ALL PRIMARY school pupils should learn their mother tongue first before they move on to their secondary school education, Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said.
“Learning your mother tongue is a basic right of every citizen.
“Most Indians and Chinese in Malaysia have always emphasised the importance of learning one’s mother tongue hence the mushrooming of many vernacular schools throughout the country,” Siti Mariah said after launching a book by Tamil writer M. Varatharajoo at the MBSA Hall in Taman
Varatharajoo’s book entitled Vanjikappadum Malaysia Tamil Kalvi Poraadum Makkal is based on the problems faced by the Tamil primary schools in the country.
Siti Mariah said the book showed the frustration of the author on the condition of Tamil schools in the country and the people who had abused their power forsaking the well-being of the children and the Indian community.
“The author spent five years doing research on Tamil schools throughout Negri Sembilan, Johor and Perak.
“I hope someone would sponsor this book to be published in Malay, Chinese and English languages so it can reach out to all,” Siti Mariah said.
Sri Muda assemblyman Shuhaimi Shafiei, who was present at the launch, said the Indian community had been suffering in silence for years with regard to Tamil schools.
He points out that there were 999 Tamil schools in 1957 and the number has now dwindled to 523 with 150 of these schools having fewer than 50 pupils.
“There are also alleged cases of headmasters taking money allocated for poor pupils.
“At the end of last year, there were 105,618 pupils in 523 Tamil schools in the country, with most of them studying in buildings that are in deplorable condition,’’ Varatharajoo, who is an author of five books, said.
He said Tamil schools were faced with various problems such as termite infestation, lack of funds for chairs and tables and some even not having enough classrooms.
The 304-page-book is priced at RM25 a copy.
Those who want to get a copy can write to PO Box No 7424, 40670 Shah Alam, Selangor, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org