KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi has expressed disappointment as the police appear to be interfering in a land dispute between a Tamil and Chinese school in Port Dickson. “This is a civil matter,” stressed Hindraf Chairman P. Waythamoorthy in a statement.
Waytha, a human rights advocate and senior lawyer in private practice, alleged that police sided with the developers “unlawfully carrying out building works on land belonging to the Tamil school”.
He complained the police also prevented a gathering on Sunday of 130 parents, well-wishers and local residents who wanted to confirm the encroachment, by the neighbouring Chinese school, onto land belonging to the Tamil school. “Parents and well-wishers present were upset that police interfered in a simple private issue of land encroachment.”
Briefly, said the Hindraf Chief, barricades were placed for the first time at the entrance of the Ladang St Leonard. “This came as a rude shock to parents and local residents.”
He charged that fully armed police officers manned the entrance besides there being a large number of police inside the estate and outside. He views this as a form of intimidation and intended to instill fear in the former plantation workers. He pointed out that they had gathered peacefully to express their unhappiness at events unfolding at SJK(T) St. Leonard.
A two-hour long protest was held outside Ladang St Leonard to demand the headmistress of the Tamil school be transferred out of the school.
A Basanthakumar, who addressed the crowd, explained that despite various appeals to the headmistress to object to the land encroachment by the Chinese school, she refused and eventually prevented parents from entering the school premises. Apparently, she did not want them to take photos and inspect the extent of encroachment.
Several parents also addressed the demonstration. It appears the straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident recently where the headmistress forced a student to consume food thrown in a trash bin.
Pastor Paul, who runs an orphanage home within the school grounds, has since pledged that he would not allow any of his charges to attend school until the headmistress was removed.
The students of the school are now attending classes at his home until the Education Minister removes the headmistress and addresses the encroachment problem created by her and the Chinese school.
It’s learnt that Hindraf, acting on behalf of the parents concerned, has since written three letters to the Education Minister on grievances but to no avail.