Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The 1-Malaysia in reality

The 1-Malaysia in reality
26 May, 2009

There are many things the Indians should fight for other than for more ‘lucrative’ posts and positions. And the fight should not just focus on getting more Indians into committees. This does not work and has been proven so for more than 50 years.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Indians are upset. And they have every right to be upset. After all, have they not been neglected and marginalised for more than 50 years? I will be very surprised if they are not upset when even I am upset.

But these Indians appear to be upset over the wrong reasons. They are upset because Indians are not given enough posts and positions. They want more representatives here and more representatives there, in every council, committee and what-have-you. And they are upset not because not enough Indians are being given these posts and positions. They are upset because THEY are not being given these posts and positions. It makes you wonder whether they are fighting for their fellow Indians or for themselves.

Why fight for more temples? Are there not enough temples as it is now? Fight for more government land and government funds for expansion purposes for existing temples. After all, are not mosques being built on government land and with government money, which means it is our land and our money -- Malays, Chinese, Indians and ‘others’ included?

In other words, don’t talk about quantity, talk about quality.

Why fight for more Indian schools? Some Indian schools are so dilapidated and don’t even have enough students to qualify as a school. We don’t need more schools. We need to improve the existing schools. Again, quality over quantity!

Fight for the abolishment of race-based quotas in public schools, colleges and universities plus for Tamil to be part of the school curriculum as a second or third language so that Indian students can still learn Tamil if they want to.

The taxpayers are paying for the cost of public institutions of learning -- meaning you and me are paying for it. So why should only one race be allowed places in these institutions such as ITM? The Malays are not paying for these institutions. All Malaysians, non-Malays included and in particular, are paying for it. It is an open secret that the ‘other races’ are paying most of the taxes but they are denied places in public institutions of learning which depends on taxpayers to fund them.

Are posts and positions really that important? Indians have been given posts and positions since over 50 years of Merdeka. But have the lot of the Indians improved? Do these Indians holding all sorts of posts and positions really strive to improve the lot of their fellow Indians?

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad grumbled that he gave the so-called representatives of the Indian community all sorts of help. They got shares, contracts, land and whatnot. But did it filter down to the grassroots Indians or did those at the top sapu everything for themselves?

Today, the Indians might argue that MIC no longer represents the Indian community and that Mahathir should not have given all this wealth to the MIC leaders because they kept it all for themselves and never passed anything down to the people below them. Maybe, today, you say that. But, until very recently, 90% of the Indian voters voted for Barisan Nasional. The impression the Indians gave was that they regard MIC as their legitimate representative.

There are many things the Indians should fight for other than for more ‘lucrative’ posts and positions. And the fight should not just focus on getting more Indians into committees. This does not work and has been proven so for more than 50 years.

The Indians are being left behind. There are as many, or probably more, poor Indians as there are Malays. But Indians do not get special preferences when buying a home, the most important and fundamental requirement before anything else. A roof over the head is first and foremost. But a rich Malay house-buyer gets special preference because he is Malay while a poor Indian sleeps in a rented slum-house because he is Indian. Is this fair?

I support the Indian cause. But I do not support what they are asking for and the way they are going about doing it. Yes, call for the end of the New Economic Policy in spite of Najib’s warning to HINDRAF to ‘not to go to far’. It should no longer be about Malays first. It should be about poor and needy Malaysians first.

And you can demand this without asking for more places in committees. It is not about posts and positions. It is about getting other non-Indian Malaysians like the Malays and Chinese to join you and to support you in the fight to improve the lot of not only the Indians but the lot of all poor and deserving Malaysians regardless of ethnicity.


PKR man: Pakatan not doing enough for Indians

A grassroots PKR leader today lashed out at Pakatan Rakyat and its administration in Selangor for continuing to marginalise the Indian community in the state. “The sidelining of the Indian community by the Pakatan in Selangor is not much different from what Barisan Nasional has done,” said Petaling Jaya Selatan division’s deputy chief A Thiruvenggadam today.

He alleged that all promises made by Pakatan leaders, including PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, before the general election in March 2008 to uplift the Indian community remained unfulfilled.

“In Selangor, the PKR-led state government has so far failed to keep up with its promise to do something for the community. No job offers have given to the Indian community. No contracts have also been allocated for the Indian businessmen in the state,” said Thiruvenggadam, who is a PKR-appointee as a councillor to the PJ city council.

“I have been asking for the past one year or so for the state government under Khalid to make it a state policy to provide jobs and business opportunities for the Indian community but to date nothing has moved,” he said in a statement. He claimed that all Pakatan leaders were repeatedly lying to the Indian community by promising them better things as compared to the neglect committed by Barisan Nasional.

“They are only cheating the community to garner support. Nothing is being done. They have done nothing for the community by giving some money for the Tamil schools in the state. They must also help the community to be economically strong,” he added.

He said that the Pakatan leadership’s argument that it should not be looking after one particular race only does not hold water. “Why do you want to neglect an already marginalised community? There is nothing wrong in helping this community to find its feet. Otherwise, it will just remain neglected,” he said.

He added that it was ironic that many Pakatan leaders in power today were human rights defenders before this and now they were not seeing the sorry plight suffered by the Indian community in the state. He also challenged the state government to come up with statistics on what it has done to uplift the Indian community in the state. Thiruvenggadam said he would be revealing more on the state government’s failure in helping the Indian community at a press conference next Monday.

Nalla: I am not surprised by this

The Indian community, for long BN voters, shifted sides to Pakatan in the last general election after complaining that they have been neglected for years. Pakatan leaders had said that they would be different from BN and would help the community gain an economic status. However many observers, including insiders like Thiruvenggadam, have complained that the plight of the community remained the same.

Commenting on this, BN-allied Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP) leader KS Nallakaruppan said he agreed with the contention that the Pakatan state governments have done nothing for the community. Pakatan won control of five states in the general election.

“The complaints are valid. I have travelled throughout the country, including to the five states under Pakatan control and the feedback I get is that they are still in the same poor, neglected state. Apart from appointing some Indians to some high-profile posts and local councils, Pakatan had failed to deliver its promise for the Indian community,” he told Malaysiakini.

He was referring to the appointment of DAP’s P Ramasamy as the deputy chief minister 2 in Penang and V Sivakumar as the Perak assembly speaker.

“Temples are still being demolished in the Pakatan states. Tamils schools are still in the same condition. Have they reduced poverty?” he asked. “I know full well about Anwar and other PKR leaders. They have never cared about the Indian community,” he added.

He said that while BN could have been slow in reacting to the needs of the Indian community in the past, it has now learnt its lessons with the federal government implementing some policies to overturn the situation. Nallakaruppan left PKR in 2007 after a fall-out with Anwar and formed his party.

No comments: