George Town – The ongoing Seberang Perai Polytechnic issue has turned into a war of words between Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof Dr Ramasamy and Penang UMNO’s Deputy Chief Datuk Reezal Merican.
The following is the full text of Press Release by Dr Ramasamy issued on Saturday (1 July 2017) :
“Reezal Merican, my stand is clear!
Reezal Merican Naina Merican, deputy chairperson of Penang Umno Liaison Committee in his 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 (pic) 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 Ministry of Education and the federal government.
He denied that there was racial or religious discrimination in PSP. Gobi Krishnan and three other Malay tenderers failed to obtain their contracts simply because they did not fulfill the conditions set by the Ministry of Finance’s Kod Bidang 040103 which required them to adhere to guidelines set on “makanan bermasak Islam”.
He further added that there was no such thing as only Muslims can apply for food stalls, non-Muslims could apply, but all must adhere to guidelines and conditions set by the PSP’s tender committee.
Reezal criticized me saying that as a former lecturer in UKM, I should have taken a responsible and matured stand on the denial of contract. I should have contacted and obtained information about what exactly transpired and why Gobi Krishnan was denied an opportunity.
Finally, he praised the Penang MIC Youth committee for taking more rational stand on this matter by first obtaining the correct information from the PSP director, Zulkifli Ariffin.
Reezal Merican 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. At broad level, he deliberately misses the point that his party, Umno by virtue of the control of the government for more than 60 years is largely responsible for the current state of affairs in the country.
Racial and religious polarization have permeated all aspects of the Malaysian society, including the public education system. No amount of white-washing will erase the damage that Umno and BN have done to create inter-ethnic and inter-religious tensions.
While Reezal was adamant that I should have contacted the PSP authorities, I would like to ask him a similar question. Did he manage to hear from what the victim, Gobi Krishnan had to say about episode?
Perhaps Reezal would want to ask the director of PSP, Zulkifli Ariffin whether he took a pro-active approach in addressing the grievance of Gobi Krishnan.
Now if Gobi Krishnan had not fuffilled “Kod Bidang 040103” on “makanan bermasak Islam” why was he not informed about this condition. Why did not 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 had to rely on the spineless political clowns in the MIC to defend the actions of the PSP?
Ramasamy and Gopi Krishnan at the press conference held on 29 June 2017 to highlight the Seberang Perai Polytechnic’s canteen issue
Reezal makes no sense when he asked why I did not contact the PSP to obtain a clearer picture. He simply assumes that if I had spoken to the officials in PSP, I would not have been mis-informed about the whole episode. In other words, he was saying only the PSP officials are capable of telling the truth whereas Gobi Krishnan was not.
Well, even if I had contacted the PSP oficials, would they have spoken to me given the permanent gag order imposed by the Ministry of Education on heads of public institutions on speaking to outsiders?
If I am asking 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 of them have non-Muslim canteens?
Thus, if polytechnics in Penang cannot allow non-Muslim canteens, the situation is much more bleaker for the other states, especially those under the control of Umno/BN.
Yes, I might have been lecturer with a institution of higher learning for 25 years, but precisely for this reason I know exactly what goes in institutions of higher learning. The hiring of lecturers, the appointment of deans, vice-chancellors and many other appointment are done on the basis of race and religion. Surely, Reezal is not blind to these obvious and stark 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. More thn 60 years of independence, the sad situation of non-Malays is precisely because political parties like the MIC, MCA, Gerakan and MyPPP have sold the interests and concerns of non-Malays for some “bread crumbs” thrown to them by Umno.
Reezal likes the MIC simply because they have ceased long time ago to be representatives of 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 victim of racial and religious discrimination that are so rampant in public institutions and other realms of the society.
No amount of white-washing will ever cleanse the havoc Umno/BN has done all these years. This is the reason why I seriously think that the country needs a new political alternative.”