K Kabilan | Apr 12, 08
he Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP) today joined a chorus of calls being made to the government to ensure that ISA-detained Hindraf legal advisor P Uthayakumar is given a proper medical treatment.
MIUP president KS Nallakaruppan said that it was the duty of the government to ensure Uthayakumar received proper medical treatment for his diabetes.
�The detention centre authorities must make sure that Uthayakumar and the other four Hindraf detainees are in good health,� said Nallakaruppan today.
�The authorities must not fail in their duty to provide healthcare for these detainees.
�If they are needed to be admitted in a hospital, they then should be admitted. If they need to see a specialist, again, the detention centre must make arrangements for that,� he added.
He also warned that the detention camp authorities should not turn the admission of any of these Hindraf leaders into a government hospital into a media event.
�We see them parading Uthayakumar in handcuffs while being taken to the hospital and back to the detention centre.
�This shouldn�t happen. He is not a criminal. If you are taking him to the hospital for treatment, then make sure that he gets the propers treatment,� he said.
Nallakaruppan also urged the detention centre authorities to allow Uthayakumar to receive his proper medications from his doctors.
Similarly, Nallakaruppan added that two other Hindraf detainees - V Ganabatirau and R Kenghadharan - had also complained of being denied medical treatment.
�I urge the authorities to look into this matter seriously. I know how it feels to be locked up and being denied medical treatment. The government must show its humane face by giving proper medical treatment for these detainees,� he added.
Family: a silent heart attack
Uthayakumar, Ganabatirau, Kenghadharan, M Manoharan and T Vasantha Kumar - all key leaders of Hindu Rights Action Force - were detained under the Internal Security Act on Dec 13 shortly after organising a mammoth rally in on Nov 25 which saw some 30,000 Indians taking to the streets.
Uthayakumar, a diabetic for the past 12 years, was admitted to the Taiping hospital in Perak on April 7 after his sugar level rose to more than three times the normal level.
His lawyer Santha Devi Velusamy complained that he was not given his diabetes medicines for the past one month despite making repeated requests to the detention centre director.
Uthayakumar was discharged from the hospital on April 10 and taken back to the detention centre but his family members insist that he is still not well.
Uthayakumar�s brother and Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy today criticised the authorities for prematurely discharging his sibling from the hospital.
In a statement issued from where he is currently based, Waythamoorthy urged all Hindraf supporters to lodge police reports against the director of detention centre and the Home Affairs Minister for �negligently and prematurely discharging Uthayakumar thus seriously damaging his health�.
�My family member who visited him confirms his complaints of decreased vision, giddiness, weakness and uncomfortable feeling in the heart.
�The doctor who examined him at hospital suspected he may have damaged heart muscles and is suffering a silent heart attack as a result of being denied diabetes medication for more than a month,� he said.
Police reports lodged
Waythamoorthy added that a proper test to confirm Uthayakumar�s heart condition is only available at the Taiping hospital on April 28.
�His condition is so serious and my family are willing to bear the private medical expenses. He needs to be referred to IJN urgently and we need the public to support our request for urgent private medical treatment,� he added.
Waythamoorthy also claimed that upon Uthayakumar�s discharge from the hospital, he was again denied medication for more than 20 hours and served diet with high sugar content.
In order to force the government to provide proper medical treatment to Uthayakumar, his mother K Kalaivaniy and fianc�e Indra Devi Subramaniam lodged separate police reports at the Seremban and Brickfields police stations respectively this morning.
Yesterday some 300 Hindraf supporters gathered at the Kamunting detention centre to protest against the lack of medical treatment for Uthayakumar
Supporters rally for ill Uthaya
Andrew Ong | Apr 11, 08
Some 300 Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters today rallied in protest over alleged denial of medical attention being given to ISA detainee P Uthayakumar.
The placard-armed crowd gathered in front of the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping at about 2pm today and held their peaceful protest while being under the watchful eyes of about 50 police personnel for about 90 minutes.
