Posts Tagged ‘Penang’

Education Ministry studying proposal for secondary Tamil school

October 16th, 2012
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“currently studying the proposal”? Seriously? Are these guys trying to pull our legs? Wonder when the “study” will end.


PENANG MIC has proposed that the Government set up a Tamil secondary school in the state.

Its acting chief L. Krishnan said a memorandum on the matter had been handed over to the Education Ministry which was currently studying the proposal, reported Tamil Nesan.

Krishnan hoped the school, if it becomes a reality, would be able to provide continuous education to students from Tamil primary schools in the state.

Currently, many students from Tamil primary schools, after finishing their Year Six, end up being involved in unwanted activities as there are no one to guide them once they enter secondary schools which are alien to them, he said.

Krishnan also urged Indian non-governmental organisations to organise more activities for such students so that they would not be led astray.


Madam Nagamah, her children and their religion status

August 24th, 2012
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Some facts gleaned from newspapers (the facts may change as more details are revealed):

  • Madam M Nagamah passed away on 14 August 2012 at Sg Bakap Hospital. She was 64 years at the time of passing. She was from Byram Estate, Nibong Tebal.
  • Eldest son of the deceased is M Kamasantheran, aged 46 [ meaning he was born when she was 18 years old].
  • Her body was taken back to home by the family for funeral preparation.
  • JAIPP officers came for the body, saying she was a convert. No documents were provided.
  • Family refused to give in. And the officers left [how ridiculous does this sound? You’d think that a such a serious matter would involve some documentation or proof]
  • Family proceeded with funeral (cremation) at Batu Berapit Crematorium.
  • JAIPP officers went to crematorium and took the ashes of the deceased. Family got to know about it from the crematorium staff.
  • According to Penang state Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, the deceased had converted to Islam in November 2006 [Meaning she was aged about 58 at that time].  He said that  initial investigations as reported to him by JAIPP and the state Mufti Department showed that the 64-year-old had converted at the South Seberang Perai (SPS) Islamic Religious Department with registration number 11/06. The conversion was overseen by Ustaz Anuar Ismail.
  • Her name was registered as Nagamah @ Mariah Abdullah when she converted after marrying one Ibrahim Noyan and had nine children who were registered as Muslims by the National Registration Department.
  • Since both family and JAIPP had made police report, the EXCO said will leave it to police investigation.
  •  The family insists that the deceased has been a practising Hindu all this while and there’s not mention about her converting.
  • Family wants ashes back to conduct funeral rites on 14th day.


If one does a search, can find documents back in 2007 related to the husband Ibrahim Noyan. Below are the facts from 2007:

  • 10 siblings (5 men and 5 women) were seeking to change their religion from Islam to Hindu. These 10 people were born to Ibrahim Noyan and M.Nagamah.  The 10 of them grew up as Hindus and even got married to Hindus.
  • On Feb 16 2007, the 10, all of them with Muslim names and listed as Muslims on their MyKad, submitted individual sworn declarations at the magistrate’s court in Jawi, South Seberang Prai, claiming that they had been practising Hinduism since birth and prayed at Hindu temples.
  • In their declaration, they said that they wanted to change the status of their religion from Islam to Hindu.
  • They also said they were married to Hindus – although none of them had their marriages registered – and took part in Hindu celebrations, including Thaipusam. Their children were also given Hindu names.
  • Their plight was highlighted at Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng’s service centre on that day.[ So she should be aware of this case by now as back then she “hoped that the authorities can settle this issue“].
  • Their father, Ibrahim Noyah, 67, said he first married a Muslim woman known only as Sabariah but she died in 1958. He then married M. Nagamah but did not require her to convert. “Nagamah was my neighbour and I fell in love with her when she took care of me after my wife passed away,” he said.
  • Ibrahim Noyan is visually impaired since 3 years old and Nagamah took care of him after his first wife died.
  • Ibrahim and Nagamah, 60, have 10 children and 30 grandchildren. Three of the grandchildren do not have birth certificates, while some have only one parent’s name in their birth certificates.
  • V. Rathiga, 27, an athlete married to Ibrahim’s son, Kamis, 27, said she left out Kamis’ name in the birth certificates of their daughters – three-year-old Prami and one-year-old Sakti – as Kamis wanted them to be recognised as Hindus. [that’s one solution! if the law hinders, then find a workaround.]
  • While the 10 children wanted to be Hindus, the parents didn’t (meaning Ibrahim and Nagamah). According to Ibrahim he was still a Muslim and that his wife M. Nagamah had converted to Islam in 2005 and assumed the name Mariah Abdullah.
  • “I know my children and my grandchildren are facing problems with their identity cards and I don’t mind if they want to change their names from what it is now in their birth certificates,” said Mariah.
  • Ibrahim had said he started following Hindu culture and customs after his marriage to Nagamah although all their children were given Malay names while being raised as Hindus and had never stepped into a mosque.
  • The Penang Islamic Religious Council has recognised the elderly couple as Muslims.
  • However, the council also accepted the fact that the couple’s children are Hindus. “As far as we are concerned, the matter is resolved as the man had returned to the Islamic faith and his wife has embraced Islam,” said religious council chairman Shabudin Yahaya. “The council has built a house for them in Kebun Baru and are living separately from their children.”
  • Shabudin said the couple were considered Muslim as they had married according to Islamic rites.
  • He said Ibrahim Noyah, 67, had returned to the Islamic faith and his wife, M. Nagamah, 60, embraced Islam in August 2004 and her Muslim name was Mariah Abdullah.
  • Their Muslim marriage was solemnised at the religious department on Aug 11, 2004 and had been issued with the relevant documents.
  • The couple’s eldest son, Jamal Ibrahim, 42, said he hoped the authorities would help resolve their problem.


