Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Palanivel is a ‘liar’, says Niat’s Thasleem | Free Malaysia Today

Palanivel is a ‘liar’, says Niat’s Thasleem

B Nantha Kumar | December 27, 2011-FMT

Niat, a coalition of Indian NGOs, has officially disbanded itself now that the government has agreed to withdraw the Interlok novel from schools.

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Interlok Action Team (Niat), which has been pushing for the withdrawal of the controversial Interlok novel from schools, has rubbished MIC president G Palanivel’s claim that Niat had prior knowledge of the government’s decision to remove the book from syllabus next year.

Its president Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim said that Palanivel was a “greater liar” who always confused the community.

Thasleem was responding to a new report which quoted the MIC president as saying that Niat had known all along that Interlok would be removed from the school syllabus.

According to a news report in theSun on Dec 19, Palanivel claimed that he had known since May that the controversial novel would be withdrawn from the Form Five sylllabus.

He also claimed that he had spoken to Thasleem regarding the government decision to withdraw Interlok.

Following months of complaints, the education ministy director-general finally on Dec 21 said that it would replace Interlok with Konserto Terakhir from next year.

Earlier on Dec 16, both Palanivel and his MIC deputy Dr S Subramaniam revealed that the cabinet had agreed to remove Interlok from schools. Both said that an official announcement would be made by Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

It was after this that Palanivel had told theSun that he had known since May about the withdrawal, prompting many to dispute his version of events as since May, there had been various statements from MIC as well as others, including Niat, to pressure the government to remove the offending novel.

NIAT infact had even considered hunger strikes and nationwide police reports if the government failed to budge from its decision.

As such, Palanivel’s disclosure that Niat and Thasleem had known of the withdrawal decision did not sit well with Thasleem.

Why was MIC silent?

Thasleem told FMT today that he had only met Palanivel briefly at the Pantai Hospital in early November to visit former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam.

“He (Palanivel) has not met us (Niat) until today in any official or unofficial meetings.

“Yes, I met him (Palanivel) in PMC (Pantai Medical Centre) but there were no discussions.

“He did however hint that Interlok will be removed.

“But the bigger question now is why did the Education Minister amend the book if it was to be withdrawn,” asked Thasleem who spoke to FMT from Australia.

He also urged Palanivel to explain why MIC took such a long time to announce the withdrawal when the decision was allegedly made in May.

Meanwhile, the Niat committee, in a press statement today, officially announced its dissolution now that the government has agreed to withdraw the Interlok from schools.

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