Hindraf coordinator S Thanentheran told Malaysiakini that the crowd were outraged that Uthayakumar - one of the movement�s most recognisable face - was not treated humanely.
�His potassium level is very low. It has caused him to become weak. His diabetic readings are also dangerously high at 15.5. His vision is failing him.
�Hindraf supporters are angry, as they know his condition. This is very inhumane of the government. We hold ministry and camp commandant responsible for his life,� he said.
Camp officials had admitted Uthayakumar to the Taiping Hospital on April 7. He was discharged two days later. Thanentheran said that Uthayakumar has yet to recover fully.
�His detention diet is not suitable for a diabetic. He is not allowed to give himself insulin shots. His sole medications are pills which are not enough,� he added.
Thanentheran had earlier failed in an attempt to convince camp authorities to allow a private doctor to treat Uthayakumar.
Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan who also attended the rally warned that the camp authorities must not be negligent in ensuring the well-being of detainees.
�I believe if the camp denies Uthayakumar right to seek medication and doctor of his choice, they are violating the law. Action can be taken against them,� he said, adding that the Home Ministry must act on the matter.
Gobalakrishnan however commended the police for their cooperation extended during the peaceful protest.
|Thrown out of school because they were 'foreigners'|
|Chan Kok Leong | Apr 10, 08 5:41pm|
Is it a matter of inhumanity or blind observance to the letter of the law? Or in this case, a birth certificate.
Two boys, Merannto and Sri Gunawan, were literally thrown out of their Tamil language school in because they were considered foreigners.
On Tuesday, both brothers, aged eight and seven, were told to surrender their text books and leave the school they had been attending in Sri Segambut.
The elder boy has been attending classes for a year in the school while the younger one was enrolled early this year.
According to Merannto, class teacher Lilli Puspam and headmistress VR Taiyanayakai told them that they could not attend SRJK (T) Sri Segambut anymore because they were foreigners.
"Who asked you to come to school? Go stand at the pondok (guard house) outside," Lilli was alleged to have told the brothers.
As foreign sounding their names are, the brothers were actually born in
Their father Arjunan Katervaloo had married an Indonesian woman Narti in a traditional ceremony prior to their birth.
But due to her nationality, they didn't register their marriage with the National Registration Department until February 2005.
Arjunan, 56, said that they were in the midst of applying for the two to enter a local school.
Armed with documents from the Ministry of Education (Federal Territory) dated 31 Dec, 2007, Arjunan said it was very harsh of the authorities to throw his sons out of shool.
"We've already applied to the relevant authorities to rectify this and all we needed was a little compassion from the school," said the odd job labourer.
"While the delay by the Ministry of Education has complicated the situation, still my sons should not have been thrown out of school," he told Malaysiakini.
The nationality in the birth certificates of Merannto and Sri Gunawan are noted as non-Malaysian despite Arjunan's nationality. to a Malaysian father.
|Xavier's top priority is estate workers|
|Soon Li Tsin | Apr 10, 08 2:07pm|
Addressing estate workers� woes was the first issue he wanted to tackle since stepping into office, said Selangor health, estate workers affairs, poverty eradication and caring government chairperson Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
The Seri Andalas state representative wore a wide smile when Malaysiakini entered his office and quickly apologised for the air-condition that was blasting at 16 degrees in his fifth floor office located in Shah Alam.
Explaining how he grew up in an estate, the PKR deputy secretary-general spoke passionately about the visions he has for the poor, the controversial executive councillor village and combatting dengue in the state.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
Can you tell us about the scope of duties in your state exco portfolio?
I�m handling the health portfolio for the state. I also have the estate workers affairs portfolio which involves (looking after) their livelihood, status and habitat. Then I have the poverty and caring government portfolio. The calculation for poverty is a family of 4.6 members earning about RM730 per month and below. So anybody that comes below that will be considered as poor and we would give them the support and help from the state government.
