It should quit BN for failing to defend Interlok amendments, says M Manogaran.
PETALING JAYA: The Interlok debacle has taken away the last traces of MIC’s legitimacy as a party representing Malaysian Indians, according to the MP for Teluk Intan, DAP’s M Manogaran.
He said the party had failed to convince the government to withdraw the controversial novel from schools and it must quit Barisan Nasional to save its dignity.
In a press statement released today, he noted that MIC could not even defend amendments to the novel proposed by the three Indian representatives on a panel appointed for the purpose.
The three withdrew from the eight-member panel last week, complaining that the panelists had reneged on an earlier consensus to make about 100 amendments to the novel, which critics say portray Indians in a negative light.
“Stop calling yourself as the Indian community representative,” Manogaran said, addressing MIC. “You don’t have the legitimacy anymore to fight for the Indians.”
He said Pakatan Rakyat would continue to fight for Indian interests, including their desire to see Interlok removed from schools.
One of the three who quit the Interlok panel is Uthaya Sankar SB, chairman of the Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan. Speaking to FMT, he said: “During a panel meeting on March 4, the panel agreed to the proposal by the three Indian panelists to strikeout the word ‘pariah’ and to make about 100 corrections to factual errors.
“Suddenly, on March 16, we were called for a discussion with the Education Minister and were told the panel had only agreed to take out the word ‘pariah’ and that the factual errors will remain.
“Their reason given was that the factual errors have nothing to do with racial sensitivity.”
The other two panelists were NS Rajendran of the Institute of Global Studies and G Krishnabahwan, a former official of the Information Ministry.
Uthaya Sankar said even factual errors had bearings on racial sensitivity.
For example, he said, no Indian woman in the era depicted in the novel (about a century ago) would have called her husband by his name. “But Maniam’s wife in the novel called him by name. There was no such thing in those days.”