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FOMSO Forum January 2013 • Vol 1 of 1 • www.fomso.org

Private Circulation for Affiliates & Members Only

In Person with .... Dato’ S. Kulasegaran, President, FOMSO “ JCS has promoted the economic interest and well being of its members.......”

The Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre (MCNCC)

FOMSO’S Seven Humanitarian Aid Missions to Sri Lanka


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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF FOMSO, DATO’ S. KULASEGARAN

It gives me great pleasure to pen a few words on the Launch of the FOMSO FORUM. I wish to applaud the great efforts made by Mr Rasanayagam, Mr Vickneswaran, Ms Neelambika, Mr Eric Kanapathy, President, MJTBA and its members in organising the Launch of the magazine. The FOMSO FORUM will serve as a valuable medium of communication to all our Affiliates and their members, and indeed to the entire Ceylonese Community in Malaysia as regards the various activities, functions, festivities and other matters which will be on-going from time to time for the benefit of the Community. The FOMSO FORUM will have a significant role to play in the light of the progress and development of the Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre (MCNCC). The Centre will be the focal point of the Community’s activities at the National level and will serve many purposes – cultural, educational, medical, culinary and others which will be carried out in the Centre. It only remains for me to urge all the members of all the Affiliates of FOMSO and the members of the Community at large to make full use of the FOMSO FORUM for the benefit of themselves and their families, and for the greater good of the Community. Let me take this opportunity to wish all the members of our Community a belated Happy New Year.

Dato’ S. Kulasegaran The President of FOMSO

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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FROM THE EDITOR

Editor

K. Neelambika

F

Contributors

Jeyakuhan S.K. Jeyasingam David Chelavasingam Alfred Sarojini Krishapillai K. Aruljothi A. Gnanarajah S.Logarajah A. Vijayendran Siva Ahnantham M. Vickneswaran K. Neelambika

FOMSO Editorial Committee N. Rasanayagam (Chairman) S. Logarajah V. Mahalingam M. Vickneswaran

Creative & Design

Mahendran Sivanesan @ Mac N2 Publishing Sdn Bhd

Publication sponsored by Brickfields Asia College

Published by

Federation of Malaysian Sri Lankan Organisations (FOMSO) No: 24, Jalan Teh Hung Kiat (12/13), 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: +603 7954 2269 Fax: +603 7954 2321 E-mail : kneelambika@yahoo.com

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OMSO is delighted to launch this inaugural edition of the FOMSO FORUM as a freshly formatted community magazine. In the past, FOMSO had issued several newsletters to keep the Malaysian Ceylonese community informed of its several activities and initiatives. The FOMSO FORUM will undoubtedly continue to maintain this important objective to communicate. The intent of the FOMSO FORUM is to extend the boundaries to also serve as a medium for the community to communicate back to FOMSO, and amongst ourselves. The FOMSO FORUM proposes to serve as a common news portal for all its 21 affiliates and their respective membership. The FOMSO FORUM will include articles and features that showcase our community, highlight matters that are of common interest and which bond us together. These include our concerns, aspirations, achievements, history, cultural heritage, healthy lifestyle, sports, economic upliftment, literary and travel interests. The contents for this first issue provide an inkling for the FOMSO FORUM concept and was put together by invited contributors to get the FOMSO FORUM off-the-block. Subsequent issues will certainly be improved, for instance, to prospectively include a ‘Letters to the Editor’ page, ‘Sports’, ‘The Performing Arts’ and ‘Tips on Personal Investment’. In this connection, the FOMSO FORUM invites all affiliates and Malaysian Ceylonese to contribute. We are certain that there are many gifted, talented and creative writers in our midst. So if you’ve been on a great trip with family or friends, or are knowledgeable on our culture, heritage or history, or if you would like to share a review of your favourite book, please write in and become a published writer. At this juncture, the FOMSO FORUM is planned as a quarterly issue, in January, April, July and October of 2013. In the event that the volume of contributions increases markedly, then the frequency of the FOMSO FORUM could be increased in tandem, say as a bi-monthly. The FOMSO FORUM is published primarily as an electronic community magazine by uploading onto FOMSO’s official website (www.fomso.org) and each affiliate will also onward transmit a PDF copy to its members. This format not only avoids the substantial costs for printing and distribution, but also enables national and worldwide access. There will be a limited number of digital prints for the records. In future issues, we hope to incorporate more advertisements. In this issue, members from the Malaysian Jaffna Tamil Business Association (MJTBA) had contributed advertisements. This profit attributable to FOMSO will be channelled towards the fund for the Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre (MCNCC). The MCNCC is the symbol of our community, and is our pride and joy. Hence, we appeal to all our affiliates and to all Malaysian Ceylonese to assist with this endeavour to source for advertisements. We must all work together so that our common goals and interests are advanced. Finally, as we reiterate our invitation to submit articles for the FOMSO FORUM, we must state for the record that FOMSO’s editorial committee must naturally reserve the right to vet, to edit and to approve all drafts to avoid any inadvertent consequences. Last but not least, I would like to thank the members of the FOMSO Editorial Committee for their guidance and those who kindly consented to be interviewed and the contributors for their articles, without whom, this inaugural issue would not have been possible. My appreciation also, to S. Mahendran for his kind assistance with the design of the magazine.

K. Neelambika Read our magazine online @ www.issuu.com/fomso

Editor On Behalf of the FOMSO Editorial Committee Note: You may submit your article by E-mail to kneelambika@yahoo.com, or alternatively, you could post it to FOMSO’s address at No: 24, Jalan Teh Hung Kiat (12/13), 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan

NOTICE OF BIRTHS, WEDDINGS & ANNIVERSARIES We would like to make the FOMSO FORUM a more community orientated magazine. In this regard, we would like to invite our members and readers to send in their photographs with a brief caption of their Births, Weddings & Anniversaries. This will be a great feature in our magazine. Please send the photographs with full contact details to the Editor Ms. Neelam, email: kneelambika@yahoo.com. 2

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


WHAT’S COMING

Planned activities of FOMSO & Its Affiliates Federation of Malaysian Sri Lankan Organisations (FOMSO) Launch of the Inaugural Issue of FOMSO FORUM

10 February 2013

The Education Bureau of FOMSO is organising Hinduism classes, in English covering 12 topics February to April 2013 that will be delivered by prominent speakers. The venue is the Kalamandapam, Jalan Scott, KL, and will be held on Friday evenings, starting at 7.30pm. Full details will shortly be announced. Ceylon Tamil’s Kalavirthy Sangam Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan Annual Ponggal festival with members, family and friends at its premises at 40 Jalan Utara, off Jalan Imbi,KL.

20 January 2013

Biennial General Meeting

Mid February 2013

A health talk on “Pranayama”, which in Sanskrit means “extension of the breath” or more accurately “extension of the life force” for members, family and friends. The lecture/ demonstration will most likely be in two parts, each session of about 2 hour duration.

TBA

Persatuan Perkhidmatan Masyarakat Ceylonese Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMA) PERMA has been very busy with several projects that were carried out and include: Bringing cheer to the unfortunate children with cancer by donating 50 goodie bags through the National Cancer Society Malaysia. PERMA also attended the children’s Christmas party.The donation of school uniforms, bags, shoes and socks to poor children and orphans at the Dengkil Tamil Primary School, the Sri Sartha Illam Girls’ Orphanage in Rawang and the Phileo Home, an Orphanage in Kapar.

Early January 2013

PERMA has also organised breakfasts for poor children attending extra Saturday classes at the Dengkil Tamil Primary School. The hearty and nutritious breakfast programme.

February to September 2013

PERMA is planning an educational excursion to Kidzania for 20 children from the Phileo Home during the February 2013 Chinese New Year school break. In addition, 2013 an excursion to Zoo Negara or the KL Bird Park is being organised for cancer child patients who are treated and warded in Universiti Hospital.

January or February

Malaysian Jaffna Tamil Business Association (MJTBA) Fellowship evening at either the Tavern in Guinness-Anchor Berhad or The1st Mile Bistro. The date is dependent on venue availability and will be announced soon. The entire profit will be donated to the Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre (MCNCC).

TBA

Persatuan Ceylon Pahang High Tea for Annual Education Award and New Year 2013

12 January 2013

Young Men’s Hindu Association, Taiping Special prayers for New Year at the Sithi Vinayagar Temple

1 January 2013

Thai Ponggal celebration on a grand scale

14 January 2013

Maha Sivarathiri celebration

10 March 2013

Motivational talk to students

17 March 2013

Morning - special prayers and Annathanam will be served to devotees at the Sithi Vinayagar Temple for New Year. Evening – procession of Sri Sithi Vinayagar round the temple

14 April 2013

Talk on religion – open to the public

15 April 2013

Yarl Sports and Cultural Association Melaka Ongoing monthly visits to the homes of our senior citizen members Fundraising dinner. Details will be provided later.

January to April 2013 1st weekend of March 2013

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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CONTENTS

3

What’s Coming

4

In Person with ....

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FOMSO’s Service to the Community

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Feature

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Planned Activities of FOMSO & Its Affiliates

Dato’ S. Kulasegaran, President, FOMSO

FOMSO’s Seven Humanitarian Aid Missions to Sri Lanka The Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre (MCNCC)

Feature

Persahabatan Bangsar Raises over a Half Million for MCNCC Building Fund

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FOMSO FORUM Meets ....

14

Feature on FOMSO’s Affiliates

15

Culture & Festivals

18

History of the Community

20

Legal

21

Personal Finances

24

The Sri Lankan Cookbook

25

Information Technology

27

Books & Writers

P. Satguna Rajah, Immediate Past President, JCS

Ceylon Tamils’ Kalavirthy Sangam

Thai Ponggal and Thai Poosam

Our Community’s Service to the Nation and Our First Malayan Cabinet Minister and Senator in independent Malaya

Awareness for Condominium Owners & Residents New Strata Management Bill 2012

Income & Other Taxes for the Individual

Recipe for Idiyappam

Latest Developments in InformationTechnology & Its Role in Managing your Office

Shamini Flint: An Interview through E-mail Book Reviews INSPECTOR SINGH INVESTIGATES: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint THE UNDONE YEARS by Shamini Flint

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The Globetrotters

32

Music

36

FOMSO’s Panel of Advisors, Executive Committee and Board of Management

4

A Solo Lady Traveller

Remembering Ravi Shankar

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

DATO’ S.KULASEGARAN,

PRESIDENT OF FOMSO

FOMSO FORUM: As an umbrella organization, FOMSO is almost a decade old. FOMSO’s membership has also grown significantly from the initial 10 affiliates in 2004 to 21 affiliates in 2012. Please share your views on FOMSO’s most important achievements during this period. DATO’ KULA: The formation of FOMSO signifies the coming together of the Community for the first time in the history of Malaysia. With the Community having several Organisations doing various things and more often than not, duplicating some of the activities, it was logical that these Organisations should come together under one umbrella in order to synergise and co-ordinate these activities, and thereby reflect the unity of the Community by working together. In specific terms, some of the most important achievements of FOMSO are: Assistance given to victims of the 2004 Tsunami both in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In the early part of 2005, a delegation of about 10 FOMSO Executive Members went to Sri Lanka and distributed several bicycles and sewing machines directly into the hands of the victims in 3 major locations in Sri Lanka. Additionally, we were able to collect 7 container loads of food, clothing and medicine and send them over to Sri Lanka. The medicine was handed over directly to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital. On 4th July 2009, FOMSO launched the Sri Lanka Humanitarian Relief Fund for displaced people resulting from the war and managed to secure donations of money, medicine, computers and other items which were taken to Sri Lanka on 7 Humanitarian Missions, made up of FOMSO Executive Committee Members and representatives of Affiliates. On each of these missions, these items were handed over directly to the people in need. FOMSO collected about 4,500 books which were donated to the Jaffna Library. The various Bureaus of FOMSO organised several activities involving our Affiliates, including dance and musical performances, provided assistance to the Sri Lanka Displaced People in Malaysia, for which we set up a special Task Force to provide them with housing, food, medical assistance and even education for the children. Established close collaboration with the Singapore Ceylon Tamil Association (SCTA), as a result of which, FOMSO and SCTA have engaged in return visits and participation in each other’s annual gatherings. Created the Annual Sports Carnival and the first ever International Diaspora Conference in 2009 in Kuala Lumpur which had about 200 participants from several countries, including Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Canada, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. FOMSO FORUM: What are FOMSO’s challenges, if any? DATO’ KULA: The biggest challenge is bringing about Unity. I think we have managed to create a base for unity with the formation of FOMSO. The challenge is to get the Affiliates to work together on projects and activities. The other challenge we faced was in 2012 with regards to securing sufficient funds to purchase a property in Taman Kanagapuram for the purpose of establishing the Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre. While we are grateful to the Government for a grant of RM2.5 million, FOMSO and the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress (MCC) faced the challenge of collecting RM1.05 million each, in order to make up the balance of RM2.1 million to secure the property, at the Purchase Price of RM4.6 million by or before 30th November 2012. FOMSO managed to collect RM1.6 million, ie about RM600,000 more than its target of RM1.05 million. However, the RM600,000 would have gone towards the further challenge of collecting RM1 million each to make up the total of RM2 million towards the cost of renovation and refurbishing the premises. As MCC was only able to collect about RM475,000, FOMSO had no choice, but use the RM600,000 which it had collected towards the cost of renovation, to pay towards the balance of the purchase price by 30th November 2012, together with the RM475,000 collected by MCC. If we had not done so, we would have lost the property. That certainly was a challenge.


