It seemed such a simple tale.
The canteen operator from Politeknik Seberang Perai (PSP) had his contract not renewed due to “administrative reasons”.
That ought to have been the end of the story but it isn’t…
29 June 2017
I was told to convert to Islam, says polytechnic canteen operator
The canteen operator from Politeknik Seberang Perai (PSP), whose contract was not renewed due to “administrative reasons”, now claims he was told to convert to Islam if he wants to continue operating his stall.
“I was disappointed with the statement, but I did not take it seriously. I know it is now a norm,” Gopi Krishnan Gopal said at a press conference in Komtar today.
Gopi Krishnan said the PSP head of administration, who told him and his wife, Khor Hong Geik, to convert to Islam, is now retired.
He claimed to have also received calls from various quarters, including a government officer from Putrajaya, who told him to “keep things quiet” as there were efforts to get his stall at PSP reinstated.
“I told the officer to raise the issue with Prime Minister Najib Razak’s department, and to ask the PM to ensure that all polytechnics in the country have a canteen operator to provide food for non-Muslims, especially vegetarians,” Gopi Krishnan said.
“We are not asking for a temple to be built in the polytechnic, just a stall to serve non-Muslims, some who are vegetarians due to religious reasons,” he added, saying he served 1,200 non-Muslims students in PSP.
28 June 2017
MIC whitewashing Indian food trader issue, says Ramasamy
If food trader was let go due to ‘administrative reasons’, Kamalanathan must reveal what these are, says DAP rep.
GEORGE TOWN: A federal minister has come under fire over the handling of an issue involving an Indian food trader at a government polytechnic here who was allegedly let go due to the stall’s “non-compliance with the shariah code”.
DAP’s P Ramasamy said Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan’s press statement was merely a public relations stunt in an attempt to whitewash the issue.
“Most of the time, it is very difficult to fathom on whose side Kamalanathan is on. Is he an Indian rep or is he representing those who manage educational institutions?
“It is not known whether he really takes up and articulates the various problems by members of the Indian community.
“So much so, he has become a ‘yes man’ for those in power rather than a person who is genuinely interested in furthering the interests of the downtrodden and poor Indians,” Ramasamy told FMT.
Ramasamy said since Kamalanathan had admitted to not knowing what had happened, the explanation of the trader being let go due to “administrative reasons” was questionable.
He said Kamalanathan had yet to clarify what these violated administrative guidelines were or why the Indian food trader had failed to follow them.
27 June 2017
Removal of canteen operator not a racial issue, says Kamalanathan
The termination of an Indian food service provider at Politeknik Seberang Perai was not a racial issue, said MIC education bureau chief P Kamalanathan.
“I wish to stress here that the issue is not a racial issue as in total four contractors were terminated based on administrative reasons,” said Kamalanathan, who is also the deputy education minister.
According to earlier news reports, the Indian food canteen operator, who was the only non-Muslim canteen operator on campus, was told to cease operations on grounds that his stall was not “syariah compliant”.
A Facebook post on the matter, from someone who appears to be a student of the college, has been widely shared online and on phone messaging services.
According to one such message, a petition by some 300 students against the removal of the only Indian food stall on campus was unsuccessful.
Kamalanathan said the MIC president S Subramaniam is very concerned with accusations of racism against the canteen operator. He said that the party president had ordered him to investigate the matter.
“MIC will not tolerate any discrimination if the accusation is found to be true,” he said.
He explained that he had contacted the director of the institution who clarified that four contractors, including the Indian food stall operator, had their service terminated due to the non-adherence to the terms of the contract.
The other three operators who had their service terminated were Malay, he said.
26 June 2017
Food stall ordered shut for alleged shariah non-compliance
Stall operator’s plea and phone conversation purportedly with a high ranking official at a government educational institution in Penang goes viral.
GEORGE TOWN: An education institution on mainland Penang has allegedly told the only non-Muslim food stall operator in the campus canteen to cease operations as his stall is not “shariah compliant”.
The operator, who has been serving Indian food at the government institution in Seberang Perai for more than six months, is upset. It is claimed that an appeal by both the stall operator and Indian students at the institution has been rejected by the administration.
The institution, however, has denied the accusation.
The stall is the only Indian food outlet among several Malay outlets at the institution, under the ministry of education, that offers various courses.
The food stall operator has since voiced his unhappiness with the institution’s administrators on WhatsApp and Facebook.
On Facebook, a post shared by Melissa Ann MM has garnered nearly 1,000 shares at the time of writing. Melissa appears to be a student of the college.
An identical statement by a food seller by the name of “Gopy” has also gone viral on WhatsApp.
It was attached with a voice recording of a conversation said to be between one of the institutions’s top administrators and the affected food seller.
In the recording, a man, apparently in the top ranks of the institution, says the food seller’s appeal against the decision to let him go had been rejected.
“Aren’t you that Indian shop? The appeal has failed, I am not sure why…we are implementing shariah-compliant ISO (standards), maybe your shop was selling non-halal food, right?
“That is why we could not consider (the appeal),” the man is heard saying.
The food seller is then heard pleading with him, saying he has spent a lot of money on the stall and has not broken even yet. He says he knows he “is not a Muslim” and that is the reason he sources his meats from the “same place Muslims get their meats”.
The man is heard saying: “I am sorry but I am new here, but the instructions are as such.”
Earlier, Gopy, in laying out the problem, says in the audio clip that 300 students had petitioned against the removal of the only Indian food shop on campus but that it was unsuccessful.
“(After running the outlet)…for the past six months, the college terminated my contract due to ISO shariah law in which non-Muslims are not allowed to do any sort of business as they say it’s not halal,” the message reads.
FMT cannot independently verify the veracity of the statement made by Gopy.