Posts Tagged ‘Marginalisation’

Kolej Polytech Mara changes its graduation dress code rule

October 8th, 2012
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Until just about 2 weeks ago, Kolej Polytech Mara had a very strict dress code for its graduating students who are to take part in the graduation ceremony.  It was compulsory for the male students to wear songkok and for the female students to wear tudung (headscarf) or else they will not be allowed to take part in the ceremony.

 Female Indian students for example, would mostly wear saree during convocation (well, at least the ones I’ve seen in various IPTs) and it will be strange to see them with tudungs.  It will be also an affront to the students who subscribe to different cultural beliefs, and may as well infringe on their rights.

I remember reading about it on social media and wondered if the college highlighted this when promoting their courses to non-Muslim school leavers students or not.  Students have plenty of options nowadays to further study, and may as well skip your college if they knew about it. Its not like as if you in the top lists of IPTs.

And surprisingly when I checked at the website few days back, the following message was published. The songkok and tudung requirements were not required for non-Muslim students.

Pity that over 50 years of independence and still need to highlight these kinds of restrictions in order to get it removed. Maybe it shows how (in)sensitive or (un)aware you are that there are also other people living in Malaysia.

 

source: http://convo.kptm.edu.my/2012/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=56

SJKT St Helier, SJKT Serdang, SJKT RRI Sg Buloh building problems

March 7th, 2012
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While in recent days we’ve seen Samy Vellu launching new wing of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SRJKT) Ladang Henreitta in Padang Serai (refer here), and  PM announcing proposal provide allocation for 3 new block at  SJKT Simpang Lima anda block at  SJKT Methodist Kapar (refer here), we are also saddened by incidents in three other schools recently – SJKT RRI Sungai Buloh, SJKT Serdang and SJKT St Helier.

You can read about SJKT Serdang classroom roof collapse here, while news on the other 2 schools are below.

 

SJKT RRI Sungai Buloh

THE parents of the 500 pupils in SRJK (T) RRI Sungai Buloh are concerned over poor conditions at the school following a freak storm last week.

They said the school’s roof was heavily damaged during the storm.

Parents’ and Teachers’ Association (PTA) chairman P. Suresh Kumar said the more than 70-year-old school was in dire need of repairs.

Cleaning up: Suresh (right) and another parent gathering the broken shelves from the library.

“About 50 kindergarten pupils were attending class when the storm hit and they had a big scare.

“It happened at about 3pm on Wednesday and the class had to be postponed,” Suresh said.

According to him, the school’s roof had last been replaced 25 years ago.

Suresh added that bookshelves in the library had also been damaged by the water leaking in through the damaged roof.

“A lot of of books were also damaged,” he said

Suresh said the school needed about RM200,000 to repair the damage.

He said he had also submitted an application for a new plot of land for the school through the Prime Minister’s Department.

“I submitted the application last year but have not received any feedback,” he said, adding that the area was up for development and the parents feared losing the school.

source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2012/3/7/central/10859837&sec=central

SJKT St Helier

Makkal Osai reported that 288 students boycotted classes while their parents staged a demonstration in front of the St Helier Tamil School in Bahau on Monday over the school’s building safety.

Classes for the 120 affected students would be conducted in the St Helier estate until the repairs are done

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/3/7/nation/10865586&sec=nation

There’s some action being taken, says ADUN VS Mogan (though its still at level of “akan memohon bangunan baru jika didapati berisiko”:

 

VS Mogan keluar dari kawasan sekolah selepas melawat keadaan bumbung bangunan SJK Tamil St. Helier, di Jempol, semalam.
JEMPOL 28 Feb. – Bumbung sebuah bangunan di Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) Tamil St. Helier dekat sini yang hampir roboh dan tidak selamat digunakan akan dibaiki segera.
Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Jeram Padang, Datuk VS Mogan berkata, Kementerian Pelajaran melalui Jabatan Pelajaran negeri telah meluluskan peruntukan sebanyak RM114,000 bagi membaiki bumbung serta tiang yang rosak tersebut.
“Bangunan yang menempatkan beberapa bilik darjah itu telah dibina pada 2002 oleh Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru (PIBG) sekolah berkenaan.
“Sejak beberapa tahun lalu, struktur tiang pada bumbung berkenaan mula rosak dan menyebabkan berlaku anjakan pada bumbung, yang kini dilihat tidak selamat untuk digunakan oleh pelajar di sekolah ini,” katanya ketika melawat sekolah itu dekat sini, semalam.
Mogan berkata, bumbung bangunan yang menempatkan 120 pelajar itu kini menunggu masa untuk roboh jika tidak dibaiki segera.
Beliau yang melawat sekolah berkenaan petang semalam turut meninjau keadaan bumbung di salah satu bangunan itu dan mengesahkan ia tidak boleh digunakan buat masa ini.
“Saya telah minta pihak sekolah tidak lagi menggunakan bangunan tersebut dan menempatkan pelajar dalam makmal komputer sehingga ia dibaiki dan disahkan selamat,” tegasnya.
Mogan yang juga Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Bertindak Hal Ehwal Perladangan, Sumber Manusia, Alam Sekitar dan Pengaduan Awam negeri berkata, pemeriksaan terhadap semua struktur bangunan di sekolah itu akan dibuat oleh pihak Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR).
”Jika kita dapati bangunan itu juga berisiko, maka kita akan memohon supaya dibina bangunan baru yang lebih selesa,” jelasnya.
Pada masa yang sama, Mogan meminta ibu bapa supaya tidak panik dan dapat terus menghantar anak mereka bersekolah seperti biasa.
Wonder if the “RM340 million allocated in last 3 years” is enough or has been actually spent. It was supposed to be for upgrading and maintenance of SJKT school buildings. It was meant to cover about 75 schools, but maybe we have far more school in dire conditions.