IN PERSON WITH.... The next challenge is to raise RM2 million for the renovation and refurbishment. Another challenge is to utilise the premises in such a way that it is symbolic of the culture, customs and contributions of the Community towards the development of the Country, thereby being reflective of its name – MCNCC. The challenge after the renovation and refurbishment, is to turn the Centre into a hive of activity showcasing the best that the Community can offer in terms of its culture and customs, not only for the members of the community, but all Malaysians. We have planned a range of activities, programmes and services that would be housed in the Centre. The challenge would be to convert these plans into reality which the Community can take pride in, high-lighting its past, present and future. FOMSO FORUM: How have you coped and managed the criticisms against FOMSO? DATO’ KULA: There will always be criticisms. We welcome constructive criticism. Indeed we cannot better ourselves if we do not pay heed to constructive criticism. Unfortunately, not all criticisms are constructive. Also, unfortunately, that is a fact of life which we have to live with, and carry on regardless, so long as whatever we are doing is in the best interests of the Community and Country and in accordance with our conscience. We know that our objectives are good and meaningful, and that serves as our driving force in moving forward. FOMSO FORUM: How does FOMSO function – what is its modus operandi? DATO’ KULA: FOMSO has 3 levels of governance. The 1st level is the Annual General Meeting which is attended by representatives of all our Affiliates. The 2nd level is the Board of Management which is made up of the Presidents of all the Affiliates and the 3rd level is the Executive Committee which is made up of 5 elected Principal Office Bearers, namely the President, Deputy President and 3 Vice Presidents, and 2 appointed officers namely Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer, and Chairpersons of the various Bureaus, namely Economic, Finance, Task Force, Sports, Cultural, Education, Women & Welfare, Government Affairs, Youth, Networking and Special Projects. The Executive Committee meets, on an average, once a fortnight, and keeps things moving at the operational level. The Board of Management which is largely concerned with policy matters meets twice a year, and more often if the need arises. Proper minutes of all meetings are maintained meticulously by the Honorary Secretary, as well as the accounts relating to all financial matters by the Honorary Treasurer. Additionally, the 3 Vice Presidents have specific overview of Finance, Affiliates and Administration respectively. We also have a Council of Advisors made up of outstanding Malaysian Ceylonese who have been a great source of advice and assistance to FOMSO over the years. FOMSO FORUM: Who have been the key persons who have helped you manage FOMSO and its activities over the years? DATO’ KULA: Among others, the elected and appointed officials, the Chairpersons of the various Bureaus, the Presidents of the Affiliates and the Advisors. Above all, the support of the vast majority of our Community as represented by the members of the 21 Affiliates. FOMSO FORUM: How does FOMSO interact with its affiliates? DATO’ KULA: Each of the Chairpersons of the Bureaus draw their membership from among the members of the Affiliates, and as and when activities are held, the relevant Bureau Chairperson involved will interact with the members of the Affiliates in carrying out a particular activity, be it cultural or a musical performance, or a food and fun fair or a seminar. Additionally, we have the Networking Bureau Chairperson, whose role is to regularly interact with and keep our Affiliates informed on the activities of FOMSO. The Affiliates are also encouraged to inform the FOMSO Secretariat of activities being carried out so that the members of the other Affiliates not only become aware, but also participate in that activity. It is very much ‘all for one, and one for all’ in spirit, and hence the coordination and synergy which is at the heart of FOMSO. FOMSO is also in regular contact with the Affiliates by e-mails and telephone communication from time to time. The Launch of the FOMSO FORUM will be a significant platform for interacting with our Affiliates and vice-versa. FOMSO FORUM: Please share with us the story behind how the Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre (MCNCC) came into being. DATO’ KULA: The story is quite simple. It started with the representatives of FOMSO and MCC having an audience with the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak, in December 2011 to invite the Prime Minister to be our guest of honour at the Malaysian Ceylonese Community Dinner sometime in the course of 2012 or later, depending upon the availability of the Prime Minister. The Dinner would be organised jointly by FOMSO and MCC. We set up a joint organising committee for the purpose of putting the Dinner together and in the course of our deliberations we felt that the Dinner needed to have an objective. We all agreed that the creation of a National Community Centre would be a worthwhile objective. FOMSO FORUM: Please share with us your future vision for FOMSO and the Malaysian Ceylonese community. DATO’ KULA: It can be said without undue modesty that FOMSO with its 21 Affiliates is representative and reflective of the Malaysian Ceylonese community across the country. The Ceylonese have been very much at the forefront of nation building right across a wide spectrum of activities from politics through to professional and essential services, public administration and commerce and industry. We can truly say that our blood, sweat and tears are in the Malaysian soil. We are here to stay. We are very much part of the fabric of Malaysia. I believe we have a great deal to contribute towards the wellbeing of the Nation, for the present and the future. We have manifested our determination to help the Nation prosper, not just for our Community, but for all Malaysians. We can do so even more effectively by remaining united. Our vision for the future is to ensure that our Community remains united and does its utmost for the greater development of the Community and the Country, in keeping with our motto “Strength in Unity”. FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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FOMSO’S SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY

FOMSO’S Seven Humanitarian Aid Missions to Sri Lanka On 4th July 2009, FOMSO first launched the FOMSO SRI LANKA HUMANITARIAN RELIEF FUND at a ceremony officiated by YB Senator Kohilan Pillay, the Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs. FOMSO had raised a total of RM1,188,214 which was spent over seven humanitarian aid missions to Sri Lanka. Magandran Muthiah has summarised the highlights of each of the seven missions.

Recee &1st Humanitarian Mission 16th to 21st August 2009 1. Medicines RM35,500 2. Air Cargo RM3,000 3.Other miscellaneous expenses for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) RM1,500 Recee trip total: RM40,000

2nd Humanitarian Mission 9th to 19th November 2009 1. Medications provided: • Medical Kit (Vavuniya) RM20,000 • Ranbaxy’s contribution (Vavuniya) RM70,000 • Purchased in Sri Lanka (Vavuniya) RM25,000 2. Implants donated by Dato Dr Ganesh Arumugam RM100,000 3. Air Cargo for Implants RM8,000 4. 24 new computers to schools in Jaffna with flat screen (Slim Type), 2 Multimedia projectors, 2 Projector screens and 4 Printers RM45,000 2nd trip total: RM268,000

3rd Humanitarian Mission 3rd to 10th July 2010 1. Bicycle project RM75,000 2. Computer project RM20,000 3. School books and sports items for Oddusudan RM9,000 4. Miscellaneous expenses (bought a bicycle in Jaffna for a lady, banners & others) RM2,000 3rd trip total: RM106,000

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


4th Humanitarian Mission 9th to 13th January 2011 1. Oven for artificial limb RM60,000 2. Medicines RM40,000 3. Books for Jaffna Library donated by well wishers 4. Air/Land cargo for oven RM12,500 5. Air cargo for medicines RM2,500 6. Air/Land cargo for books (300 plus kgs) RM9,500 (KL to Colombo + Colombo to Jaffna) 4th trip total: RM124,500

5th Humanitarian Mission 28th February to 6th March 2011

1. Medicines for Jaffna Hospital RM440,000 2. Air/Land Cargo for medicines RM19,500 3. Flood victims relief item (Batticaloa) RM9,000 4. Education project for flood victims RM7,000 5. Computer project for schools in Jaffna RM5,000 6. Flood victims emergency relief donation through Rotary Club of Colombo West SLR20,000 (RM714) 7. Miscellaneous expenses (banners & such) RM700 5th trip total: RM481,914

6th Humanitarian Mission 30th June to 7th July 2011

1. Panama education project RM9,300 2. Paediatric cancer ward in Jaffna General Hospital RM31,000 6th trip total: RM40,300

7th Humanitarian Mission 11th to 16th September 2011 1. Vavuniya Vocational Training Centre (USD40,000) RM126,000. (the Centre will be in operation in early 2012. Our project partner, Rotary Club of Capital City secured the funds for this project.) 2. Sunera Foundation (a joint project carried out by FOMSO and Rotary Club of Colombo West for the disabled youth in the Ampara district) RM1,500 7th trip total: RM127,500

Editor’s Note: Magandran Muthiah is FOMSO’s Net-Working Bureau Chairperson & Sri Lanka Project Coordinator. In subsequent issues, the FOMSO FORUM will provide highlights of ongoing projects, the assistance given to Sri Lankan refugees in Malaysia, as well as interviews with several FOMSO Exco members who played a great role in these service projects, and inter alia include Dato’ S. Kulasegaran, FOMSO President, Magandran Muthiah, Geeta Rubasundram, Special Projects Bureau Chairperson, Mrs Sarojini Pasupathy, Women and Welfare Bureau Chairperson and S. Logarajah, FOMSO Vice President. FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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FEATURE

THE MALAYSIAN CEYLONESE NATIONAL COMMUNITY CENTRE (MCNCC)

A

few months ago at the request of the Prime Minister’s Department, The Federation Of Malaysian Sri Lankan Organisations (FOMSO) teamed up with the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress (MCC) to organise a grand gala dinner for the Prime Minister of Malaysia on a joint basis. The primary object was to showcase the tremendous contributions of the Ceylonese community to this country over the last 200 years during which time the community has become fully integrated into the mainstream of Malaysian society. The Malaysian Ceylonese community are proud citizens of Malaysia, our homeland. Both FOMSO and MCC have jointly met the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib, and he has graciously agreed to attend the dinner. Numerous planning meetings have been held, and the two groups are working on this gala dinner. This gala dinner will be held as soon as our Prime Minister confirms his availability. The coming together of FOMSO and MCC signals the birth of a new spirit of goodwill, understanding and unity which augurs well for the future of our community. It has also been decided by FOMSO and MCC to jointly set up a Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre in Kuala Lumpur. This Centre is to be a source of enduring pride for the Malaysian Ceylonese community. Currently Seremban, Ipoh, Kluang, Taiping and Kuantan have centres of their own. Seremban and Kluang are proud of their newly refurbished buildings. However, there is no apex centre for the community in Kuala Lumpur. The Freemasons Lodge Building in Taman Kanagapuram, Kuala Lumpur was identified as an ideal location given that this

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

housing estate was developed by the community. The Centre will be named as the ‘Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre’ (the MCNCC, in short). The total cost of the land and building is RM4.6 million inclusive of stamping, legal and other costs. The renovation and refurbishment costs will amount to RM2 million. We therefore require a total of RM6.6 million for the MCNCC. We appealed to the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia for some financial assistance for the MCNCC and our Prime Minister had graciously allocated to us a generous contribution of RM2.5 million. The cheque for this amount has already arrived, and has been banked into a special account called ‘Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre’. The signatories of this account are the respective Presidents, Secretaries and Treasurers of FOMSO and MCC. The balance of RM4.1million is to be collected from the community and our well-wishers. Of this amount, it was tacitly agreed from the start that FOMSO would raise half the amount and MCC would likewise raise the other half. With a lot of hard work and meeting up with all our Advisors on an individual basis, and with the support of our Affiliates, especially Persatuan Persahabatan Bangsar, who raised the sum of RM538,702 by hosting a grand charity dinner in aid of MCNCC, FOMSO not only raised their required portion of the RM1.05 million towards the balance purchase price, but also an additional amount of about RM 700,000 towards the RM1 million target that FOMSO must raise for the renovation costs. For the interim, this said sum of RM700,000 was utilised to supplement


the collection by MCC in order to settle the balance purchase price with the vendors within the completion date as stipulated by the Sale and Purchase Agreement. It is the hope and prayer of both FOMSO and MCC that the Ceylonese community in this country will wholeheartedly support this Centre and would willingly and graciously donate generously so that the MCNCC will become a reality. The entire community must pitch in for this dream to crystallise. The establishment of the MCNCC will be a major landmark and will signal the birth of a new spirit of unity and understanding within the Malaysian Ceylonese community. We all can be justly proud that a National Centre has finally been established in Kuala Lumpur.