NST article: Islamic department urged to check family background (25/2/2007)

NST article: Council: Children are Hindus (25/2/2007)

NST article: In a spot over religious status (25/2/2007)


So far I can’t find any article reporting the outcome of their application to change religious status.

Interestingly, the conversion date ranges from 2005 to 2006.  Anyway the religious department says the marriage according to Muslim rites were done in 2004,  meaning she converted after marriage.

Back then, these kind of marriages existed and registering them legally wasn’t a big focus, I guess.

Ok back to the issue at hand. The religious department had shown no respect for law and order. No empathy, no sympathy. No sense of respect. No sensitivity. If conversion happened, then should bring the documents and do it properly. They simply came and took the ashes away.

So, did the deceased marry another person? If not, then M Kamasantheran (or is he Johan Ibrahim?), the eldest son should also be a Muslim and his father should be Ibrahim Noyan. Its quite impractical that they don’t know the existence of the other 9 siblings nor of their father/step-father. It feels like the deceased lead a double life with the children not knowing what happened to her.

Maybe she converted but didn’t inform her children about it and continued to live as an Hindu.

There’s no mention about the husband.  Maybe he had passed away and she returned to her Hindu family?

In the above case, if the whole family is following Hindu religion (including the deceased), then might as well leave it to the family to perform the last rites accordingly.

If the families provides proof of the deceased being a practising Hindu (especially after 2006), does it make the conversion void?

I think to safeguard ourselves, a MyDaftar-like campaign should be conducted by government to provide opportunity for non-Muslims to reaffirm their religious status via a official document or statutory declaration.  We don’t want to be victims after passing away and cause misery for the family.

And what happened to the suggestion that future converts-t0-be must inform their families/next-of-kin? All quiet?

The silence from MHS is also deafening.

On a political note, since this happened in Penang, can expect brickbats for the PR government. But I wonder what can be done legislation wise to avoid this issue in the first place. Can the enactment be amended? Would need approval from MAIPP or King?

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


Tamil school land sold?

November 15th, 2011
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Any idea which school this is? There’s no mention of when the land was sold either. What to do with 0.2ha?

I believe it could be one the following schools which are in the same district:


MALAYSIAN Nanban claimed that a major portion of a 1.4ha land donated to a Tamil school has been fraudulently transferred to the names of two individuals in Nibong Tebal.

It said the land was donated by a well-wisher in 1959 and six people were appointed as trustees.

However, the school received a High Court order saying that 1.02ha had been purchased by the duo, leaving the school with only 0.2ha.

A shocked Parents Teachers Association president P. Rajendran sought clarification from the Pakatan Rakyat state government in Penang.

Deputy Chief Minister P. Ramasamy said irresponsible individuals had allegedly misappropriated the land which rightfully belonged to the school.

He said there was a need to check whether the land was sold with the consent of the trustees or with the interference of “certain people”.

Rajendran called on the state government to help reclaim the land.


Effort in Penang to improve Tamil Schools

August 11th, 2011
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If state can find the land (either acquire or get developer/plantation company to provide free),  and then if the federal government can come up with money to build a proper school, we can solve the Tamil school problems in a faster manner. The examples below highlight the very few success cases. Most of the time, its the sad news that hits us via online and print media for example SJKT Ladang Jeram, SJKT Ladang Bukit Jalil, and SJKT Sg Salak to name a few.

In the case below, I think the school cost RM1.8 million to build.