Letter by parent and ex-student on SJKT Serdang classroom roof collapse

March 6th, 2012
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Received the below from a forum member who is a parent of the student in SRJK(T) Serdang. So, who can answer his questions? Have “nambikai”?

 

SRJK(T) Serdang is located less than 1km away from Universiti Putra Malaysia and a mere 10 minutes’ drive from Putrajaya. The school was started in 1936 with one teacher and 40 students. The current enrolment is about 700 students and is one of the 132 fully aided schools from the total of 523 Tamil Primary schools nationwide. As a parent of one of the students of the school and as one of the former students from the same school, I would like to highlight the plight of the students and parents of the school, which also reflects the state of other Tamil Schools in the country.

[building launched in 1963]

[the same building in 2012]

Although the school is fully aided, we literally have to beg with the Education Department for everything, including the maintenance and repairing of the infrastructures of the school. At times, the PIBG will contribute some fund to do minor repairing works. The newspaper cutting above is from the year 1963, when the new building was officiated by the then Menteri Besar. The building was declared unsafe by JKR in 2002. Despite several appeals, the JKR never lifted their fingers and always come up with the standard answer “Tiada peruntukkan tahun ini” (No budget allocation for this year). It was a disaster waiting to happen and it duly happened at around 8am on the 16th February 2012.

The ceiling in one of the classes collapsed suddenly while lesson was going on and luckily, the teacher managed to bring all the students out from the class before it collapsed further, bringing down huge amount of debris. By God’s grace, no one was injured but the real drama started only after that.

The school is located is the Sri Serdang state constituency, under BN ( Datuk Satim bin Diman) and under Serdang Parliamentary seat, under PR. Datuk Satim, who won the seat by less than 50 votes in the last election, did not even bother to respond or visit. Meanwhile, politicians from PR were barred from entering the school compounds, as per one circular from the Educational Department in the 1990’s.

The school authorities contacted the respective departments and personnels. Datuk K Devamani immediately paid a visit, promised to build temporary cabins within two weeks for the students to study, with plans for another permanent building in future and bragged about the amount of money spent by BN in the past few years (in the region of few hundred millions at least) for Tamil Schools as well as some unrelated stuffs like ETP and etc. Some of my friends cheekily said that this a normal `Wayang Kulit’ show as he has no power to do anything. I realised it now that they were just telling the plain truth.

It is almost 3 weeks already and our children still don’t have classroom to use. Lessons are conducted at canteen and some empty space between buildings. The children are suffering due to hot weather and cannot concentrate on their studies. A lady officer from JKR visited the school recently and said that JKR is willing to build the new building but asked a funny question. `Siapa akan tanggung kos bangunan ini? PIBG atau LPS? (Who is going to bear the cost? PTA or The School Board?

Can someone tell this lady that this school is a fully aided school and it is the responsibility of the present government to provide the basic infrastructures? By right, we should sue your department for failing provide a safe building.

Some even suggested that we should approach the state government but I disagree. As far as I know, I have been paying taxes since 1993 to the Central Government under BN, just like all Malaysians so why the hell should I go around and begging people? Isn’t it BN’s duty to provide basic infrastructures as we pay tax to you? And don’t tell me that you don’t have enough money. 1% of the loan given to Sharizat’s family is enough to build a 3 storey building here. Imagine that this is happening to a fully aided school. How about partially aided schools? Don’t you collect taxes from them too? Why are you discriminating us, BN? The PM wants us to put `nambikkai’ (trust) on BN and I don’t have to give a better example on why we shouldn’t trust the BN government.

from: Gopal Thirumalai, via e-mail

This is the related article from The Star:

Partiban Muthusamy was at work when he received news that the ceiling of his daughter’s classroom had collapsed.

“Another parent called to inform me about the incident,” said the 42-year-old customer support executive who immediately rushed to the scene.

His seven-year-old daughter, Narmatha Partiban, was among the 29 Year One pupils of SJK (T) Serdang who were in the class when a portion of the ceiling suddenly collapsed at 8.45am yesterday.

Classroom panic: Premah and her pupils looking at the ceiling which had collapsed into their classroom at SJK (T) Serdang yesterday.

None of the pupils were injured in the incident.

Teacher Premah Ramasamy, 30, said she was conducting a Tamil lesson when the ceiling gave way, causing a huge pile of dust, debris and even bird’s nests to drop into the classroom, missing her and her pupils by inches.