Centre for the community. Our Prime Minister has done his part, and the Malaysian Ceylonese community is most grateful to YAB. I also take this opportunity to thank everyone who has already contributed. With your kind support, the property has already been acquired. We humbly beseech you to continue your kind support, as we must, as a unified community, do our part. by A. Gnanarajah, Deputy President of FOMSO

If you have any questions or queries on the establishment of The Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre, and if you would like to send in your donation, please contact Mr A. Gnanarajah at 03-22021399 or 012-6655359. At present we need funds to carry out some urgently required civil works and repairs, and to install some air conditioners and purchase the necessary furniture for the Centre to be operational. FOMSO’s fervent appeal to you is to support this urgently required FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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FEATURE

PERSAHABATAN BANGSAR RAISES OVER HALF A MILLION by K. Aruljothi FOR MCNCC BUILDING FUND

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Dance performances by the Temple of Fine Arts

Rib-tickling entertainment by Comedy Court

social and self-help organization formed 31 years ago, Persahabatan Bangsar’s main aim is to promote fellowship and the spirit of self-help amongst members and their families.

Treasurer, Mr Aruljothi Kanagaretnam recently represented Persahabatan Bangsar, an affiliate of FOMSO, during a meeting with the Joint Committee of the Malaysian Ceylonese National Community Centre (MCNCC) Building Fund. Consisting of Presidents, appointed members of FOMSO and the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress, the Joint Committee appointed Mr Aruljothi as the Chairman of FOMSO’s fund-raising. During a meeting on the 28th of August 2012, members of Persahabatan Bangsar shared the opinion that the MCNCC would serve as a focal point for community activities. Unanimous approval was given for members to raise funds, an initiative which included a Charity Dinner. The committee diligently swung into action, with six short weeks to plan the 14th October 2012 Charity Dinner. Among the challenges faced by the committee for the event, that was to be held at the ThottaMalligai (NUPW Hall), were marketing dinner tickets, raising donations, planning the night’s entertainment and scouting for sponsorships to cover the event’s cost. The President of Persahabatan Bangsar, Mr K. Tharmapalan played the role of Advisor to the organising committee, which consisted of Mr K. Aruljothi (Chairman), Mr K.Thuraisingam (Deputy Chairman), Mr S. Apputhurai (Secretary), MrT. Ragunathan (Asst Secretary) and Mr S. Paramalingam (Treasurer), as well as committee members, Mr T. Thirugnanam, Mr T. Puveendra and Mrs Pushpa Leela.

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


THE CHARITY DINNER

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t 7pm on 14 October, the NUPW Hall opened its doors to a sold out evening. Guests were treated to an hour of cocktails, finger food and fellowship before the dinner commenced. Already astonished by the five-star décor, guests were delighted when the appetisers served were one of Jaffna’s most delicious delights – ‘odiyalkool.’ NUPW’s resident chefs, Little Caterers, prepared a feast for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Among the strong crowd of 500 were organisations such as FOMSO, the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress, the Malaysian Ceylon Saivites Association and PERMA, as well as many other well wishers. With their tummies fully satiated, guests were then treated to a slew of world-class entertainment. Kicking off with dance performances by the critically acclaimed Temple of Fine Arts, the night continued with a laugh inducing set by the award-winning Comedy Court, and vocal talents Babu Loganathan and Sharmila Sivaguru. The emcee for the evening, Malaysia’s Black Stallion, Radhakrishan, drew the curtain on the entertainment with a few retro hits. Closing the evening was a presentation of a mock cheque, presented to Yang Berbahagia Dato’ S. Kulasegaran, President and Mr. A. Gnanarajah, Deputy President of FOMSO, which totalled a whopping RM538,702.00. With one more charitable success under their belt, Persahabatan Bangsar hope that their efforts help instil the much-needed spirit of helping others, and ourselves, into our colourful society.

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FOMSO FORUM MEETS ......

P. SATGUNA RAJAH

IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN OF JAFFNESE COOPERATIVE SOCIETY (JCS) children under this scheme have become depositors. Members of the community, who were never a JCS member or left JCS, can join to save for the child or grandchild. Many civil servants could not join JCS as there are restrictions on joining more than one cooperative. FOMSO FORUM: What are the challenges and constraints that JCS faces?

FOMSO FORUM: You had served as the Chairman of JCS for 5 years from 20th May 2007 to 24th June 2012.What motivated you to accept the Chairmanship of JCS? SATGUNA: It was a natural course to accept the Chairmanship of JCS. I had been serving the society in various capacities, ie, the Johor Bahru District Committee from 1990 to 1995, Klang District Committee from 1996 to 2004, Member of the Board from 2002 to 2014 and the Vice Chairman from 2004 to 2007. I regarded it as a calling to serve the community. FOMSO FORUM: What have been the most significant achievements during your tenure as Chairman? SATGUNA: JCS was awarded a 4 star rating out of a possible 5 star by the Malaysian Cooperatives Commission for its overall performance and financial position. This rating has placed JCS among the top 10 best run cooperatives in Malaysia. As the attendance at District General Meetings and Annual General Meetings of Delegates had been poor, I got the society to work aggressively on getting members and delegates to attend the meetings by various means such as emails, follow up telephone calls and SMS blasts. With the increase in attendance, we are able to update members’ records. Currently about 1/3 of the members attend the District / Area meetings. The Minor Deposits Scheme has been initiated whereby parents or grandparents who are members can save for their children or grandchildren under the age of 18. When the child or grandchild attains the age of 18, which is the mandatory age to become a member of any cooperative, with the savings in the account, he or she would be encouraged to become a member of JCS. As of date, 120 12

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SATGUNA: The challenge has been to make JCS attractive for the youth and the younger members of the community to join the Society. There has also been poor response to the many activities organised for the youth. Members’ support is therefore required to encourage their friends, children and grandchildren to participate in the events. Recruiting new members to increase the declining membership level is another challenge. The Districts have been urged to assist by recruiting members at the ground level as well as bringing in young people. Annual membership recruitment competitions are held with awards of cash incentives. Also, youngsters joining at 18 years of

“ JCS has promoted the economic interest and well being of its members.......”

age are given a cash incentive of RM50 if continuous membership is maintained for 3 years. FOMSO FORUM: Over the decades, how has JCS helped its members? SATGUNA: JCS has promoted the economic interest and well being of its members by providing various financial services such as Surety Loans, Credit Loans, Guaranteed Loans, Collateral Loans, Building Loans and Pilgrimage Loans. It has encouraged thrift among its members through savings. It is engaged in the purchase and sale of investment properties so as to generate a better rate of dividend for its members. A yearly allocation of funds has been channelled to the Districts to use for their functions. The needs of the senior members have been looked after with year-end programmes, such as retreats to Kuala Selangor and Port Dickson.

FOMSO FORUM: Established in 1924, JCS is one of the oldest Ceylonese institutions in Malaysia. Strategically, what are the future directions for JCS? SATGUNA: The Board is undertaking a strategic planning exercise to reevaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities, especially in rallying the participation and involvement of the younger members of the community and capitalising on the cooperative policy formulated by the government. The exercise involves consultation with the District, Ladies and Youth Committees as well as input from members. FOMSO FORUM: How does JCS appeal to the youth and the younger members of the community? SATGUNA: Having a succession plan with new and younger people coming and replacing older ones in the Board, for the younger members to lead as well as to infuse new blood. One third of the Board Members consist of new members. At most times they are coopted from the sub-committees before they are eligible for election to the Board. Educational Incentive Awards are given to UPSR, PMR, SPM and STPM/A Level students in recognition of their excellent performance in the examinations. Motivational courses, youth camps and educational seminars for UPSR/PMR students have been organised for children of members. Through these activities, JCS hopes to create public awareness about the cooperative. FOMSO FORUM: JCS is also the trustee and manager for several educational trust funds. Has JCS been effective in administrating these Funds? Would JCS establish a tax-exempt education foundation? SATGUNA: It is with great responsibility, accountability and pride that JCS applies itself as the trustee for all the seven funds that the Society manages. A full listing and key information of each of these funds is provided on page 34 & 35. Planning of a major trust for the community is being looked at with tax exemption. FOMSO FORUM: What are the new initiatives and projects that JCS is pursuing? SATGUNA: Establish a retirement home for senior members. 4 acres of land have been purchased outside Broga in


the District of Lenggeng, Negeri Sembilan (near Nottingham University) for this purpose. Plans to purchase the adjacent 4 acres from the neighbouring owners are being considered. FOMSO FORUM: You are a serving officer of the Inland Revenue, and the Chairmanship of JCS is a demanding job. You are also an active Vice President of FOMSO, and a family man. How do you manage your time between all these competing demands? SATGUNA: A lot of sacrifices had to be made and I was fortunate to have the support of my family. It was worth leading a RM20 million organisation with 4,800 members. It required focus and seriousness of commitment. The organisational setup with the various JCS Committees as well as District Committees tasked to handle the activities and projects provided for a smooth running of the organisation. It was a team effort of dedicated and committed members. FOMSO as an umbrella body has been of considerable help. They undertook and coordinated projects, especially the humanitarian relief work in Sri Lanka after the tsunami devastation and after the war. It would not have been possible for JCS to carry out the relief efforts on its own. Its beneficial to be an affiliate of FOMSO rather than standing alone. FOMSO FORUM: Finally, what advice would you give to your successor in JCS and to the new management team? SATGUNA: Continue with the legacy in keeping with the vision of our founding fathers, and to be in the forefront as an organisation that has served the community for over 8 decades since 1924. I have full confidence in the new management team.

Editor’s Note: A brief outline of each of the seven educational trust funds/ scholarships that are administered by JCS is provided for your Information on page 34 & 35. Members of the community are encouraged to contact JCS to apply for these scholarships or study loans.

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FEATURE ON FOMSO’S AFFILIATES

CEYLON TAMILS’ KALAVIRTHY SANGAM

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he Ceylon Tamils’ Kalavirthy Sangam (the Sangam), as it is known today, was formed by a devoted group, in 1927, to stage and promote drama as part of the performing arts. The Sangam commenced its activities in 1935, at a temporary premises in Kuala Lumpur. Later the Sangam raised funds from the community and purchased a piece of land known as Lot 301 Sec. 67, consisting of 0.228 acres in May 1937. A single storey multi-purpose building was constructed on the land bearing the address of 40, Jalan Utara, Off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur. The foundation stone for the construction of the building was laid on 16 September 1939 by Mr Thambapillay Rajendra. The building was completed in 1941 with funds collected from the community. In the early years, the activities of the Sangam were confined to performing dramas, mostly by amateur member artists. It later expanded its role to teach Tamil, conduct and teach music, dance and dramas, as the demand grew with the large concentration of Ceylon Tamils living in the many adjoining government quarters in Jalan Imbi, Pudu, Sentul and Jalan Pekeliling (now Jalan Tun Razak). For about 4 decades (1941-1970), the Sangam was very active with considerable support and participation from the members of the community in the neighbourhood. With increasing demand, Tamil classes, Carnatic Music, Dance, Drama, Thevaram classes and cultural performances were held regularly. Many weddings took place at the Sangam during this period as there were limited facilities for such functions then. The Tamil New Year, Navarathri and other religious and social functions were held to full house. The hall was designed to accommodate about 250 people, a size considered reasonable in those days.

New Year celebrations, Thai Ponggal and Navarathri festivals, Food & Fun Fair, and Music & Dance programs by local artists as well as those from India. While the basic building structure has remained intact, improvements have been made progressively, since 2009. Some of the improvements include tiling the hall, upgrading the toilets, lighting, plumbing, wiring and landscaping. Apart from its annual programs and activities, the Sangam has in recent years, expanded its role by providing humanitarian relief in the form of temporary accommodation, food and medical aid for needy displaced Sri Lankans. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) also works with the Sangam to conduct motivational, health and educational talks for refugees from Myanmar, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in Malaysia.

