Surendran – a man whose facts do not figure

FMT LETTER: From PM Sivalingam, via e-mail

PKR Vice-President N Surendran is probably well-versed with the law but is woefully ignorant when it comes to mathematics. His numbers simply do not add up and his facts do not figure.

For instance, he has repeatedly claimed that there are 300,000 stateless Indians in the country. He arrived at that figure not by the use of any credible study but by mere unsupported guesswork.

When he organised a rally at Putrajaya recently ostensibly to champion the cause of stateless Indians, only a mere 300 showed up, that too with a lot of Indian national who are workers in Malaysia hoping to get Malaysian citizenship.  Whatever happened to the remaining 299,700?

He clearly failed for good in his attempt to demonise the government when his rally turned out a mega flop, what more when his political mentor and bosses from Pakatan Rakyat, including Anwar Ibrahim, failed to rally behind him.

Incidentally, we may not have forgotten that Hindraf’s deposed leader P Uthayakumar had once claimed that there were 450,000 stateless Indians. Between Uthayakumar and Surendran, the figure dropped by 150,000. Were they phantom numbers to shore up dwindling numbers of their political supporters?

On the other hand, the government under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak went on record to quash Surendran’s claims by producing actual results. They have worked hard done to search for Indians with documentation problems and bring them forward to register and successfully granted citizenship and other documentations to more than 6,500 Indians.

The remaining cases received through their MyDaftar campaign are still being processed, and the numbers is a far, far cry from 300,000. Now, having failed to steal the spotlight over the so-called 300,000 stateless Indians, Surendran claims that 49,000 children of stateless persons cannot attend school because they do not have birth certificates. He claims these figures were culled from census data and population statistics.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was reported to have said that children without valid personal identification papers could still have access to education as long as they fulfilled the Education Ministry’s circular dated March 11, 2009.

It states a child without personal documents can register at a government school or a government-aided school if one of his or her parents is a Malaysian citizen. This is in line with Malaysia’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Children, which states that stateless children have a right to basic education.

There is no reason therefore for any child born in Malaysia to be denied education. Will Surendran show the proof that there are 49,000 children who are unable to attend school? Can he bring at least 10% of them to the JPN or to the Ministry of Education and assist them to attend school?

In all likelihood, Surendran, being Anwar’s parachuted ‘Indian’ leader in PKR, will sneakily evade this challenge by coming out with lame and pathetic excuses.

“I will only show the proof to the Prime Minister”, “Whether there are 49,000 stateless children or not, the number is not important, be serious to solve the issue”, “Umno and BN must stop its racist policy by denying citizenship to immigrant races” bla bla bla… These are some whining dialogues of Surendran that we are sick and tired of hearing.

In effect, today, the issue of lack of documentation among Indians and other races in Malaysia doesn’t seem to be a serious issue given that the government is already attending to it more seriously to ensure deserving individuals gets their rightful citizenship.

It only seems like people like Surendran are the problem, problem because he has no other issues to fight on, to capitalise on and to fool the people. It is time for Surendran to stop, yes, I repeat, to stop politicising issues on citizenship for his selfish political ambition.

Wise people will judge you not based on how frequently you shout about this matter, but how many people you have actually helped solve their woes. So Surendran, stop making use of people for your advantage and get your facts and figures right before you decide on another circus of yours!