As for the maintenance fund, RM1.75 million for 28 schools is about 60k++ per school. I think this would be insufficient. Should double it.


FOR many years, 11-year-old V. Megasri used to attend her Tamil primary school by walking to a private clubhouse in Penang and going down its steps into a dilapidated basement.

She was among scores of pupils of the SJK(T) Azad which ignominiously conducted its classes in a cramped and decrepit underground space of the Indian Association building at Jalan Bagan Jermal. Conditions were so unusual and bad that snakes were said to enter the classrooms from surrounding drains.

Starting April, the pupils and teachers of the school finally moved into a much more conducive and permanent site they could call their own. This was after the state government had allocated a plot of prime land at nearby Waterfall Road that had come under the Penang Island Municipal Council.

The upshot of it all is that some 84 pupils of Azad are now attending classes at a spanking new two-storey block with a new library and science laboratory. Enrolment is now expected to rise as the building can accommodate some 200 pupils.

Azad is not the only impoverished Tamil school to be given hope for a fresh lease of life. The state government has approved lands for SJK(T) Valdor and SJK(T) Batu Kawan, both located in ramshackle estate areas of mainland Seberang Perai, with a few more cases of schools with similar problems being looked into.

Interestingly, in the case of Batu Kawan, the new land for the school was acquired by the state. “This is the first time in the history of the country that a state government has acquired land for a Tamil school,” said Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P. Ramasamy.

Certainly, the controversial issue of lands for Tamil schools has not been an easy one for the state administration. This is because the lands that many of the schools are using are not owned by them. In many cases, the authorities did not even know who the owners were.

Last year, the state appointed a lawyer and a senior official from the property sector into its Special Committee for Tamil Schools to conduct a study to help overcome the problem. Chaired by a respected academic from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Datuk Dr K. Anbalakan, the committee has been wading through records and collecting data to find ways to help all 28 Tamil schools in the state, for long plagued with shortcomings and problems.

One of the main moves undertaken by the state has been to set aside annual funding totalling RM1.75 million for all the Tamil schools, for repair and upgrading of their infrastructure. The allocation programme, which began in 2009 with RM1.5 million before it was raised to the current figure the following year, is also complemented for the first time with funding for two Punjabi schools in the state.

Schools that had been mired in problems for years – from shoddy toilets to poorly-stocked libraries – were suddenly provided with much needed injection of cash to overcome such deficiencies, and upgrade their facilities.

There have also been a few cases of needy Chinese and religious schools that have been similarly allocated state lands.

With such fresh lease of life, an important feature in this affair is also the cooperation of the federal government, which is responsible for building the schools on lands provided by the state.

One may remember that in April 2008, then education minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had challenged the new Pakatan Rakyat state governments to disclose how much land they were setting aside for vernacular, mission and religious schools. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng responded by writing to Hishammuddin that the state was ready to provide lands for the needy schools.

With new lands now being delivered, the cooperation of both federal and state parties is essential in enabling schools that have been beset with problems for years, to finally have the buildings and lands that they are only entitled to.



Another source is below.

SJK (T) Azad is anticipating an influx of students after moving from a dilapidated two-room site to a brand new building.

The school, which was operating from the basement of the Indian Association building on Jalan Bagan Jermal, Penang, was moved to a 0.36ha site on nearby Waterfall Road in April.

Special Committee on Tamil Schools in Penang chairman Datuk Dr K. Anbalakan said since the opening of the school building, 10 new students had already joined the school bringing the total number of pupils to 84.

“Before this, the condition of the school was such that no parent would want to sent their students there.

“The school was very noisy and cramped but with the new building, we are expecting many parents from Teluk Bahang and Tanjung Bungah to start sending their children here,” he told reporters during a visit to the school by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Engrecently.

Dr Anbalakan said SJK (T) Azad was currently the nearest Tamil school to Tanjung Bungah and the northern tip of the island.

“SJK (T) Ramakrishnan (on Scotland Road) is the next nearest and many parents (living in the northern part of Penang island) send their children there.

“We are expecting that with this new school building, enrolment into SJK(T) Azad will almost double to about 150 students next year,” he said, adding that a kindergarten at the school would also start next year.

Dr Anbalakan said the current capacity of the 13-room school building was 250 students, although the school could fit some 300 pupils if rooms like the resource centre were converted into classrooms.

The school building, reported to cost RM1.81mil, stands on land leased by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) at a nominal charge of RM120 per annum.

Lim, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy, said the school was located on prime land.

“We are pleased to see that the land has been put to good use for the students. The land value estimated at RM4.8mil in 2008 and had ballooned to at least RM13mil this year.”