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Kasthuri: M’sia must keep watch on Sri Lanka Govt

 | February 18, 2016

Many Tamils wept openly when the National Anthem of Sri Lanka was sung in Tamil, in commemorating the 68th Independence Day celebration on February 4, for the first time since 1949.

PattoKUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus on Displaced People of Sri Lanka, headed by Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul, will be visiting war affected areas in the north and east of Sri Lanka to evaluate and observe how much has been done for the Tamil community there, said Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto in a statement. “The Sri Lankan Government has so far appeared optimistic on the visit.”

“A follow up on this visit would be to engage with other caucuses and national human rights institutions to pressure the government to keep its promises.”

Likewise, added Kasthuri, the DAP has been a constant and consistent warrior in voicing out against injustice, oppression and discrimination in Malaysia as well and has been fighting tirelessly in upholding fundamental rights and civil liberties without fear or favour for a Malaysian Malaysia. “We want to ensure that the spirit of basic human rights was upheld in Sri Lanka and other democratic nations too.”

Malaysia and the rest of the world will never forget the unforgivable crimes against humanity and the senseless murders of over 40,000 ethnic Tamils during the 30-year bloody war in Sri Lanka, she vowed. “The way forward, to be the voice of the ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, was to constantly pressure and take the Sri Lanka Government to task and make known that Malaysia and Malaysian MPs are watching and monitoring the progress of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts for the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka.”

“The programmes for the Tamils must uphold fundamental liberties and civil rights.”

A point to note is that the last time that the national anthem was sung in Tamil in Sri Lanka was in 1949 and this year, commemorating the 68th Independence Day celebration on Feb 4, the Sri Lanka national anthem was sung in Tamil, a baby step in fostering ties with the ethnic Tamils, said the MP. “This gesture made many Tamilians in Sri Lanka weep openly. It brought back a sense of unity and togetherness.”

While it is the moral obligation of an MP to be sensitive on human rights abuses, said Kasthuri, “it is also my responsibility as well, as a member of the international community, to speak out and be the voice of the Tamils who have been displaced because of the 30-year civil war in Sri Lanka.”

“It’s heartbreaking to visit the land where tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils had perished at the hands of the savage Rajapakse regime.”

To rely solely on human rights reports from the previous regime or even the present Sri Lanka Government, both notorious for denying war crimes, was akin to asking a thief to guard the house, she cautioned. “The true conditions of the displaced Tamils in the war affected areas must be seen with our own eyes. We must see for ourselves whether the reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts are being carried out.”


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