ibans, etc) who will also be bothered about issues affecting other ethnic communities - and will do the right thing. This is not a Malaysian Indians concern...but a concern of all Malaysians.

Ministry To Discuss interlok Issue With MIC Tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 (Bernama) -- The Education Ministry and the MIC will dabble on outcries over "Interlok", a required text for Malay Literature in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, Tuesday.

Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said he would chair the meeting which would be held at the Education Ministry in Putrajaya at 9am.

On the inclusion of two more panel members from the MIC, he said he had not been informed about it.

Asked whether he is willing to accept the duo, he said, "I do not know. You have to ask the education director-general (Datuk Abd Ghafar Mahmud) on the matter."

MIC president Senator Datuk G. Palanivel, in a statement Monday, named two more panel members for the discussion.

They are Malaysia Hindu Sangam former president Dr Nagappan Arumugam and Tamil Youth Bell Club president S. Vaithlingam.

Other members are Malaysia Hindu Sangam president R.S. Mohan Shan, former head of University Malaya's Indian Studies Department Dr S. Singaravelu, current head Associate Professor Dr S. Kumaran, MIC education bureau chairman Datuk Dr T. Marimuthu and former education ministry officer G. Krishnabagwan.

"Interlok", authored by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, which revolves on the integration of the Malays, Chinese and Indians in pre-independence Malaya, is said to contain words deemed sensitive to the Indian community.

-- BERNAMA, 17/1/2011,
Ministry To Discuss interlok Issue With MIC Tomorrow

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