“ The Sangam celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a dinner for its members, their families and friends on 4th September 2010 at the Royal Lake Club”

From the 80s, with the demolition of the government quarters and the retirement of the pioneer generation, the population in that vicinity declined gradually. Currently, the senior members and their families who now live in Cheras and Petaling Jaya, patronize the Sangam and cherish the fond memories of the Sangam in the early years. The Sangam continues to hold programs and activities regularly. The programs include Tamil 14

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The Sangam celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a dinner for its members, their families and friends on 4th September 2010 at the Royal Lake Club. There was a good turnout for the function. The evening was an enjoyable one with several cultural performances. With the expansion of the city, and specifically, the establishment of the Kuala Lumpur Financial Centre just across the Sangam, it is becoming increasingly difficult for members and their families to reach the Sangam. This problem will frustrate its members in years to come, as traffic congestion and accessibility will inevitably occur. The Sangam has had a rich and colourful history. It will continue to evaluate viable options to cater for its membership, and adapt and transform to the changing environment and direction, while still preserving its identity. S. Logarajah President, Ceylon Tamil’s Kalavirthy Sangam Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan


CULTURE & FESTIVALS

THAI PONGGAL & THAI POOSAM

Mrs Sarojini Krishapillai, a retired teacher and now an ardent student of Siddhantha Saivam and the Tamil language, shares her understanding of the significance of Thai Ponggal and Thai Poosam with FOMSO FORUM

THAI PONGGAL

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rom time immemorial, the Jaffna Tamil community has been an agricultural society, and rice is the main cereal. At the end of the harvest season and at the annual birth of the month of Thai (usually between January 13 to 15 in the Gregorian or Christian calendar), the Tamils in Jaffna celebrate a Thanksgiving festival. Its a season of great joy and fresh hopes as the harvested crop is in hand. Life is full. After an early bath and attired in fresh clothes, we traditionally wait for the crack of dawn and the first rays of the sun. While waiting, a ‘kolam’, patterned with rice paste and dye coloured grains is drawn on the front porch. Also, there would be a new earthen-ware pot, washed with ‘manjal’ (turmeric) and freshly cut young mango leaves positioned in its spout. With the first light, fresh cow’s milk is added and the stove lit. The milk is allowed to boil over, symbolising abundance, and then some newly harvested rice grains are added in, together with some jaggery (brown sugar), cardamom, lentils, raisins and cashew nuts. When cooked, the Ponggal is put on a banana leaf, offered in thanksgiving prayer, and then shared by all in the family. By custom, the Ponggal is done in the front porch of the house in the full gaze of the morning sun or ‘Suriya’. The less initiated may think that we are praying to Suriya, but the deeper meaning is that we, as Saivites, thank our Lord Siva, as it is He who gave us the energy of the sun, together with the land and the rains to nurture the rice crop, upon which we are so utterly dependent on to sustain life. Jaffna is a land with no natural rivers, and we are completely reliant on the rains for irrigation and water. Every year, its a daunting challenge to grow the rice, if not for the bounty from Lord Siva. Astronomically, according to the Tamil calendar, the birth of Thai marks the commencement of the northern journey of the sun, from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer. This solar journey gives us hotter days and thus new energy for the next planting. The cycle of life is thus perpetuated. So when we give thanks to Lord Siva on Thai Ponggal, we do so with the deepest of gratitude.

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CULTURE & FESTIVALS

Over the next couple of days, we also renew family ties and pay homage to cows, the descendants of Lord Siva’s mascot, Nandi (the Bull). We venerate the cow as holy as they give us so much, from milk to serving as our beasts of burden to pull our ploughs and transport carts. Cows also give us five gifts (Pancha Kaubiam) that are used in temple rituals, namely holy ash (made from caked cow dung), milk, kosalam (urine) thats mixed with milk and water for purification, ghee and yoghurt. In the fields, the cows are also feted with sweet meals, decked with bells and their horns brightly painted. In Jaffna, the farm workers (who do not own the land) are paid for their labour by the landlord with a share of the crop. On Thai Ponggal, farm workers pay their respect to the landlord with a symbolic gift of some newly harvested rice grains, plantains, young coconuts and sugar cane. In turn, the landlord reciprocates with gifts of money and new clothes.

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THAI POOSAM

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n the month of Thai, when the star, Poosam is at its ascendant peak, Tamils throughout the world celebrate a major festival in homage to Lord Murugan. Lord Siva, through his third eye, bequeathed Lord Murugan and His Shakti, in the form of Parvati, gave Lord Murugan his vel (spear) to vanquish the evil demon, Soorapathman – this demon symbolises the evil in man. Hence, we pray to Lord Murugan, who is a form of Lord Siva Himself, to conquer the evil within us, for grace and for the boon of spirituality. Over time, Tamils have also asked Lord Murugan for specific blessings such as for a child, to cure a disease and we do penance to Him and make offerings. Murugan temples are located in hills, and devotees carried up their offerings, tied to poles slung over the shoulders. The poles or ‘kaavu’, evolved to become ‘kaavadi’.Murugan devotees would undergo strict fasts for several weeks prior to Thai Poosam, with much time spent on prayer, meditation and the recital of the Thirumurai and other holy scriptures. Some also practise the steps to carry the milk kaavadi, the steps synchronised with the reciting of the holy hymns. On completion of the kaavadi ritual on Thai Poosam, devotees always speak of being overwhelmed by a tremendous sense of bliss – its an out-of-this

“ Murugan devotees would undergo strict fasts for several weeks prior to Thai Poosam, with much time spent on prayer, meditation and the recital of the Thirumurai and other holy scriptures.”

world experience thats difficult to communicate with words. This sense of bliss encourages devotees to further pursue their quest for greater spirituality. Our scriptures state that on Thai Poosam, Lord Siva had revealed Himself in the form of the celestial Nadarajan cosmic dance to our Saints. Therefore, at Batu Caves or in Penang, we must not lose ourselves to the carnival entertainment and crowd-rush, and instead, must always remember that Thai Poosam is about the yearning for, and the quest for deeper spirituality, and for the grace of Lord Siva.

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HISTORY OF THE COMMUNITY

OUR COMMUNITY’S SERVICE TO THE NATION AND OUR FIRST MALAYAN CABINET MINISTER AND SENATOR IN INDEPENDENT MALAYA

Dato’ Thuraisingham in the 1930s

Member (Minister) for Education

David Chelavasingam Alfred, a Barrister and keen historian, provides an account of our forefathers’ distinguished service in the Malayan Civil Service and consequent recognition of our community by Sir General Templer and Tunku Abdul Rahman who had respectively appointed Dato’ Sir Thuraisingham as a Minister and then as a Senator to represent the Ceylonese community in the newly independent Malaya

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he Malaysian Ceylonese community is one of the smallest communities which constitute the Malaysian nation. Our forebearers came from Ceylon to Malaya mainly at the behest of the government of the then British Malaya in the latter part of the nineteenth century. A country like Malaya had to be administered well if the natural resources it is endowed with, coupled with the rubber plantations, were to be efficiently developed and managed. The British had prided themselves as ruling an empire on which the sun never set. The Jewel in the Crown, India, had in 1939, with a population of approximately 400 million, been administered by 1,384 Britons in the Indian Civil Service. In Malaya, with a then population of 3.2 million, there were only220 British administrators, but nevertheless, a British historian had described it as, ‘a situation which was run by Indian standards, as chronic overmanning’. These Malayan British administrators were only the pinnacle or the tip of the iceberg. For below the Britons were the Malayan civil servants, of which the Ceylonese were the most significant in running the country. The Ceylonese Malayan public servant, be he a medical superintendent or a clerk in a land office, could be relied on to discharge his duties faithfully, according to the law, to the best of his ability, skills and knowledge. In this, he would be serving the people of the country, all her people without exception. It was rare when he would allow his private interests to divert him from his fundamental duty and critical tasks to serve the nation. The Jaffna Tamil Malayan public 18

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servant could be considered a benchmark predecessor of the twenty first century civil servant who is required to ‘Berkhidmat untuk Negara’. In the fields of national service and education, so essential for a modern progressive and developed nation to possess, the Malayan Ceylonese were the most distinguished. As early as in 1949-50, the Communities’ Liaison Committee had been established, and its membership extended to include a prominent Ceylonese Malayan lawyer, Dato’ E.E.C. Thuraisingham. This Committee played a significant role in the dark years of the Emergency. The objectives of the communist terrorists to turn Malaya into a province of another country through violence, death and destruction, was thwarted by the British decision not to cut and run. The Committee held its meetings in private, far from the gaze of the public eye, attempting to resolve the central concerns of the state by the deliberations of the distinguished representatives of the racial groups. These concerns included the nationality and citizenship of a Malaya that would inevitably, sooner or later, become independent. Dato’ Thuraisingham also contributed to the development of education in Malaya. He was made the First Member for Education by the head of the Malayan Government, General Templer, in 1952. In effect, Dato’ Thuraisingham was the Minister of Education. In this capacity, he made a significant contribution to Malayan education by being instrumental in the setting up of


teacher training colleges, both in Malaya and in Brinsford Lodge and Kirby in England. These distinguished services performed by this Ceylonese Malayan for his country of birth (having been born in Taiping, Perak), was acknowledged by the conferment of a Knighthood upon him by the Queen in 1955 on the advice of the Malayan Government. Post Merdeka, Dato’ Sir Thuraisingham, who had been a loyal friend and supporter of Dato Onn bin Ja’afar and the Party Negara that the latter had founded in 1954, was appointed Senator to represent the Ceylonese Malayan community on the advice of Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1957. I have started my paper on one footing that the Ceylonese Malayans were essentially engaged in the public services of Malaya. They were to be found in the land and district offices, in the railways, in the education department, the police force, the armed services, the medical and health department, the public works department and other sectors of government service.

Dato Onn, President Nixon and Dato’ Sir Thuraisingham

But this did not mean that they were absent in the field of politics. Indeed, Dato’ Sir Thuraisingham himself had founded the Ceylon Federation of Malaya in 1946, when other political parties were also being founded. But any full role for him in the politics of Malaya on an extra-communal basis came to end in 1953, when the Indian community made representations to General Templer that Dato’ Sir Thuraisingham could not be a representative for the Indian Malayan community. They rightly advanced the principle of Indian Malayan representation in the pre-independent government of Malaya be established to ensure its continuity post independence.

Dato’ Sir Thuraisingham and Tunku

Other Ceylonese Malayans continued to be active in the politics of Malaya as they should be, since it is the land of their birth. Of particular note are the Seenivasagam brothers, both born in Ipoh, who had established the Peoples Progressive Party. They were able Parliamentarians and eminent lawyers.

This then is a snapshot of the Ceylonese Malaysian community. They might be miniscule in total numbers, but this community has always shunned quantity and instead, had always sought quality. In this pursuit, the community has undoubtedly made its mark and shall continue to do so, provided it never sacrifices integrity on the altar of tempered expediency.

Kirkby Teacher Training College

Dato’ Thuraisingham’s Knighthood

Editor’s Note: ‘Legacy of the Pioneers: 125 Years of Jaffna Tamils in Malaysia’ Volumes 1 and 2, by T. Selvaratnam and Sinnapoo Apputhurai is a fascinating compilation of our forefathers whose invaluable contributions have helped to make Malaysia what she is today, a progressive and rapidly developing nation. FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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LEGAL

AWARENESS FOR CONDOMINIUM OWNERS & RESIDENTS –NEW STRATA MANAGEMENT BILL 2012

MANAGING THE TOWER OF BABEL

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A Stratified Discourse On The Finer Points Of The Strata Management Bill 2012

n what can be concluded as a good start to speak a single language of the stratified property sector, the Strata Management Bill 2012 has been laid before Parliament for it’s endorsement. Overall, the Bill has some satisfying interpretations, but not to some quarters though who have taken umbrage on the proposed qualifications required of them to provide their management services to this industry. Stratified properties such as flats, apartments, condominiums, office towers and shopping malls are regulated by the Strata Title Act 1985 (post individual strata title issuance) and the Building And Common Properties Maintenance And Management Act 2007 (pre individual strata title issuance). The 2007 Act was hailed as the missing link long heralded to solve the issues faced in the management of common properties. It gave the power to individual owners to regulate the common property of the buildings their properties were part of and in many ways the opportunity to enhance the value of one’s property through good management and well grounded maintenance. Why then the need to enact another law that will repeal it? Well, it would seem that the 2007 Act had plenty of loopholes that needed plugging. Who really could manage stratified properties? Were the enforcers of the 2007 Act able and willing to take the necessary action against the abusers of the enactment? How to efficiently address a mixed development that consists of both residential and commercial properties? What were the rights, duties and obligations of the Developer in relation to the unsold units of property? These are just some of the perennial issues now addressed by the Bill. Simply put, the door has been left open for both registered property managers under the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents, and as well non-registered property managers to manage stratified properties. The cost of management and the distinct expertise required for different types of properties were taken into account by the proposers of the Bill to justify the open competition, albeit at the last minute after some intense lobbying to bring this point across. The proponents to this proposed portion of the law are of the view that a regulated industry will enhance management standards by bringing about accountability as the Board has