“I panicked but managed to get all the pupils out of the class,” said a visibly shaken Premah, adding that a portion of the ceiling in another class also collapsed within a few minutes.

The school’s senior assistant for pupil affairs, Ganeswari Karuppiah, said a huge solid wood beam nearly fell on the pupils.

“We are thankful that nobody was injured,” she said, adding that the ceiling in many classrooms leaked whenever it rained.

Another parent, Anantha Rao, 46, said he was worried about the safety of his daughter who is in Year Four.

“We don’t know if it is safe to continue sending our children to the school,” he said.

Three of the affected classrooms have been cordoned off by the Fire Department, leaving 160 pupils without a classroom.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk S.K. Devamany, who visited the school, said he would ensure that the pupils were provided with temporary classrooms until a long-term solution was put in place.

He urged the Education Ministry to conduct an audit on the safety of Tamil schools nationwide as many of them were in poor condition.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/2/16/nation/10747821&sec=nation

Sarasvathy gets Yayori Award for activitism

December 5th, 2011
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Not many people will be familiar with the name “Sarasvathy” compared to “Ambiga”. If mention the word “Jerit”, probably a small segment can recognise the name. Congrats to Sarasvathy for the award.

 

WHEN she was told that she was suffering from liver cancer in early 2002, journalist and campaigner for the rights of Asian women Yayori Matsui used her remaining days to lay the foundation for her long-time dream, the Women’s Active Museum of War and Peace the world’s first to focus on violence against women.

Her “crazy” courage was of no surprise to those who knew her this is the woman who “charged” Japan’s Emperor Hirohito for the crimes against Japanese comfort women during World War Two in the symbolic Women’s International War Crimes Trial in 2000.

Matsui’s whole life was one big defiance of the patriarchal Japanese society as she sought to expose the truth about the oppressions and exploitations of Japan’s marginalised communities, especially women.

Fearless struggle: Sarasvathy, seen here with Prof Nakahara, has been honoured for the challenges she faced working in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

It is in recognition of that passion and courage that an annual women’s human rights award named after the late Yayori Matsui is given out to a woman activist who best embodies her spirit since 2005.

And this year, the Yayori Award has been won for the first time by a Malaysian woman, M. Sarasvathy, 58, who has been championing the rights of disadvantaged communities in Perak for the last 40 years.

Touched by the international recognition, Sarasvathy says she is humbled to even be thought of in the same league as Matsui.

“When I read about who she was, what she was fighting for and how she was fighting, I felt so honoured. Her life story is truly inspiring,” says Sarasvathy before she left for the award ceremony that was held in Japan yesterday.

According to Prof Emeritus Michiko Nakahara, a member of the selection committee for the Yayori Award, Sarasvathy was chosen out of 20 nominees because of the challenges she faced working in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

Crucially, she adds, the Yayori Award is not only for Sarasvathy, but for all Malaysian women.

“It is from all Japanese women we would like to send warm encouraging messages of sisterhood to all women in Malaysia who struggle for equality, freedom and justice.”

Sarasvathy is known for her tireless work with any group that she feels is being oppressed from women workers to urban settlers and farmers.

She does not hesitate to speak out against injustice even defying authorities and tempting arrest.

And her work really does cut across race and religion. Showing support at the event organised by local women movements Friends of Women and the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (Jag) to celebrate Sarasvathy’s win was Cheng Sau Ying from Kampung Pinang in Pusing, Perak.

“We did not get a good compensation from the developer who took over our land, and my friend suggested that we ask Sarasvathy to help negotiate. She helped us without charge and now she has even become a good friend,” says Cheng.

Like Matsui, Sarasvathy got her calling early; at the age of 17, she started helping a few factory workers who were being exploited by their employer to fight for better wages. She later co-founded mass movements Alaigal and Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit).

Sarasvathy says she faced a lot of opposition from her mother for her work at first.

“My mother is very traditional, so she was not happy that I was doing this. She even locked me up to get me to stop because she said it would be difficult for me to get married.”

After meeting some of the women that she has worked with, however, her mother slowly changed her mind.

“She said that since she can’t change me, it’s better that she leave me be. Now, she even joins me,” she says, dedicating her Yayori Award to all the unsung heroes dedicating their lives to make the world a better place.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/4/nation/10022690&sec=nation

3 months no reply on welfare application?

November 20th, 2011
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Wow! 3 months is a long time, especially the low income and poor folks who are in need of such help. Wonder why no reply. If not qualified or application incomplete, can just reply saying so.

Bagan Dalam state assemblyman A. Thanasekharan has threatened to stage a demonstration if the Social Welfare Department continues to delay processing application for aid from Seberang Perai Utara.

He was speaking to reporters after visiting the Social Welfare Department’s office in Kepala Batas on Tuesday.

Thanasekharan had gone to find out the status of 30 applicants who had submitted a request for aid about three months ago and had not received any reply.

“Most of the applicants had complained that they are usually told that the officer is not around, had gone out or no reply from the head office

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/11/19/nation/9935105&sec=nation