Kula: Sri Lankan killings gravely concern Tamils hereDAP national vice-chairperson M Kulasegaran told a conference of diaspora Tamils in Mauritius last week that opposition parties and NGOs in Malaysia were relentless in pressing the Malaysian government to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka beginning this Friday.
The Ipoh Barat MP said Malaysian support for the boycott would go a long way in bringing across to the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa the gravity of international concerns over human rights abuses in the country during the civil war there (1983-2011) and in its immediate aftermath.
Thus far, the Canadian and Indian governments have announced that their heads won't be attending CHOGM because of rights abuses that have gone unpunished in Sri Lanka.
Kulasegaran (left) told the conference that Malaysia is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council which made it incumbent on it to reject a policy of non-interference when grave human rights abuses had occurred within a national jurisdiction.
"Last year, the president of Sri Lanka was invited to speak at an Islamic conference in Malaysia. There was a hue and cry on the president's intended visit to speak. Later this invitation was cancelled and he called off his visit," Kulasegaran told his Mauritian listeners.
However, the DAP legislator noted that the Malaysian government did not sustain this apparent protest over human rights abuses in Sri Lanka when it yielded to Sri Lankan pressure to harass NGO activist Lena Hendry who was responsible for screening the acclaimed documentary 'No Fire Zone - The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka', a graphic film on the atrocities committed in the final phase of the civil war in that country that ended in May 2011.
KL bowing to Colombo's pressure
Kulasegaran told the conference that the issue of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka was of big concern to Tamil Malaysians.
"I was present (during the raid on the screening of the documentary) and it looked as if the government was bowing to Sri Lankan embassy pressure," he said.
Kulasegaran said he had called for the dropping of charges preferred by the Malaysian government against Lena Hendry (left) and others involved in screening of the documentary.
The federal lawmaker also informed the conference that Tamil language and culture was set for continuity in Malaysia where he said 60% of parents sent their children to Tamil schools for primary education.
He also said that poverty was rampant among the 8% of the Malaysian population of 28 million who were Indians, mainly of Tamil origin.
He said efforts to advance their socioeconomic condition suffered from a lack government aid and from a paucity of opportunities for the community to acquire tertiary academic and technical education