Malaysiakini Letter

The continuing dilemma of Tamil schools in 1Malaysia

P Uthayakumar  |  Published:  |  Modified:

As schools reopen today, it is the very same old unresolved 54 year old problem year in and year out.

Tamil schools denied especially in new and Indian urban and semi-urban neighbourhoods, low enrollment in estate schools, overcrowded urban and semi urban Tamil schools, infested by white ants, in shipping cabins, in basements, upstairs shophouses, denied playing school fields, school canteens, washing basins, tables, chairs, stationary, computer labs, resource rooms, toilets, children denied entry even into primary schools because they are denied birth certificates by the National Registration Department on the smallest technicalities, not fully aided by the government and even up to being denied water supply (Siro Tamil school, Perak) etc as documented and reported on day to day basis in .

Tamil Daily Makkal Osai in its headlines on the first day of the year (1/1/2012) reported the public protest by parents on the white ants infested wooden building Karmen Estate Tamil school in Perak endangering the lives of hundreds of poor Indian children.

This school was built in 1947 by the Karmen Estate workers who had then donated their then one day's salary.

Makkal Osai in its headlines yesterday (3/1/12) reported the public protest (led by Hindraf) that despite having some 280 Indian families, Serendah was denied a local Tamil school even in the two acre land that had been allocated to it some 12 long years ago since 2011. And they were denied a six acre piece of land by the PKR led Pakatan Rakyat Selangor State government.

Don't forget  the Umno federal government "policy" of refusing to grant fully financial aided status for Tamil schools built on less than five acres of land.

So it becomes the chicken or egg first story through the yo yo games played by both the Federal Umno and Pakatan Selangor state governments.

Today's Utusan Malaysia (4/1/12 at page 8) reports only five Year One pupils at the Binjul Tawar Estate Tamil school in Baling, Kedah.

In contrast the Kuala Muda district in Kedah Tamil schools alone recorded 780 pupils enrolment in Standard One, with 162 pupils at the Saraswathy Tamil School, 110 pupils at the Mahajothy Tamil school and another 110 pupils at the UP Perbadanan Kedah Tamil School.

It is so plain and obvious that there are very few Indian families left in the estates and that there is no obvious necessity for new Tamil schools in the hundreds of Indian urban and semi-urban neighbourhoods nationwide like Serendah, Kg Lindungan Triang, Kuala Krai, Seremban etc.

Makkal Osai again in its front page news today (4/1/12) reported a poor young mother Shanti Arumugam (23), being denied her birth certificate and identity card.

And going by the Umno doctrine of "transferring misfortune on the Indian poor" her two children Leeladevi (8) & Navinraj (7) suffer the same fate by being denied entry into Standard One because they have in turn been denied their innate birthright to their birth certificates.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg of the continuing saga of the 523 Tamil schools dilemma in 1Malaysia.

The irony is that this fifth generation Malaysian born Indian poor Shanti and the estimated 450,000 Indian poor nationwide are being denied their birth certificates, identity cards and citizenships.

In contrast, some 2,237, 978 foreign and illegal immigrants were swiftly and efficiently registered under the 6P Programme within 39 days ( The Star 26/8/11 at page 2).

Berita Harian today, at page 11 reports two rare Malay children in remote Dungun without birth certificates.

But (rightly) with the personal intervention of the Umno Assistant Education Officer and the Special Officer to the Dungun MP, they get to enter school as a matter of course.


But the 1Malaysian federal constitution and Malaysia's and United Nations international treaty obligations are violated with impunity.

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution guarantees equality before the law.

Article 12 of the Federal Constitution stipulates that there shall be no discrimination in providing education out of the funds of a public authority.

So why are all 523 Tamil schools not granted full financial aid given to other Malay and Islamic schools despite Malaysia being independent for 54 years now.

Article 14 guarantees citizenship by operation of law (children born after Merdeka and where one parent is a Malaysian citizen they are automatically Malaysian citizens).

Section 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for compulsory and free education for all children.

This was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in November 1989. Article 2 of the same provides for the child's right to non-discrimination.

And the Child Act of Malaysia read with the Education Act provides for a six month jail term parent/s who do not send their children to school because it is for compulsory for children to receive primary education.


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