This caring government thing is a reflection of the Hardcore Poverty Development Programme (PPRT), building homes for the poor who can�t afford it in Selangor. I�m in discussion with state officials on new ideas on how we can be more inclusive of the whole population of Selangor. I say that because at the moment, the caring government is just building houses for the poor and one of the conditions for this is that you must own the lot.
If you look into this, the only people who have got lots under their names will mostly be the Malays because they have all the reserve land. The lots has to be permanent and not temporary occupation licences (TOLs) as well. We don�t build on TOL land.
So I am discussion with the state officials in order to have a new proposal and extend the scope so that it would be more reflective of the Selangor population at large and not just concentrate on one particular group. So this covers the scope of my work. As you can see it�s quite wide, it�s actually quite difficult.
Apart from that, it looks like my scope is to solve all Indian problems in the state because I�ve got an overwhelming response from the Indian community coming to see me for issues pertaining to religious buildings, labour, employment, education.
So they seem to think anything and everything to do with the Indian community would have to be addressed by me. I have a continuous flow of people coming to see me about all these problems although a lot of them are not under my jurisdiction but the other excos. Now I pass the matters on to them.
The temple issue has become my personal issue because the state has set up this committee that will take care of non-Muslim religious buildings and issues. I am the chairperson for this. Having gone through the papers previously, we have to rewrite the guidelines and proposals put forth by the state officials.
I�ve already called a meeting with NGOs and interested parties as far as this is concerned. I�ve put forward my proposals to them and I�ve given them a time frame of three weeks to come back with counter proposals as far as guidelines are concerned and budget requirements to tackle this huge problem facing the non-Muslim community.
Don�t expect anything to happen immediately. We�ll have to have discussions, commitment and approval from the exco but I am very optimistic that this will be approved by them.
Will the Selangor state exco village houses in Section 7, Shah Alam be sold?
We have had discussions with state officials and we�ve gotten feedback from the sultan. He has advised the menteri besar (Khalid Ibrahim) who has then advised the exco and state representatives, that the property we�re talking about is actually landed property which belongs to the state government. He is not too happy about selling off state land so easily.
Selangor has a problem with land, especially state land. A lot of development and conversion has taken place so the state is running short of land. So rather than selling the exco complex, he has asked us to rent it out to corporates and people who can afford the rent. In that way we also get monthly revenue out of this complex.
What are your views on the Indian cultural centre idea proposed by the previous government? Will you be pursuing it further?
I just came to know about this project only about a week ago and this has been an on-going project since 2003. There is a certain amount of budget available for the building of this cultural centre.
Actually my immediate idea and gut feeling (when I heard this) was to have a cultural centre which represents as a multiracial, multireligious centre that we should all agree on. We will design with the best architects and even get foreign input and to develop a cultural village in somewhere where land is available.
This would become a great tourist attraction for the people. I think I have some support on this issue. It can be a tourist icon in . There also a lot of private sector interest in this field as well.
Whether we want to continue with the (Indian cultural centre) project in , that has yet to be seen. We have to see what is it that people are offering us in but if there are other counter proposals, we�re open to that.
The MB and the excos agrees with us that this project has to find an ending, it�s been too long on paper and the money is just sitting there. We have to come to a conclusion. I think you�ll be hearing from us soon.
What is the budget that has been allocated for this project?
The Indian cultural centre has been given RM20 million, the Chinese and Malay-Muslim are also given RM20 million each so if you combine it, you have a RM60 million budget and you can do wonders with that. But everyone has to agree on this. You want to bring all the races together then I think we should be able to agree that we can have a cultural centre in one compound.
At present Selangor lacks tourist attractions. To be very frank, we don�t have enough places to promote Selangor in terms of tourism apart from being close to . The other tourist attractions in Selangor in my personal view is not up to the mark and something has to be done.
What are your views on criticisms against the new state government for not giving enough state exco seats to Indians?