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wide reaching powers to take action against errant registered property managers under the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981. The opponents however point out that this may result in a monopoly and that there aren’t sufficient numbers of registered property managers to undertake the task. The arguments from both parties go more deeply than what has just been said. There is talk that the Government will set up an independent board that will regulate the property management of stratified properties, but this is left to be seen. The Bill has allowed for the creation of the Strata Management Tribunal that will address disputes such as the convening and conduct of general meetings, costs or repairs to defects in individual units and areas designated as common property, recovery of arrears of maintenance and service charges and contributions to the sinking fund, variations to interest rates on late payment of maintenance and service charges and contributions to the sinking fund and even to affirm, vary or revoke a decision of the Commissioner of Buildings, amongst other powers. The Tribunal will indeed bring much relief as the most common complaint thus far is the failure of the Commissioner of Buildings to effectively act on the complaints of management corporations and joint management bodies. What is important is that the Tribunal be actually constituted and working. A previous initiative, under the Strata Titles Act 1985 which was amended in 2000 to enable the creation of a Strata Titles Board, never came to fruition. Mixed developments consisting of both residential and commercial stratified properties and where the strata title has been issued can now have a subsidiary management corporation in addition to the usual management corporation to cater for the exclusive benefit of those owners with limited common property. This would be a boon for the efficient running of retail and other commercial property located within stratified properties, as often the rate of the maintenance and service charges and the contribution to the sinking fund can be an issue where the common property is not utilized by the commercial unit owners. However, it would appear that this privilege has not been extended to

a situation where the strata titles have yet to be issued, thus leaving some potentially unsatisfied owners who will have to deal with the developer or joint management committee (of the joint management body) accordingly. It is mandatory now for the developer to file a Schedule of Parcels with the Commissioner of Buildings which clearly delineates the common property. This will prevent any form of miscommunication as to a potential buyer’s understanding of what are the areas that constitute the common property and accordingly the developer will be held responsible for any unauthorized changes. These are just some of the proposed changes amongst a plethora of enhancements that are a positive to the well being of managing stratified properties. Time will tell if the changes bring forth better managed properties with the perceived increase in value, as truly that is the barometer for measuring the success of the Strata Management Bill 2012. The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. All opinions and observations expressed are that of the writer’s own and in no circumstance shall be construed as advice. By Jeyakuhan S. K. Jeyasingam LL.B (Hons) London, CLP Advocate & Solicitor (High Court of Malaya) Email: kuhan.rsc@gmail.com Editor’s Note: If you have any questions or need clarification on the above article, please write in c/oThe Editor of FOMSO FORUM.


PERSONAL FINANCES

INCOME & OTHER TAXES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL A. Vijayendran, a Manager in Pathmarajah & Co, a firm of Chartered Accountants explains the most common queries that individuals have pertaining to what they must render to Caesar that is Caesar’s

Q1: For married couples, what are the considerations, to elect between joint or separate assessments? A1: Section 45 of the Income Tax Act 1967 (the Act) provides that an individual taxpayer and his spouse are taxed as two

separate individuals i.e. income from all sources earned by the wife will be assessed separately from the husband’s income. Further, Section 45 does also allow the wife or the husband to elect to have their total income aggregated in a joint assessment provided that the following conditions are met: • The husband and the wife were living together in the basis year for a Year of Assessment (YA) and did not in that basis year cease to live together. • The husband or the wife must have total income to be aggregated with the total income of the spouse who had made the election. • Must be a Malaysian citizen if not resident in Malaysia. • The aggregation can be made with one wife only. For instance, if Mr. A has two wives namely Mrs. B and Mrs. C. Mrs. B derives income and elects for separate assessment; Mrs. C has no source of income. In this respect, Mr. A may claim relief of RM3,000 for his second wife, Mrs.C. • The election is valid only if no other wife/wives of his elects for joint assessment with him. • The election must be made in writing before 1 April of the year following the end of the tax year concerned. There is no definite measurement of tax exposure if separate or joint assessment is elected. As such, the taxpayer and his/her spouse will have to look at the circumstances of the case (for instance, a wife or husband who do not derive any income or a husband who is incurring business losses may elect for joint assessment so as to maximise the deduction/ relief available under the respective spouse’s name) and decide whether it would be more beneficial to jointly file the income tax returns. For this purpose, the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has provided a summary of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which is available on its website at www.hasil.gov.my. In conclusion, married taxpayers should consider carefully the pros and cons and make a decision as to which election better suits their particular tax situation. Thus, it would be more appropriate to calculate your tax separately and also jointly to determine which method yields a lower tax liability.

Q2:

For a salaried person, what are the types of allowable deductions against income?

A2: Individual personal tax deductions is only available for individuals who are considered tax resident in Malaysia. No tax relief

is available for non-tax residents. As a general rule is, a person is a Malaysian tax resident if he/she stays more than 180 days in Malaysia. There are also some other rules under which a person can qualify as a tax resident in Malaysia. Deductions are as follows: • Self and Dependent RM9,000 • Medical expenses for parents RM5,000 (max) • Basic supporting equipment RM5,000 (max) • Disabled Individual (in addition to self relief above) RM6,000 • Education Fees (Individual) RM5,000 (max) • Medical expenses for serious diseases RM5,000 (max) • Complete medical examination RM500 (max) • Purchase of books, journals, magazines and publications RM1,000 (max) • Purchase of computer (once every 3 years) RM3,000 (max) • Net saving in Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional RM3,000 (max) • Purchase of sport equipment for sport activities RM300 (max) • Subscription fees for broadband registered in the name of the individual (from 2010 to 2012) RM500 (max) • Income Tax Relief on Interest of Housing Loan (YA2010 only) RM10,000 (max) • Husband/Wife (for joint assessment) /Alimony Payments RM3,000 • Disabled wife/husband RM3,500 • Ordinary child relief (regardless number of children) RM1,000 per child • Child age 18 years old and above, not married and receiving full-time tertiary education RM1,000 • Child aged 18 years old and above, not married and pursuing diplomas or above qualification in Malaysia @ bachelor degree or above outside Malaysia in program and in Higher Education Institute that is accredited by related Government authorities RM4,000 • Disabled child - additional relief of RM4,000 for each disabled child aged 18 years old and above, not married and pursuing diplomas or above qualification in Malaysia @ bachelor degree or above outside Malaysia in a program in a Higher Education Institute that is accredited by relevant Government authorities. RM4,000 • EPF and life insurance RM6,000 (max) FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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PERSONAL FINANCES • Premium on new annuity scheme or additional premium paid on existing annuity scheme commencing payment from 01/01/2010 (amount exceeding RM1,000 can be claimed together with life insurance premium) RM1,000 (max) • Insurance premium for education or medical benefit RM3,000 (max) • Tax rebate: An individual with a chargeable income not exceeding RM35,000 is entitled to a rebate of RM400 effective from year of assessment 2009. Where the wife is not working or the wife’s income is jointly assessed, she also enjoys a further rebate of RM400. Similarly, a wife who is assessed separately will also enjoy a RM400 rebate, provided her chargeable income does not exceed RM35,000. Tax rebate is offset against tax payable calculated based the scale income tax rates, whereas tax relief is offset against gross income level before calculating the tax payable based on the scale income tax rates.

Q3:

For a businessman in a sole proprietorship or partnership, who is liable for tax, the entity or the individual owner businessman?

A3:

A sole proprietorship is not a taxable entity. A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that has only one owner (or is owned by a husband and wife who elect to be treated as one owner). This is the most common form for a new small business. A sole proprietor is liable for self-employment tax, and you must calculate and pay selfemployment tax. A partnership is an unincorporated business with two or more owners. If your unincorporated business has more than one owner, the IRB will treat your business as a partnership. A partnership is not a taxable entity. This means that there is no separate partnership income tax, as there is a corporate income tax. Instead, income and losses from the partnership are divided among the partners and each partner reports his share on his own tax return and pays taxes at the individual tax rates.

Q4:

What are the types of deductions that are permitted for businesses?

A4:

Deductions are allowed for any revenue expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively in the production of income, including interest, royalty payments and certain taxes. The tax authorities have always adhered strictly to the rules of deductibility embodied in Section 33(1) of the ITA, as reflected in some of the public rulings issued by the Inland Revenue Board pertaining to deductibility of certain types of expenses.

Q5:

What are examples of ‘Other Income’ (ie other than employment income) that is taxable?

A5:

Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) classifies taxable income as follows: • Business or Profession • Royalties • Dividends • Premiums • Interest • Pensions • Discounts • Annuities • Rent

Q6:

What are examples of non-cash benefits in kind that are taxable, and how is it computed?

A6:

Employment income includes perquisites and benefits-in-kind. The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has issued Public Rulings to explain what constitutes perquisites and benefits-in-kind and their differences. Most employers provide employees with fringe or non-cash benefits. Benefits-in-kind enjoyed by an employee are either taxed on the employee at prescribed values which are generally low or totally exempt from tax. The taxation of some benefits are briefly outlined below: Accommodation - Where a house is provided by the employer, the taxable value is based on the lesser of 30% of the gross cash remuneration or the rental paid for the unfurnished premises. Motor Vehicle - The cost of a motor vehicle and its maintenance are taxable to the employee based on the value of the motor vehicle. These rates range from RM1,200 to RM25,000 per annum. Relocation, medical and dental costs that are borne by the employer are not taxable to the employee.

Q7:

What are the allowable expenses that can be set-off against ‘Other Income’?

A7:

As you refer to A4 and A5, each category of other income has its own revenue expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively in the production of income.For an example let’s look at rental income, the following are the allowable expenses that you can deduct from your rental income: Interest portion of your loan • Assessment (i.e. MBPJ, DBKL) • Quit rent • Insurance related to property • Maintenance fee • Stamping fee for agreements • Agent fee (doesn’t apply to first time you rent out your property) • Other cost/fee directly related to getting the rental income

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


Q8: A8:

Are dividends from the Employee Provident Fund and payments from SOCSO subject to personal tax?

Q9:

Are all donations to charities, temples or churches tax deductible? If applicable, is there a quantum limit?

A9:

Only donation to an approved institution defined under Section 44 (6) ITA 1967 are tax deductible and it is restricted to 7% from aggregate income.

Q10:

Is income tax from overseas sources for eg, dividends from overseas companies or rental income from overseas properties, subject to Malaysian tax?

A10:

All foreign source income such as overseas dividend, interest income, rental income is exempted when received in Malaysia by virtue of the Income Tax Exemption Order. It is therefore excluded from the tax computation.

Q11:

What is the current structure for Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) in Malaysia?

Under Schedule 6 of ITA 1967, the dividend from EPF and payment received from SOCSO are exempted from income tax.

A11: Under Budget 2013, it was proposed that a real property gain tax (RPGT) will be revised to the following: • Properties held and disposed within 2 years, RPGT = 15% • Properties held and disposed after 2 years & up to 5 years, RPGT = 10% • Properties held and disposed after 5 years, RPGT = 0%

Q12: What are the allowable expenses that can be set-off against the gain from a property sale to reduce RPGT payable? A12:

RPGT is charged only on net gains after deducting all related costs such as purchase price, renovationcosts and incidental cost e.g legal fees and valuation fee.

Q13: Would there be RPGT payable if one transfers a property as a gift to a spouse, child or sibling? A13:

RPGT exemption on gains from disposal of property between parents and children, husband and wife, grandparents and grandchildren.

Q14: Do we have to pay any form of tax for the receipt of inheritance in the form of cash, shares or property? A14:

No

Q15: Are retrenchment payments received on losing one’s job taxable? Does it make a difference if it is a mandatory retrenchment or a voluntary separation scheme? A15: Retrenchment benefits received by any employee are taxable under Malaysian income tax law. However, certain tax exemption is granted for such benefits received. Tax exemption granted is restricted to RM10,000 for each completed year of service with the same employer, or with companies in the same group. Retrenchment benefits, however, is not subject to EPF and SOCSO contribution. Also will apply to those retrenched under a voluntary separation scheme or mutual separation scheme.

Agensi Arumugam Ratnasingam Wakil Insurans Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Berhad Overseas Assurance Corporation (Malaysia) Berhad Wakil Takaful Great Eastern Takaful Sdn Bhd No. 88B, Jalan SS14/1 47500 Subang Jaya Selangor Darul Ehsan. Tel : 03-5638 2585 / 5635 4035 / 5613 2585 Fax : 03 -5636 4475 H/P : 019-210 2318

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

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THE SRI LANKAN COOKBOOK

Recipe for Idiyappam This recipe for ‘String Hoppers’ was contributed by Andy K. Singam, Managing Director of AK Success Sdn Bhd.

