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Abdullah should reprimand and discipline Jamaludin Jarjis for his disgraceful conduct in making racist and derogatory remarks about Malaysian Indians when he met Malaysian students in California on Monday


Media Statement (2)       
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Saturday) : The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should reprimand and discipline the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis for his disgraceful conduct in making racist and derogatory remarks about Malaysian Indians when he met Malaysian students in California on Monday (30th April). 

During his official visit to California on Monday, Jamaludin met some of the Malaysian students studying in California especially the ones from TPM Academy twinning programme at the Belacan Grill Malaysian Restaurant, Redondo Beach, Ca. 

One of the students was Sheena Moorthy, a third-year Biotech Malaysian student in CALYPOLY. 

Sheena complained that during the 3 ½ hour session, Jamaludin passed a few racial remarks on her, being one of the two Indians present there. 

Sheena has formally written to the Prime Minister to complain against Jamaludin for the “totally uncalled-for racial insults”, citing the following instances: 

Incident 1 - Each student had to briefly introduce themselves. When it came to her  turn, while speaking he interrupted her and asked if she knew Samy Vellu, because he knows him. She did not see any relevance in that and he mentioned it a few times for no apparent reason. 

Incident 2 – He gave a speech regarding how agriculture started in Malaysia. He mentioned how the British invested in Malaysia and made farmers work. Due to the lack of work force, “buruh India” was brought in. While mentioning this, he looked at her saying “that’s how we get Indians in Malaysia”. 

Incident 3 – After saying he is going to get MARA to help the Bumiputra students, he looked at her and asked “How many Indians are here?”  Sheena did not keep track of number of Indian students so she mentioned that in the room there were  two (pointing to another Malaysian Indian friend, who is fair skinned) and Jamaludin looked at him and asked “Oh. You are an Indian? Which means you are an upper class Indian and she is the lower class one” (pointing at her). Jamaludin went on to say that, “Oh, I am not going to help upper class Indians, I only help the lower class ones. They are the ones that need it’.  

Sheena left the room feeling very insulted as the Minister had judged her based on her skin colour. 

This incident happened in front of a crowd of about 100 people including students, officials from the Malaysian Consulate, TPM, Tourism Malaysia, etc. But everyone is afraid and nobody is prepared to stand up to speak the truth. 

I can fully understand Sheena’s hurt feelings at being humiliated and insulted by Jamaluddin in public. All right-thinking Malaysians should support Sheena’s demand for a public apology from Jamaludin. 

Sheena’s sister, Dr. Sheela Moorthy, who is currently living in the USA and supporting her sister’s education at CalyPoly, is so incensed that she has written to the media to express her disgust and anger that a Minister of a multi-racial country should be making such racist and derogatory remarks about Malaysian Indians at a function abroad, giving the country a bad image.  

Sheena has also written to complain about Jamaluddi’s biased and disgraceful conduct to several Malaysian Ministers, including the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu. 

I hope Samy Vellu would raise the Sheena issue at the Cabinet meeting next Wednesday to add his voice to the growing demand for public apology from Jamaludin and to support the Prime Minister to reprimand and take disciplinary action against the Science, Technlogy and Innovation Minister. 

Jamaludin is still in the United States as he is currently leading a 300-man Malaysian delegation to the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) Convention in Boston, Massachussets.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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