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Friday, June 30, 2017

Reezal Merican, my stand is clear

Penang Umno leader seems to imply that only Politeknik Sebarang Perai officials are capable of telling the truth whereas food stall operator Gobi Krishnan is not, says writer.
COMMENT
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By P Ramasamy
Penang Umno Liaison Committee deputy chairman Reezal Merican Naina Merican, in a press statement yesterday, took me to task for politicising the termination of Gobi Krishnan’s contract to operate a food stall in Politeknik Sebarang Perai (PSP) last month.
Reezal said I not only failed to obtain the correct information from PSP, but ended up politicising Gobi Krishnan’s expulsion to the point of casting aspersions on the education ministry and the federal government.
He denied that there was racial or religious discrimination at PSP. Gobi Krishnan and three other Malay food stall operators were not chosen for the next contract period simply because they did not fulfil the conditions set by the finance ministry’s Kod Bidang 040103 which required them to adhere to guidelines set on “makanan bermasak Islam”.
He added that there was no such ruling that only Muslims could apply for contracts to operate food stalls, explaining that non-Muslims could apply as well as long as everyone adhered to guidelines and conditions set by the PSP’s tender committee.
Reezal criticised me saying that as a former lecturer in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, I should have taken a responsible and matured stand on the rejection of contracts.
He said that I should have contacted PSP and obtained information from them about what exactly transpired and why Gobi Krishnan was denied the opportunity to continue doing business there.
Finally, he praised the Penang MIC Youth committee for taking a more rational stand on this matter by first obtaining the correct information from PSP director Zulkifli Ariffin.
Reezal wants to give an image that he is a rational and responsible politician. But unfortunately, he is not only a member of Umno but one of the prominent leaders of the party in the state of Penang.
While Reezal was adamant that I should have contacted PSP authorities, I would like to ask him a similar question. Did he hear what the victim, Gobi Krishnan had to say about the episode?
Perhaps Reezal would want to ask Zulkifli whether he took a proactive approach in addressing the grievances of Gobi Krishnan.
Now if Gobi Krishnan had not fulfilled “Kod Bidang 040103” on “makanan bermasak Islam” why was he not informed about this pre-condition?
Why didn’t the PSP call for a press conference to clear up the matter when it was first brought to the attention of the public?
Why was the director hiding from the public and the press for some time?
Why did the PSP rely on the MIC to defend the actions of the PSP?
Reezal makes no sense when he asked why I did not contact the PSP to obtain a clearer picture. He is assuming that if I had spoken to the officials in PSP, I would not have been misinformed about the whole episode.
In other words, he is saying only PSP officials are capable of telling the truth whereas Gobi Krishnan is not.
Well, even if I had contacted PSP officials, would they have spoken to me given the permanent gag order imposed by the education ministry on heads of public institutions on speaking to outsiders?
If it is not too much, can I ask Reezal a favour? Can he give me a list of the number of polytechnics in the country and how many have non-Muslim canteens?
Thus, if polytechnics in Penang cannot allow non-Muslim (food stall operators in their) canteens, the situation is much bleaker for other states, especially those under the control of Umno/Barisan Nasional.
Yes, I might have been a lecturer with an institution of higher learning for 25 years, and it is precisely for this reason that I know exactly what goes on in these places.
The hiring of lecturers, the appointments of deans, vice-chancellors and many others are made on the basis of race and religion. Surely, Reezal is not blind to these obvious facts about the “ugly” nature of our “esteemed” public institutions.
I am glad that Reezal has reaffirmed his faith and respect for the MIC for blindly supporting the management of the PSP. After more than 60 years of independence, the sad situation of the non-Malays is because political parties, like the MIC, MCA, Gerakan and MyPPP have sold the interests and concerns of non-Malays for “bread crumbs” thrown to them by Umno.
Reezal likes the MIC simply because they ceased a long time ago to be representatives of the Indians but continued to function as “slaves” and “servants” of Umno.
I stand by what I have said during the press conference that Gobi Krishnan was a victim of racial and religious discrimination, something that is rampant in public institutions and other realms of the society.
P Ramasamy is Penang deputy chief minister and DAP deputy secretary-general. -FMT

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