Sunday, May 27, 2012

Five on hunger strike over school land | Free Malaysia Today

Five on hunger strike over school land

Aneesa Alphonsus | May 27, 2012
They want MIC to return three acres of land originally given to SRJK (T) Effingham.
KUALA LUMPUR: Five members of Return Effingham Land Action Team (Reflax) are staging a hunger strike to seek the return of three acres of land belonging to the Effingham Tamil School (SRJK (T) Effingham) in Bandar Utama here.

The hunger strike commenced with seven participants at 8.20am yesterday at the water fountain in Brickfield’s Little India.

Two hunger strike protesters dropped out at 6.30pm on Saturday and 12.30am on Sunday citing personal reasons.

Reflax which has been holding candlelight vigils every Saturday night for the past 14 weeks said that the three out of six acres have been grabbed by the MIC, a component party in the Barisan National.

PKR’s MP for Subang R Sivarasa said that MIC had initially planned to build their headquarters on the three acres, but as of May 3 this year claimed that it will now house a hostel for urban students from the estates.
“All the other schools (allocated the land in the area) have kept their six acres – no one has tried to take it from them. But here, with the Tamil school, MIC is trying to grab the three acres for personal use,” said Sivarasa.

Reflax chairman Manivanan Gowin added that after procuring the services of a land surveyor, they have since found out that the three acres is valued at an estimated RM52 million.
“This is perhaps the main reason why MIC is being so stubborn about not letting go of the three acres. I hope that they will take this hunger strike seriously and return the three acres on humanitarian grounds.

“This is a peaceful protest and if MIC fails to return the land in light of this hunger strike, then I don’t think they understand the Hindu concept of what it means and stands for,” said Manivaran.

Last resort

This hunger strike is seen as the  last resort to urge the return of the three acres land for the future expansion of the school.

“When G Palanivel became MIC president in 2009, he kept mum about this issue which has been in existence since 2007. And now suddenly, there are plans for a hostel,” added Manivaran.

“Here, we have five people who have volunteered their time, and lives for this cause. They are roughing it out with the hope that it will bring about the desired outcome.
“They are determined to continue with this hardcore hunger strike without even drink, until the desired outcome is achieved,” he said.

Dr Streram Sinnasamy who examined the 5 protesters today said they are doing well without any signs of fatigue after over 30 hours without food or drink.

“The average person can go without water or food for about three days. After that, they will start to show signs of fatique, lethargy and dizziness. We had checked them before the hunger strike commenced and will perform daily checks to monitor their health,” he said.

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