Ingredients Rice flour - 1 cup Salt - a pinch Oil - 1 teaspoon Normally idiyappam is prepared using home made rice flour. To make rice flour at home, soak 2 to 3 cups of raw rice for four hours. Drain the water completely. Put it in a mixture in batches and grind to a fine powder. Put this powder in a large kadai and fry on medium flame till the moisture evaporates, and when you touch the flour, it should not stick to your hand. Cool it and sieve it. You can store this flour and use it for preparing idiyappam. OR you can buy rice flour from the store and fry it as above and make idiyappam.

Method Bring two cups of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oil to the boiling water. Put one cup of flour in a bowl. Add the boiling water little by little and stir with a wooden spoon. Make a soft dough. Grease idiyappam plate. Take a small quantity of dough and put it in the idiyappam maker. Press on the greased plate circle wise. Steam it for 5 minutes. You can serve it with kurma curry or vegetable sodhi.

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & ITS ROLE IN MANAGING YOUR OFFICE IT IN YOUR OFFICE TODAY

By Siva Ahnantham

F

or a long time IT was always managed by the IT Department in the office. Most companies are totally dependent on their IT Department when procuring new computers and software applications for their business needs. A typical company would hire an IT/MIS Manager to manage their email servers, computer networks and software applications. Companies would need large budgets to invest in computer equipment and network infrastructure. Users were always at the mercy of the IT Manager when upgrades in their computing power were required.

IT FOR THE FUTURE OFFICE

H

owever with new developments in technology, it is now cheaper and easier to manage your office with IT.

Four new trends that have evolved over the years will transform the use of IT over the next decade: 1. Cloud Computing 2. Mobile Computing & Smart Phones 3. Outsourcing 4. Human Information Access

1. CLOUD COMPUTING

C

loud computing is a technology based on the internet system that provides remote data centers to manage information services and applications. Cloud computing allows individual users and companies to administer files, information and applications without installing specific software on their computers just having internet access. Cloud computing can be delivered to you as a service wherever and whenever you need it. The end user doesn’t have to know anything about the underlying technology. The cloud service provider is responsible for IT assets and maintenance. This technology offers a more efficient use of resources such as storage, memory, processing and bandwidth because of the control applied to ensure issues such as high availability, security and quality. The Cloud service provider must provide a predictable and guaranteed service level and security to all their customers.

2. MOBILE COMPUTING & SMART PHONES

W

ith the advent of 3G and 4G mobile phones and computers over the next 5 years, it is now possible for corporate users to access email and business applications on their devices simultaneously with Voice over IP (VoIP) capabilities. As I am writing this article my wife is on her Apple I Pad reading her office email from the ”Virtual Office” at home. Recent studies conducted estimate at least 20% of office work will be done at home through mobile computers and smart phones. Furthermore more offices have introduced “Virtual Desks” for their mobile workforce to save on real estate rentals and space utilization. Here the desks are only used when you need to use them as you will be outside the office for at least 50% of the working day. In this way the laptop and mobile phone are effectively the employees’ “virtual desk”. Third party software vendors are making enterprise applications available for smartphones, including email, online banking, inventory management, electronic medical records management, warehousing, distribution and even architectural and building inspection data for the construction industry. FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

25


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

3. OUTSOURCING

D

ue to rapid changes in technology, it is becoming extremely difficult to recruit competent IT personnel to support the complex hardware and software to manage operations at the office. Furthermore, it is also difficult to retain and keep these experts due to their demanding high salaries. Many companies are now outsourcing their IT Operations to third party companies. The benefits of outsourcing are: • Reduction in operational cost • Access to the best technical resources • Faster response time to solving technical issues • Companies can focus on their core business issues and let their IT be managed by the experts

4. HUMAN INFORMATION ACCESS

H

uman information exists almost everywhere from documents, emails, pictures, audio, video and mobile and social media communications. The challenge has always been to make sense of, and process unstructured, “human information” and draw real business value and meaning. Traditionally data is kept in a structured database in rows and columns. The characteristic that makes human information unstructured is its form. It does not fit neatly into rows and columns of a database but exists in different formats ranging from books, emails, videos and audios across networks. Growing at a rate three times that of structured data, the increasing deluge of unstructured information makes up approximately 90 percent of all information. The challenge for the modern enterprise is to understand and extract vale from this rich sea of information. New tools such as “Autonomy” from HP can now process and understand in real time, the meaning of 100% of this information. These advancements signal a historic shift where it is the “I” in IT that is changing, rather than the “T” Siva Ahnantham is the Managing Partner of Absolute Consult, a company providing IT Consulting services to organizations in South East Asia. He is an IT expert with over 32 years experience in the field. www.absoluteconsultgroup.com

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


BOOKS & WRITERS

Shamini Flint: An Interview through E-mail

FOMSO FORUM: What inspired you to become a writer? Did you have this ambition when you were young or was it a mid-career change decision? SHAMINI: Actually, I quit my job as a lawyer with Linklaters in Singapore to become a stay-at-home mum. Unfortunately, it soon became evident that I was the worst stay-at-home mum in the history of the universe so I decided to find some parttime work to give myself an outlet. I tried teaching university, started a business and eventually turned to writing. So, in effect, there were two transitions – lawyer to stay-at-home mum, and then stay-athome mum to writer. I have to confess, the latter was easier than the former. FOMSO FORUM: You were a very successful international lawyer before you became a writer. Do you regret leaving the legal profession, and would you return to it some day in the future? SHAMINI: I miss being a lawyer. The law is such an interesting, surprising and occasionally amusing subject - besides being the means by which humanity seeks to maintain a standard of individual and social behaviour. I try and incorporate my fondness for the law into my crime fiction books – there’s usually a legal angle somewhere! I still have this idea that I might go back to practice sometime – although it seems more and more unlikely as I grow older. I don’t think I would make a very good employee anymore. I’m not good at following instructions (just like Inspector Singh!) FOMSO FORUM: There have been five ‘Inspector Singh Investigates:’ starting from the 2008 ‘A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder’ – a series that has seen a new title every year to 2012. Why did you pick a Singapore Sikh policeman as your principal protagonist? SHAMINI: As a Malaysian of Indian/ Sri Lankan origin, I was keen to have a policeman who was ethnically Indian in

order to be able to tap my own family experience when it came to developing his character. Indeed, all I have to do is attend a family wedding and my relatives give me enough dialogue to fill three books. I picked a Sikh gentleman because I wanted someone physically distinct, and the turban was a good place to start. Also, post 9/11, there have been stories in the press about how the turban has become a liability for Sikhs living in the West as they have been mistaken for Moslems and subjected to physical and racial abuse. I thought that was an interesting present-day twist to being a Sikh.

FOMSO FORUM: Do you have any plans to continue the Inspector Singh series with a fresh perspective, say as a private investigator after Mr Singh is retired-off from the Singapore Police Force? Alternatively do you have another protagonist in mind who is also a policeman, perhaps from another race, or maybe a Jaffna man or woman? SHAMINI: I don’t plan to make too many changes to the Singh character. My readers have certain expectations of him now and I think they’d be annoyed if he evolved too much. I would like to write a series with a female lead character – a spin off featuring Mrs. Singh maybe? I would love to have a Jaffna man or woman in a new series. The problem is that most of the characters in my existing books are modeled on my extended family. If I was to use a Jaffna character, they might recognise themselves and I would be persona non grata at family functions! FOMSO FORUM: Why did you elect to write crime mysteries; what’s your fascination? SHAMINI: As a Malaysian, I’m accustomed to seeing handbags snatched, homes broken into and politicians accused of everything from sodomy to murder. The policemen tasked with guarding us from the marauding hordes are splendid characters for fiction as well. We are all too familiar with being pulled over for allegedly speeding and asked, ‘Nak settle?’ It makes the traditional character of the stalwart cop pursuing justice at any cost all the more appealing. And as so many places, from Bostwana to Cambridge, have their own eccentric detectives, I felt Asia deserved its turn. FOMSO FORUM: You are a most prolific author, as you have written several children’s books in addition to the Inspector

K. Neelambika

Singh series. Could you elaborate a little on your children’s books, the story lines and themes that you intend to project and your inspirations to write them? SHAMINI: My daughter was about two when I realised that children’s books in our market were still Western-centric, not much different from my own childhood. I believe it’s important for children to feel a sense of belonging; that’s the only way they will connect with people around them and feel responsibility for their own environment. A good first step, I hoped, would be to see their day-to-day lives reflected in the books read to them. So I began a series of children’s picture books, the ‘Sasha’ series, where the child heroine visits different places in Asia. I soon became completely carried away with the idea and have written a number of picture books and children’s novels with the same themes. I am also an environmentalist and a sports enthusiast so these subjects feature a lot in my children’s writing as well. FOMSO FORUM: In 2012, you had published a very different type of book, a historical novel set in Malaya titled ‘The Undone Years’. What inspired you to write this very different and fascinating book? Further, do you have plans to try your hand with a greater variety of literature, or perhaps screen scripts for your Inspector Singh? SHAMINI: I decided to write The Undone Years because I felt, despite the large number of books that have been written about Singapore and Malaya in that period, that no one has fully covered the experience of the ‘ordinary’ people in the war. As such, my book revolves around two characters, the son of an Indian estate clerk on a rubber plantation and the daughter of the Chinese shopkeeper with communist leanings. I do enjoy experimenting with different subjects and genres. I am currently writing a thriller set in China which is something new for me. I have also been asked to contribute to the screenplay for a television series based on Singh for an Australian production company. I love writing on different subjects for children too! FOMSO FORUM: You have been amazingly prolific, publishing so many titles between 2008 to 2012 – how did you manage this tremendous feat? SHAMINI: When I look back, I am not sure. My first children’s book was published in 2005 and I have written forty two books since! I am basically a workaholic and I am my own boss which is the worst possible combination. I give myself impossible deadlines and then I force myself to achieve them! FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

27


BOOKS & WRITERS FOMSO FORUM: What advice would you give to budding and aspiring writers? SHAMINI: Writing is a very private personal experience, so there are no hard and fast rules but as a starting point, I always say write what you know. It is very difficult to write a book when you don’t have a real familiarity with the subject. I also find it useful to be very disciplined in my approach. I set myself a target when I write a new book and stick to it even on days where I feel like tearing my hair out. FOMSO FORUM: Finally, who are your favourite authors and books, and why do you like them? SHAMINI: I think there are some enormously talented Malaysian writers out there now. We seem to be in a mini-boom. I love Tan Twan Eng’s new book, Garden of Evening Mists and Preeta Samarasan’s Evening is the Whole Day is one of my favourite books ever. I love crime fiction so there’s no way I can pick out a single writer! From Holmes to Dalgliesh and Dalziel to Rebus, I’m a huge fan of the maverick copper in fiction. I do have a strong preference for the English style slightly old-fashioned whodunit compared to the blood and guts American writers. My single favourite book of all time isTo Kill a Mockingbird. I became a lawyer because I wanted to be just like Atticus Finch. It was also the book that convinced me that writers can influence public opinion (although so far I haven’t made a dent!)

