The Yong Peng Tamil School Saga
The Yong Peng Tamil School Saga
The Indian community in Yong Peng is very upset with the 12 year delay in completing the construction of SRJK (T) Yong Peng building. After 12 years they still do not know when the school will be completed. Construction work was stopped around 10 months ago and still no sign of commencing building work.
When I first went to the school site around 2011 end, there was no building but the swampy land was filled with hardened earth. With a few concerned parents and Tamil school supporters, we highlighted the delay and the inaction of the school building committee. The school building committee, PIBG and the local MIC leaders are the same people. The local MIC leaders with the support of state MIC leaders appointed their own contractor and started building work and promised parents that the school will be completed for the 2013 January intake.
By end 2012 with about 70% work completed, the construction work stopped. We again with the support of parents and local supporters voiced our concern and unhappiness over the delay and the unfulfilled promises of MIC leaders. Then work on the school commenced and stopped around February march 2013. Even though the school building is completed but wiring and electrical fittings, roadwork within the compound, playing field for students, tables and chairs and interior work is not done. MIC Johor claims that 90/95% of school completed.
MIC Johor state leader Datuk S.Balakrishnan in a Yong Peng temple function in April 2014 claimed that by June 2014 work will commence with allocation from Menteri Besar office and school will be completed shortly. But it is November 2014 now and no work has commenced and the school will again miss the 2015 January intake. The building committee has no money to complete and they still owe the contractor around 1 million ringgit.
The SRJK (Chinese) Yong Peng School building which is beside the Tamil school location was also allocated land at the same time with Tamil school by SimeDarby Plantation about 12 years ago. This school was 100% funded by government allocations under the leadership of the Member of Parliament for Air Itam Datuk Wee Ka Siong when he was the deputy education minister then. They had their first enrollment in January 2013 and functioning well. But the construction of Tamil school was taken by the Yong Peng and Johor state MIC leaders and yet to see the completion.
Had the local MIC leaders given the responsibility back to the government to complete the Tamil school building along with the Chinese school, the building would have been ready by January 2013. Unfortunately MIC with no financial resources took on the responsibility to complete and the then deputy education minister Datuk Wee Ka siong conveniently agreed and the school is now nobody’s responsibility. The estimated cost to complete Tamil school was 4 million. Federal government gave 2 million, state government gave 300,000 and MIC which is also the building committee raised 20,000. Now the whole building is standstill. They may need another 2 million to complete.
When I blamed MIC for the unnecessary delay and the sole cause for the incompletion of SRJK(T) Yong Peng, the MIC Strategic director Mr Vel Paari took me to task for not knowing the fact that MIC is the guardian and without MIC there will be no Tamil Schools. He accused me of not knowing and ignorant of the facts.
Tamil schools are set up long before MIC/Umno/BN came into existence. Tamil education in Malaysia started when first Tamil primary school was established in Penang in 1816. As the rubber estates grew up in numbers by the end of the nineteenth century, the estate managements and the British government opened more Tamil primary schools. In addition, Christian missionaries in Malaya set up schools as a mean to proselytizing Christianity. By 1905, there were 13 government and Christian mission Tamil schools in Malaya. After World War II, the government started to give serious attention to vernacular education by enforcing Education Ordinance 1946. The law emphasized on free mother tongue education and increased the grant provision to Tamil schools. This move paved the way to the increase of students in Tamil schools and setting up of more Tamil Schools. Under MIC, more Tamil schools were closed then opening new Schools.
He also claimed that if not for MIC, I and the Indian community would not be citizens of Malaysia. Citizenship law was first implemented in several Malaysian states before the country achieved independence and sovereignty. The Naturalization Act of 1867 stated that any person, whilst actually residing in the Colony, may present a memorial to the Governor in Council, praying that the privileges of naturalisation may be conferred upon him. It also provided that such memorial shall state to the best of the knowledge and belief of the memorialist, his age, place of birth, place of residence, profession, trade or occupation, the length of time during which he has resided within the Colony, that he is permanently settled in the Colony, or is residing within the same, with attempt to settle therein.
The present day citizenship acts and rights are derived from the above said enactments. That’s how we still have our rights embedded in the act. If left to MIC, we would have lost out rights long time ago. Our rights are now slowly eroded by Umno with complicity of MIC. That’s why after 2007 hindraf rally MIC lost all legitimacy and support from the community. They still exist because Umno want them to be around and not because Indian community needs them.
Vel Paari should come forward and say when the Yong Peng Tamil School will be completed. Due to the long delay many Indian children are registering in the nearby Chinese and national schools. The Tamil school from Yong Peng B division SimeDarby plantation will be closed and moved to the under construction school. Vel Paari should ensure that the new school licence under construction is a fully aided school and not partially aided of the Yong Peng B division school. Can Vel Paari give more information these above two issues? If opposition parties did not raise Yong Peng Tamil to public knowledge, only hardened earth will still be on the site.