"Close down Tamil school" - Police must take action against Kayneas

Press Statement
by Raymond Chong

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): I challenge MIC Youth to lodge a police report against Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Datuk M. Kayveas' remark that Tamil primary schools should be closed down since MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had stated that such statement by Kayveas is in violation of the law

Although Samy had said that he would bring the matter to the Cabinet for discussion, the fact that he had also insisted that Kayveas' statement is highly sensitive and seditious, the matter should be handed over to the police to investigate.

Sin Chew Jit Poh reported on Thursday an interview with Kayveas wherein he said that Tamil primary schools should be closed down because it is difficult to develop human talents for the country.

On the same day, DAPSY leaders lodge a police report at the Tun H.S. Lee police station urging the police to investigate and take action against Kayveas for his seditious remark.

According to Article 152(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution, "no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language."

By calling for the closure of Tamil primary schools, Kayveas had violated one of the four highly sensitive matters entrenched in the Federal Constitution.

Kayveas later dismissed the allegations of DAPSY as baseless and even claimed that he had never made such a statement.

I respect Kayveas' right to justify his statement and right to legal action if indeed it is true that he had not uttered such remarks. Nevertheless, whether or not the accusations against him are baseless is a matter that should be left to the police to investigate.

I consider that BN leaders lack sensitivity in matters pertaining to a plural society to the extent of causing unnecessary concern amongst certain segments of society. This is because at the UMNO Youth assembly in June 2001, a resolution expressing objection to the building of new Chinese and Tamil primary schools was adopted. In November 2002, UMNO Youth Education Bureau Chairman Dr. Adham Baba urged the government to close down Chinese primary schools due to "extreme prejudice amongst chauvinist Chinese educationists." Now, in 2003, Kayveas has called for the closure of Tamil primary schools.

All these incidents show that Barisan Nasional do not respect mother tongue education as a part of universal human rights and do not respect the right of the people to mother tongue education. Finally, I urge the police to take the DAPSY report seriously. The reason DAPSY had lodged such a report against Kayveas is because we want to defend and uphold the constitutional guarantee of mother tongue education and we consider the police to be the vanguard in the protection of basic fundamental rights.


* Raymond Chong,  DAPSY Vice-chairman