BOOK REVIEWS

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint

I

n the nineteenth century, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an English country doctor, while waiting for patients, had created Sherlock Holmes – perhaps the literary world’s most famous gentleman detective, endowed with the most astute ability for analysis and deduction to solve the most intricately hatched crime. Sherlock Holmes operated in the era when the world’s first modern police constabulary was established in Victorian England. The twentieth century was the heyday for Agatha Christie, a most prolific writer and playwright, who gave us the suave moustache twirling Hercule Poirot, a native Belgian gentleman investigator. Agatha Christie had also invented Jane Marple, an inquisitive English village amateur sleuth. Now, in the twenty-first century, the pen for this long tradition of crime fiction has clearly passed to a charming member of our Ceylonese community, namely Shamini Mahadevan Flint. Shamini’s first crime novel is set in Malaysia, and her principal protagonist is Inspector Singh. Unlike his well heeled predecessors, this Sikh policeman is clumsy, bulky and noisy with his own wheezing, and is nauseated by the odours of his own athlete’s foot. Inspector Singh is turbaned, with a long flowing white beard, but he smokes – not quite the orthodox Singh, and certainly unbecoming for a Singaporean law enforcement officer. In fact, his colleagues dislike him and wait for the miracle of his early retirement. Clearly Inspector Singh is an anti-thesis of the typical hero, and therein lies the appeal of this character. An ordinary imperfect man, an underdog, and most important of all, an old fashioned detective who disdains modern forensics and computer analysis, and instead, is guided by his lifelong study of the frailties of human nature and his intimacy with the spectrum of motivations to act insidiously. The good Inspector has a suspicious mind and well honed instincts. Despite his unwieldy presence, he is meticulous with detective-work. Much to the chagrin of his colleagues, he has earned a fair track record and thus far, has avoided the compulsion to march off into the oblivion of retirement. Thus his superiors snare a trap for him – firstly, he is assigned to a Malaysian murder case where the verdict is already apparent and secondly, he would have to pick his way through the hostile terrain north of the Causeway. Alan Lee, a flamboyant philandering timber tycoon was shot dead outside his Bangsar home shortly after his bitter divorce and custody battle. Alan had sprung the supreme trick – he pronounced himself and his three sons as newly converted

28

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

Muslims, invoked Article 121(A) of the Malaysian Constitution to triumphantly deny his non-Muslim wife any custody rights. His estranged wife, Chelsea Liew, who was once a glamorous Singaporean model, was enraged beyond imagination. She screamed her intent to kill him. Hence, when Alan’s body was found, Chelsea was quickly arrested, charged and denied bail. This reviewer shan’t reveal anymore, lest it takes away your reading pleasure. You would be in for an excellent read. Shamini is a master of her craft, a worthy successor to Doyle and Christie. She reels out the details a little at a time. There’s the unexpected turn, an unexpected confession from an unlikely quarter. The slew of suspects is enlarged, each with plausible motive. With each development, the plot is thickened and the mystery heightened. Shamini has certainly made it difficult for the poor Inspector, but he would be undaunted, patiently and relentlessly probing on. It is interesting that Shamini had picked Bangsar to set her debut crime novel. Bangsar, the home for the very rich, and for those aspiring to get there. Bangsar’s swanky aura is equally matched by its dark underbelly: once an architect was shot dead outside his home by professional assassins as he paused for the automatic gates to open, a beautiful young lass was abducted from a high end mall only to be found later, raped and murdered, and a doctor was hacked to death in his own clinic. Bored with avarice, have the good people of Bangsar turned to murder for fulfilment? Shamini’s caricature of Malaysia and Malaysianess, parody of the societal undercurrents and sometimes not so subtle political satire has certainly spiced up this book. In fact, this crime fiction has all the ingredients for entertaining celluloid productions, either for the silver screen or a TV serial, and most certainly, for staged theatre. Shamini is a prolific writer, keeping Inspector Singh rather busy, and well travelled: after this maiden Malaysian title in 2008, she has published a title every year to 2012 – ‘A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul’ (2009), ‘The Singapore School of Villainy’ (2010), ‘A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree’ (2011) and ‘A Curious Indian Cadaver’ (2012). Finally, it is hoped that one day, in the not too long future, Shamini might turn her attention and her considerable skills to feature our countrymen who have excelled with the Royal Malaysian Police. These include the late Rajasingam who led ambushes against the communist terrorists in the rugged Perak jungles in the 1960s, and the famed crime busters, namely Kulasingam and Selvanayagam who had put away many of the most ruthless armed gangsters of the land. The stories of these exemplars are waiting to be told. by M. Vickneswaran


The Undone Years by Shamini Flint

I

n her latest offering, recently published in 2012, Shamini Flint tries her hand with a different genre, that of a historical novel. Set in Malaya, its indeed a remarkable book that opens with an incredulous scene. The date is 31st August, twelve years before Merdeka. Its the town square at Bukit Pagoh, Johore. Onada, till then, the head of the district Kempetai, was led up to a platform. The colonel was known as the butcher of Johore. In full view of the gathered local population, he was permitted to commit hara-kiri. The cadres of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army or MPAJA, could have tortured him with his own brutal methods, or could have killed him in any fashion, for a slow painful death that the Colonel deserves. No one would have minded. Nobody would have protested. But the cadres of MPAJA elected otherwise, to be civilised in victory, and to not descend to the cruel depths of the Colonel and his Kempetai. The MPAJA merely ensured that justice was done, and seen to be done – the hated Colonel was allowed to take his own life with his own blood stained hands. The Colonel’s fitting end is also allegorical to the end of the era of Japanese militarism, the end of the false pretext of Pax Nippon, to free the peoples’ of Asia from the yoke of European colonialism. The imperfect, but idyllic times just before the war, is eloquently rendered. Three teenage friends, Rajan, the son of Thomas, the Keralite chief clerk of Kuala Reman estate, the English manager’s

son, Matthew Coleman and Mei Ling, the daughter of Chan, the communist sundry shop owner, constitute the three principal protagonists. The three protagonists take vastly different paths when the Japanese Army lands in Kota Baru on 8th December 1941. The fabric of the war strained Malayan society when the Kempetai instilled fear, applied excruciating torture and meted out executions, is the medium that Shamini uses to examine the meanings of friendships and loyalties, and the extent that such bonds could be strained and tested under the threat of unbearable torture and death. This book also features many other stories, in particular, that of the three fathers, their choices and their ugly betrayals that the war forces upon them. Shamini’s greatest triumph with ‘The Undone Years’ is the evocative rendering of these times, perhaps the worst period in the history of Malayan society. The misery, deprivation and hardships were extensive and almost no one was spared Japanese cruelty. The historical research for this book has been immaculate and presented in right measure, just sufficient to provide context and to not obscure the literary quality. The narrative is presented as a kaleidoscope, carefully building up and leading on with a momentum that captivates. by M. Vickneswaran

Editor’s Note: Shamini Flint’s books are available in Kinokuniya, 4th Floor, KLCC. Each of the 5 Inspector Singh investigations retail at RM35.90 each, and The Undone Years at RM31.90

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

29


THE GLOBETROTTERS

A SOLO LADY TRAVELLER

I

by K. Neelambika

sure love to travel. Its truly my first love. On my many journeys across the continents, I have discovered an enchanting world as an independent solo traveller. So why have I been travelling solo? I have the absolute liberty to decide where I elect to go and as and how I choose to travel. At each destination, I set my own pace and am free to spend the day however I wish to and to do whatever my heart fancies. Being spontaneous for each and every moment adds to the excitement of the holiday. I can even choose to simply do nothing. Just ambling around on the streets, smelling the flowers along the way and taking breaks in a cosy cafe for a cup of coffee while reading a novel and watching the world go by is a pleasurable way of recharging yourself and feeling invigorated. Getting away to new surroundings or even for that matter, return trips to some of my favourite cities, such as Perth, London and Amsterdam that beckons me for return visits, allows me the space for reflection and contemplation. Spending time alone helps you to understand yourself better and discover yourself. There is the opportunity to reach out and make contact with the locals and find out about their lives, and in so doing one gets some sense of the place and its people. When you are travelling with someone or in a group, you naturally end up communicating mostly with your significant other or only with your group members. By travelling on your own, you also let yourself be surprised by accidental discoveries. For instance, when I was in Paris, I went to a quaint little café for lunch. The waiter who attended to me enquired where I was from. I got the conversation going, and found out to my pleasant surprise, that he was a fellow Jaffna Tamil. Sukumar had moved from Jaffna to Paris some 20 years ago. His life had been a struggle, but he had persevered and done well for himself. I was pleased to learn that he actually owns the café, instead of being a mere employee. He kindly offered me a glass of wine on the house. I settled, however, for a cup of coffee. That’s serendipity - ‘making happy discoveries by accident’. Travelling solo allows for slow travel, being unhurried, taking the road less travelled and away from the bus loads of mindless tour groups. For me, its about experiencing the local flavour. I do this by taking the local bus or train into the suburbs. I wander into the residential neighbourhoods to see how the locals live. I take delight in visiting the markets teeming with activity, to feel the pulse of the local community and to feast my eyes on the various local produce. When you are on your own, you tend to have a broader focus, and be open and flexible to whatever comes your way. One learns to be adaptable and to take things in one’s stride when dealing with the unexpected that would inevitably spring up. You are then compelled to respond appropriately by improvising or coming up with new plans.

Research and Prepare

So how can you travel solo? Do your homework well before you leave home. Research from the internet and the latest travel guide books. My personal recommendation for a good travel guide book is the ‘Insight Guides’ as it provides well written narratives on the places of interest. Gather as much information as possible. Find out the mode of transport to get from the airport or train station upon arrival to your hotel, as well as moving about in the city. Its useful to have information on the rates and routes. What are the attractions and events? Run through the travel tips shared by travellers on the travel websites. It’s a useful resource that gives you some perspective of the city as well as titbits on the non-commercial aspects. Give some thought as to what you would really like to see and do. What are your personal areas of interests? Plan ahead and draw up a rough itinerary. This accords a measure of comfort, but keep the itinerary loose, not overly detailed. The schedule can and would definitely change as you go along. This is where the spontaneity comes in. Be open to new discoveries and adventures. Perhaps do something to challenge yourself. Once you are armed with the travel knowledge, you will feel and be confident. Plan to arrive at a place in the daytime so that you are able to get to your hotel and have some time to get familiar with your new surroundings. Get travel insurance to protect yourself in the event of accidents, illness or any unexpected incidents. Bring along whatever medications and health supplements that you need to stay healthy.

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Getting Oriented

Once you arrive at your destination, pick up a map of the city as well as the public transport map, and familiarize yourself with it. Find out the various fares and the cheaper day or week passes that are available for the subways. When in doubt, make enquiries at the information counters, be it at the train terminal or tourist centres or even the driver in the bus. Do not be afraid to ask. Study the maps to orientate yourself with the layout of the city and its neighbourhoods as well the location of landmarks in relation to the public transport network.

Keeping Safe

It certainly helps to travel light, particularly when you encounter a crowded flight of stairs or escalators in subways and narrow streets to get about. Check the weather of the places you would be visiting as this will help you to pack appropriately. Keep your baggage in front of you and keep a watchful eye. Protect yourself from theft by keeping your cash in the inner pocket of your trousers. Keep a day’s spending money in the side pocket for easy retrieval. Dress simple and leave your jewellery and designer bags at home. This is not the place to flaunt them to draw unwanted attention, and to be vulnerable to pickpockets. Have your fare ready to purchase your ticket before entering the subway. Be vigilant of your personal belongings in crowded places such as subway stations, subways, buses, markets and bazaars. When taking the subway train at night, avoid the empty coaches. Keep safe at all times. If you get harassed by men, ignore them and quickly move on. Handle persistent ones with a firm no. Avoid over-friendly strangers who offer to help.

Stay confident and act like you know what you are doing and where you are going. You are vulnerable to potential thieves when you appear lost, especially when you can get overwhelmed by a new place and a different language. In some cities, I was sometimes surprised when fellow visitors had approached me asking for directions. Its about blending in with the locals. If you get lost, seek assistance from a store or restaurant. As you move about, you will start getting a sense of what feels safe to you and what are the areas or neighbourhoods to avoid. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

Making Conversation

Take the initiative and strike up conversations with the local people. Use your sixth sense to select the ‘right’ passenger in the train or bus, in the ticket line, the waiter/waitress or customers in the café or sales assistant/proprietor of retail stores. I have had engaging conversations with a senior Swiss lady on the scenic train from Lucerne to Locarno in Switzerland, at a ticket queue with a third generation young ethnic Tunisian French lady, with a young Belgian proprietor of a Thai café in Brussels and with an elderly English gentleman who is the owner of an antiquarian shop selling old maps and photographs in Stockholm. Quite simply, it all starts with a smile and that generally gets people warming up to you. I generally choose to dine where the locals do and avoid the ones packed with tourists. The meals are cheaper and authentic, plus I get the opportunity to talk to the locals. On most of my travels, providence would lead me to discover a wonderful café or restaurant which would become my favourite hangout place on that trip. It could be due to its ambience or friendly good service. Being a regular, I get to talk with the same waiter or proprietor each time I am there and would inevitably gather new useful information. My first choice of accommodation would be a family-run Bed and Breakfast. Apart from being less expensive than hotels, there is direct contact and interaction with the owner. I’ve had fabulous stays and friendships in Brussels, Geneva and Stockholm. I returned home with a treasure trove of real stories and enduring memories. Another option is to stay in hostels where you get to meet fellow travellers in the living room, dining area and self-service kitchen. Here you get to pick up some tips on what they have been doing. Guided walking tours are useful avenues to meet and chat with other travellers as well as getting familiar with the new city.