My views are that the state government and I can only speak for Selangor, did look into the needs of all Selangorians and Tan Sri was in constant consultation with us and the party. We did a brainstorming session and we came to a conclusion that we have to safeguard the interest of Selangor as a whole.
From the beginning we have said that everything is a Malaysian issue [...] like temple demolitions, education, poverty - this would transcend racial lines. In that context, we agreed that we didn�t want the deputy MB position. It is more important that the exco members understand they have to serve everyone. We have to prove that it can work.
On the Indian issue, our choices were actually limited. It is just unfortunate that one of our state assemblyperson is in Kamunting (M Manoharan won in Kota Alam Shah) and the other who was here is a junior member in the party hierarchy.
The choice was to have a senior member from the party to represent the Indian community. But we also took into consideration that the racial breakdown of the members of the exco should reflect the state of .
It doesn�t mean that if you don�t have an extra Indian in the exco that the needs of the Indian community will be neglected. I think I speak for all the other excos on this - that they are prepared to tackle the Indian problems in the state as well and working very closely with me.
What are your plans for the state in resolving the many problems such as eviction, housing and mistreatment faced by the estate workers?
That has been on my agenda since I stepped into the office. I have called for a brainstorming session and discussion among top people in the state, representatives from NGO, the public, NPUW (National Union of Plantation Workers), MTUC (Malaysian Trade Union Congress), universities and political parties. The meeting is scheduled for April 22 and we�re brainstorming on how we will help the estate workers.
There are two aspects that I will concentrate on. One is that I would like some kind of legislation to introduce an estate ownership program. I take guidance from the Kelantan state government because they have quite a comprehensive policy that whenever an estate is going to be converted for development into housing, the estates have to make sure that they give proper housing to estate workers.
What I heard is that land is given and converted at a minimal rate from plantation to housing and basic amenities like roads and water supply are done at a minimal cost. It is high time that estate owners have corporate social responsibility in terms of investment and environment. They should have some kind of payback for the workers. The MB has also been supportive and we�re already holding a discussion with all estate owners in Selangor on April 29. We�re going to put forward our proposals and I think it�s going to be a very friendly chat.
Secondly, when it comes to the estate workers� livelihood, the only way to remove them from this cycle of poverty is through education. I�m also going to propose to the state that we need to pay attention to the children of plantations workers and they would need some kind of assistance from the state as well as the estate management.
We�re expecting (the estate owners) to help us out with this program where we want to start some hostels for estate children. We�re now working on the number of hostels we can put up and would need huge financial backing and budget to be drawn up. There�s a working committee set up and they are going to come back with proposals and then I�m going to take it to the exco and state. With the help of the estate workers and NUPW, I think we would succeed.
Will the Selangor state be pushing for a minimum wage for workers?
This is one of our election promise but you must understand that we didn�t get (to be) the federal government. In the state, we are now working and finding out what our financial situation is and see if it shows that we are in a position to increase wages among the state officials and government workers.
Of course we will then put up a plan in order to increase wages. But this needs long term studies, the implications are high. You have to see what is our income and expenditure.
What are the health issues being dealt with by you in the state?
The health in the state is actually run by the state health authorities which is under the federal government. I think they are doing a wonderful job for the people of Selangor. What I would be concentrating on will be mainly tackling the dengue problem.
Selangor has the largest number of dengue cases a year and the number of deaths last year was more than 30. On average we get about 40 dengue cases a week now. Aedes is a very hardy creature, it lays eggs in very clear water and all is needed is the size of a 20 sen. If the water dries up, the eggs are there and they can still hatch after the water comes back again.
What I want to do is to increase the monitoring of areas around Selangor through the health department. I�ve got feedback from the department that those who fog are not monitored properly. I�m concerned with the privatisation of fogging services.
We will also make checks at eateries to make sure they are clean and follow all regulations. My other concern is the use of colouring in food in manufacturing factories that are bring sold openly to children and the public. We will ask out health officials to check on this every now and then.
Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."