By P Ramasamy
This refers to the statement by MIC Central Working Committee member R S Maniam in FMT yesterday.
Maniam said I have distorted the facts about the Asia Institute of Medical, Science and Technology (AIMST) owned by the MIC’s educational arm, Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED), and that I have given false information and confused the Indian community.
He further added that I am blind to the academic achievements of AIMST as it is recognised as the second best university after Universiti Malaya. He also questioned my achievements for Indians in Penang, saying that I could not even set up tuition centres for the Indian community.
I would have expected the top leaders of the MIC to have refuted my statements in the press, not a second echelon MIC leader.
Whether Maniam did it on his accord or he acted at the behest of some MIC leaders is not altogether clear. Under normal circumstances I would not have engaged him because apart from being a ‘yes’ man in the CWC, Maniam has no clout or influence in the MIC. As everyone knows, the party is run by a clique that has distanced itself from the aspirations of the Indian community.
Since Maniam is basically a spokesperson for someone in the MIC top circle, my reply is directed not at him but at the leadership itself. I only wish that MIC President S Subramaniam or its former president S Samy Vellu would be bold enough to take me on.
First, it is not my motive to confuse and lie about AIMST to the public. I am merely interested in finding out who owns the university and whether the outfit has anything to do with MIC or MIED. In 2005, Samy Vellu said that AIMIST was owned by some NGOs and that it had nothing to do with MIC or MIED. Is Maniam aware of this?
Second, I am not sure about the academic or professional standards of AIMST and whether it is really the second best university in the country after Universiti Malaya. I am interested in finding out what happened to the millions of ringgit that MIC collected from Indians over the years to build the university. Is this something too much to ask? As a Malaysian citizen am I not entitled to ask this very fundamental question?
Third, in my earlier pieces (both English and Tamil) I wanted to find out why the intake of Indian students is declining in AIMST. Well, if the university was set up with the sole aim of providing tertiary and professional qualifications to poor Indians, then how can those behind this university explain this contradiction? If MCA can maintain the numerical superiority of Chinese students in the Tunku Abdul Rahman University, what is the problem with the MIC then?
Fourth, if AIMIST is just another private university and not intended to serve the Indian community, I would not have raised questions. But when the sole purpose is to serve Indians, then the MIC leadership cannot get away by saying that AIMST has to balance finances with social responsibility. In the case of AIMIST, if the major focus is on the recruitment of Indian students, then social responsibility should prevail over the financial one.
Fifth, I even questioned the appointment of lecturers and administrators. I understand the vice-chancellor of the university is from India and some lecturers are foreigners. Isn’t there a qualified Malaysian Indian who can hold this top post? You mean to say that there is no qualified Malaysian Indian who can fit in this top post?
Sixth, the perpetual question of what I have done for Indians has emerged. But why divert the issue from AIMST to some other subject matter? I have answered this question so many times that it is pointless to be entrapped in the childish diversionary tactics of the MIC.
The MIC knows what the Pakatan Harapan government has done in the last eight years, something that the BN could not do in 60 years.
And Blogger Raja Petra has neither the legitimacy nor the authority to speak on Indian issues let alone allegedly saying that I have failed to set up tuition centres.
P Ramasamy is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.
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