Fighting Loneliness

Feel lonely? That’s normal and inevitable. Don’t let it get you down. Explore the city and immerse yourself in the sights and the people. Focus your mind on observing your surroundings. Engage your senses. See and listen. Go with the flow and enjoy each moment. Keep busy with things to do, such as attending cultural events or activities that appeal to you. Get curious. You can join a day tour for company. Loneliness will pass. It does not stay and linger on. When eating alone, use the time to read your guidebook, a novel or write up your travel journal or simply watch the world go by. A book serves as a useful companion to feel less self-conscious if one is not used to eating in a restaurant alone. Women travelling alone are generally regarded as fair game. But that fear should not stop you from seeking experiences beyond your shores. What you need is to be sensible and careful, together with courage, faith and heaps of common sense. Take this path of travel and you will simply be amazed at what you will discover, not only at the place but with yourself as well. Ladies, happy solo travelling. FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

31


MUSIC

REMEMBERING RAVI SHANKAR

By M. Vickneswaran

I

magine a dreary life without music, a dreadful thought indeed. The corollary is to imagine a rich life totally devoted to music. One such inspired life, nine decades long, was that of Rabindra Shankar Chowdrey, better known as Ravi Shankar. From his youth, this Pandit had studied classical North Indian or Hindustani music and the sitar, through the ages old guru-disciple tradition. Ravi Shankar’s own guru had a musical lineage dating three centuries, right back to the magnificent heydays of the courts of the Moghul emperors. The guru’s son and Ravi Shankar’s contemporary is Ustad Ali Akhbar Khan, famed for his mastery of another Hindustani instrument, the sarod. Still only in his twenties, just as the second World War ended and prior to India’s independence in 1947, Ravi Shankar recorded his first vinyl rendering of classical Hindustani ragas. This was received with much joyous acclaim by a Ghandi inspired Indian public that sought to assert the best of Indian-ness as the Crown Jewel of the Empire heaved-off its crippling yoke of the British Raj. Ravi Shankar had thus made his mark in his native India, and this was only the beginning of the Pandit’s long illustrious musical career. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, till his death in 1964, had fervently articulated a vision of modern India, as a secular progressive modern industrial democracy that would encompass values from the best of the East and the West. Modern India would be a multi-layered diversity, built on the bedrock of the traditional and infusing modernity as India claimed its rightful place amongst the brotherhood of nations, promoting peace and international understanding. Nehru’s vision was a clarion call and catalyst to Indian artists, poets, writers, cinematographers like Satyajit Ray and musicians, including Ravi Shankar. By the 1950’s, Ravi Shankar was already recording in the West, bringing Indian music to the attention of the world and establishing it as integral to universal man’s rich cultural heritage. Ravi Shankar collaborated with several Western musicians, the most famous being the renowned violinist, Yehudi Menuhin. Subsequently, in the devastating grind of the futile Vietnam War and the birth of flower power in the 1960’s, Ravi Shankar became the teacher to George Harrison of the Beatles. Ravi Shankar became a global musical icon. In 1967, Ravi Shankar was honoured as the Billboard Recording Artist and Musician.

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


The Maestro continued to experiment and to seek new possibilities and dimensions for music and Indian classical instruments. He had composed western-styled orchestral scores, majestically fusing Western and Indian music to produce sensational new musical experiences. He freed Indian instruments from the strict confines of its traditional music to play contemporary pop, jazz and rock. Ravi Shankar reinterpreted folk tunes giving them finesse and sophistication. He wrote the musical score for Attenborough’s movie, ‘Ghandi’ that helped to internationalise the message of peace and non-violence to a world caught in the throes of the nuclear arms race. Ravi Shankar’s talents and musical sensibilities were like the perennial bloom of splendid spring flowers, always vibrant, fresh, alluring and harmonious. Ravi Shankar’s music uplifts the soul, imploring it to a higher consciousness. Ravi Shankar has left us all with a tremendously rich legacy. Like a true guru, he has groomed numerous younger musicians, including the table player and percussionist, Zakir Hussain and his talented daughter, Anoushka, who like her father, became a major recording artist and stage performer in her twenties. Ravi Shankar is also the father of Nora Jones, the Grammy Award winning soulful jazz singer and composer. Ravi Shankar will live on forever in our lives, to bring joy, serenity and harmony through his numerous recordings. As I pen off this reflection of the great Maestro, I think of his perfect composition, ‘Oom Shakti’, that’s pure bliss.

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THE EDUCATIONAL TRUST FUNDS/SCHOLARSHIPS ADMINISTERED BY JCS 1. JCS THAMBY THURAI EDUCATION FUND Purpose: Granting education loans to members and children of members Minimum Period of Membership for Eligibility

Member - 3 years Children of Member - 5 years Children of Deceased Member - 5 years (member must have been in benefit at the time of death)

A minimum of RM10 subscription a month is required during the loan period No. of Surety / Guarantors or Collateral

3 Guarantors (Minimum Salary RM2,000.00 each) Property Bank Guarantee Applicant and 2 or more sureties

Interest rate

6% during and after duration of course 12% if exceed repayment period

Maximum Loan Amount

Diploma Courses: RM6,000 per year Degree Courses: RM7,500 per year Masters/ Phd Courses: RM12,000 per year

Repayment Period

Repayment for each academic year will be over a period of 3 years with interest only payable during study period. Repayment commences 6 months after period mentioned or of completion or of discontinuance whichever is earlier. Repayable within 6 years. 2. N. THAMOTHARAM PILLAY AND ANNAMMAH MEMORIAL EDUCATION FUND

Purpose: Granting scholarships to members and children of members, to pursue tertiary or other suitable education Minimum Period of Membership for Eligibility

Member - 3 years Children of Member - 5 years Children of Deceased Member - 5 years (member must have been in benefit at the time of death)

A minimum of RM10 subscription a month is required during the loan period No. of Surety / Guarantors or Collateral

3 Guarantors (Minimum Salary RM1,000.00 each)

Interest rate

FREE during and after duration of course 8% after study period

Maximum Loan Amount

Overseas: RM4,000 per academic year (for 5 years) Malaysia / Singapore: RM2,000 per academic year (for 5 years)

Repayment Period

Repayment for each academic year will be over a period of 2 years

3. MADAM NAGASUNDRAM NADARAJAH EDUCATION FUND (MEDICAL STUDIES) Purpose: Granting loans to qualified students pursuing a course in medicine in any local institution of higher learning Minimum Period of Membership for Eligibility

Member - 3 years Children of Member - 5 years Children of Deceased Member - 5 years (member must have been in benefit at the time of death)

A minimum of RM10 subscription a month is required during the loan period No. of Surety / Guarantors or Collateral

3 Guarantors (Minimum Salary RM1,000.00 each)

Interest rate

FREE during and after duration of course 8% after study period

Maximum Loan Amount

Malaysia / Singapore: RM2,000 per academic year (for 6 years)

Repayment Period

Repayment for each academic year will be over a period of 2 years

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FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013


4. J.A.R. WELLINGTON & WELNA WELLINGTON MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND Purpose: Granting scholarships to needy children of members, to pursue tertiary education Minimum Period of Membership for Eligibility

Member - 3 years Children of Member - 5 years Children of Deceased Member - 5 years (member must have been in benefit at the time of death)

A minimum of RM10 subscription a month is required during the loan period No. of Surety / Guarantors or Collateral

3 Guarantors (Minimum Salary RM1,000.00 each)

Interest rate

FREE during and after duration of course 8% after study period

Maximum Loan Amount

Malaysia / Singapore: RM2,000 per academic year (for 6 years)

Repayment Period

Repayment for each academic year will be over a period of 2 years 5. SARAVANAMUTHU-SAUNDARIPILLAI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND

Purpose: Granting scholarships to members and children of members, to pursue tertiary education

Minimum Period of Membership for Eligibility

Member - 3 years Children of Member - 5 years Children of Deceased Member - 5 years (member must have been in benefit at the time of death)

Maximum Scholarship

The number of scholarship to be awarded each year and the monetary value of each scholarship shall be at the absolute discretion of the trustees

Repayment Period

None

6. T.KANDIAH M.B.E. EDUCATION FUND Purpose: Granting loans to members and children of members, to pursue any course in a recognised institution of higher learning in Malaysia or overseas Minimum Period of Membership for Eligibility

Member - 3 years Children of Member - 5 years Children of Deceased Member - 5 years (member must have been in benefit at the time of death)

A minimum of RM10 subscription a month is required during the loan period No. of Surety / Guarantors or Collateral

3 Guarantors

Interest rate

4 % During Study Period 8% After Study Period 15% If Exceed Repayment Period

Maximum Loan Amount

RM9,000 disbursed over a period of 3 years

Repayment Period

Repayment will be done over a period of 4 years from date of completion of the course 7. MR &MRS A. RAJARATNAM FINANCIAL STUDIES FUND

Purpose: Granting loans to eligible candidates, to pursue part time studies in Accountancy/Financial Studies in recognised institutions of higher learning in Malaysia or overseas Interest rate

2 % During Study Period 8% After Study Period or on discontinuance of the course

Maximum Loan Amount

RM4,000 per academic year (maximum of 3 years)

Repayment Period

Repayment shall commence not later than 6 months after the completion of the course or on discontinuance of the course FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

35


FEDERATION OF MALAYSIAN SRI LANKAN ORGANISATIONS (FOMSO) PANEL OF ADVISORS Y. Bhg Tan Sri Dato (Dr) Ramon Navaratnam Y. Bhg Tan Sri Devaki Krishnan Y. Bhg Tan Sri Dato’ P Alagendra Y. Bhg Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Azlanii Dr M Mahadevan Y. Bhg Tan Sri Datuk G. Gnanalingam Y. Bhg Dato’ K.N Nadarajah Y. Bhg Datuk V.V. Nathan Y. Bhg Tan Sri Dato Sri Adm. (R) K. Thanabalasingam Y. Bhg Tan Sri C. Rajendram Y. Bhg Tan Sri Datuk Dr V. Mani Jegathesan Y. Bhg Tan Sri Dato Dr R.P. Lingam

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President Deputy President Vice President Vice President Vice President Honorary Secretary Honorary Treasurer

Dato’ S. Kulasegaran DSPN Mr Gnanarajah C. Ayathurai JSM, JMW, AMN Mr S. Logarajah Mr P. Satguna Rajah Datuk Dr D.M. Thuraiappah PJN, DPMS, SSA, AMN Mr Nadarajah Chelliah PJK Mr Danesh Gunaratnam

BUREAU CHAIRPERSONS Economic Finance Task Force Sports Cultural Education Women & Welfare Government Affairs Youth Networking Special Projects

36

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

Datuk Dr. D.M. Thuraiappah PJN, DPMS, SSA, AMN Mr P. Satgunarajah Mr S. Logarajah Mr N Rasanayagam PJK Mr Sivanathan Retnam Prof R. Rajeswaran Mrs Sarojini Pasupathy PPN Mr V. Mahalingam KMN, AMS, PJK Mr Ashveen Chakravarthy Mr Magandran Muthiah Ms Geetha Rubasundram


BOARD OF MANAGEMENT PRESIDENTS OF AFFILIATED ORGANISATIONS Persatuan Perkhidmatan Masyarakat Ceylonese Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMA)

Mr A. Gnanarajah

Ceylon Tamil’s Kalavirthy Sangam Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan

Mr S Logarajah

Koperasi Suriya Berhad

Mr S. Logarajah

Jaffnese Cooperative Society (JCS)

Mr S. Makeswaran PPN

Malaysian Ceylon Saivites Association

Mr S. Perampalam

Tamilians’ Physical Culture Association (TPCA)

Mr S. Perampalam

Negeri Sembilan Ceylonese Association (NSCA)

Mr S. Kumarasamy

Malaysian Ceylonese Provident Fund

Mr S. Mylvaganam PPS

Ceylon Association Kedah/Perlis (1965)

Mr P. Gunaratnam BKM, PJK

Siri Jayanthi Association

Mr. Maithripala Samaravera

Malaysian Ceylonese Welfare & Education Fund

Mr N. Thananayagam

Persatuan Kaum Ceylon (1979) Muar

Mr M. Jayasingam AMN, BSI, PHF

Persatuan Persahabatan Bangsar

Mr K. Tharmabalan

Malaysian Ceylonese Association South Johor

Mr S.S. Chandran

Persatuan Ceylon Pahang

Dr. S. Sandraprakash

Ceylon Association Taiping

Mrs Rathy Mahendran

Malaysian Sinhalese Association (MSA)

Mr Gordon Varuna Piyadasa

Ceylon Association Kluang Johor

Mr. N. Perimbanayagam / Mrs Nageswari Balasekaran

Ceylon Association Perak, Ipoh

Dr S. Rajadurai

Young Men’s Hindu Association Taiping

Mr. A. Amirthalingam

Yarl Sports and Cultural Association Melaka

Mr. SA Lingam

Malaysian Jaffnese Tamil Business Association(MJTBA)

Muhammad Arif (Eric Kanapathy)

FOMSO FORUM JANUARY 2013

37


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