MORE PICS – 500 Malaysian Indians Protest - Putra Jaya, Aug 12 07; Abolish Privileges, ALL POOR MUST BE HELP; Plight of Indians after 50 Years
MORE PICS – More than 500 “No Merdeka for Malaysian Indians” Protest - Putra Jaya, Aug 12 07; Attempt-Fail to Submit Memo to PM Abdullah on the Plight of Indians after 50 Years; ALL POOR MUST BE HELP
ABOVE & BELOW: Malaysiakini had the breaking story and a Video Clip (4 min) on Aug 12 07 , details H E R E
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ABOVE: “50 Years of Golden Jublie Independence Celebration – No Merdeka for Malaysian Indians – the huge banner unfurled says it all.
Unfortunately the Prime Minister office was close and Datuk Seri Ahmad Badawi was on an official trip in Pulau Pinang. More than 500 protesters from NGOs and opposition parties had gathered at Putra Jaya on a glommy Sunday morning causing a traffic snarl in the morning as road blocks were set up to prevent buses entering the administrative capital.
The police and the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) were in abundance to keep the protesters on leash. The protesters left peacefully after making the customary speeches with the supporters shouting hoarse their prepared slogans.
After 50 years what have they achieved and what is the future for them?
ABOVE: The crowd was prevented from going near Badawi's Seri Perdana residence and BELOW: The other big banners
“Despite dozens of seminars and scores of learned papers, neither the community's leaders nor the MIC have come up with a systemic plan that the government might use to help the Tamil masses, leaving them rudderless and adrift.”
= = == Background- Plight of the Malaysian Indians
In recent weeks there has been a lot of discussion on the plight of the Malaysian Indians. It was started by none other than the supreme leader of the MIC itself. The MIC has failed to uplift the position of the Indians who have and are continuing to lose whatever has been achieved since independence. The Indians alone must solve their problems. The have to change their mindset and struggle to improve their economic well being. Politics has become so communal in
Can the Indian community by itself come out of the present situation without outside help? Theoretically they can as they have the talent and capabilities but in reality I feel they do not have the will to do so. They had and continue to depend too much on government aid which by itself is not a crime as they are all citizens in this country. They were doing well before as government servants at all levels. Most of them were loyal and possessed good work ethics. On the whole they were an asset to the government and nation. Over the years they were slowly but surely eliminated from the public sector and today sad to say they are denied even the lower category jobs. The Indians like the Malays are basically wage earners and are not business minded like the Chinese. They are contended to be employees and as such have done very well as professionals and administrators in public and private sectors. There are a large number of them successfully employed in the multinational institutions.
ABOVE: P Uthayakumar, one of the leagal advisers were angry that they were singled out in the buses during road blocks. BELOW, he showed a letter written to the PM last week and acknowledged and now waiting for his reply as No 1 top civil servant. He wants the special privileges abolished and hope "all poor people must be helped". " Enough is Enough" he further added, "the Malaysian Indians have been sidelined for too long"
Many of them who have migrated elsewhere are also doing very well. But in their own country they are in such a pitiful state. If the minority Indian community is allowed to further lose their economic possessions it will be a tragedy not just to them but to the country as a whole. UMNO must realize that if they neglect the Indian community, in future their well being will also be affected as these neglected people will resort to unfavorable activities and even terrorism. The more elite among them would migrate to greener pastures leaving behind those ”unwanted” and the illiterate. These people will become a liability to the nation.
It is important therefore that the UMNO government give some serious thought to the plight of Indians. Employ them and give them the opportunity to excel in the public sector. Tap their talents to improve the public service. UMNO need not fear or be suspicious of the Indians as they will definitely be loyal employees of the government and the nation for life. In the final situation, UMNO and not the MIC that can deliver the Malaysian Indians out of the doldrums.
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KUALA LUMPUR - More then 150 years after arriving here to work British-owned rubber plantations, Malaysia's minority Indian community is drifting aimlessly and with little to call their own in their adopted land. Once again the plight of this minority community is being hotly debated, and once again there is deep division over what the causes are and what the remedies might be. The travel and tourism lines of
But experts say the majority of the Malaysian Indians are trapped in a life of quiet desperation. Last week, the government's top economic planner gave a briefing to 500 Indian intellectuals, arguing how the government takes the future of Indians into consideration when formulating policies. He asked for a show of hands of people who are happy with the measures taken by the government. "Not one of us raised our hands," said a university lecturer who attended the briefing. Mustapha Mohamad, who heads the government's Economic Planning Unit, then asked who was not satisfied. "All of us put our hands up," the lecturer told IPS.
"We told him in no uncertain terms that government has done little or nothing." The problem, however, is not just official neglect, experts say. While the Malay-dominated government openly favors native Malays and actively helps them get a head start in every way possible way - scholarships, business loans, employment, industrial training - the same government has refused minority Indian demands for an affirmative action policy that would give them a helping hand. "We're not asking for handouts," said Denison Jayasooria, executive director of the Social Strategic Foundation, a private think tank for ethnic Indian concerns. "There are government policies in place to help Indians, but implementation has been weak," Jayasooria said recently. "If this is not addressed, there will be a lot of discontent." Government authorities should recruit more Indians in the civil sector, ensure more places for them in public universities and increase business loans for Indians, he said. Outside an affirmative policy, the government has helped through a quota system under which Indians get 5% to 10% of university places, scholarships and some minimal employment in the civil service. A small elite within the community has used these resources to climb out of poverty, but for most there are no such doors to escape. Some experts also blame the deep division within the community along caste, class and ethnic lines. These are historical factors created by British colonialism that artificially created a structured Indian community with better off, upper-caste Malayalees (from Kerala) and Jaffna Tamils at the top and lower-caste Tamils, who form about 80% of the community, at the bottom.
While the Malayalees and Jaffna Tamils benefited from the close proximity to the British masters and exploited the modernizing economy to accumulate wealth and advance economically, the Tamil laboring masses remained trapped in rubber plantations, living a miserable existence enclosed by a green jungle impenetrable to any modern influence.
Also, like the Chinese who maintained or built new networks on the mainland, the Malayalees and Jaffna Tamils had networks to fall back on in their native lands and had options to move back or move on to other climes. In contrast, the Tamil laborers had turned their backs on the villages in
"But those who move to urban centers sometimes have it worse, finding themselves in squalid, crime-ridden settlements and working as low-paid laborers because they lacked sufficient education and skills," said the social activist,
The MIC political leadership and vision is also stagnant, feudal and lacking in clout. Although a partner in government, the MIC, led by Samy Vellu since 1979, has not been able to pressure the government into improving the fortunes of the Tamil masses. "He [Samy Vellu] runs the party like a feudal zamindar [tax collector] and makes all the decisions and hangs on to power and will probably die in office," said an academic. Being a minority, the Indians lack the numerical strength to either exert any political influence or make a significant contribution to the national economy.
The plight of the Tamil masses stems first from their own apathy and by the effects of systematic exploitation by colonial capital and, now, neglect by independent
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MALAYSIAN INDIANS - ALARMINGLY THE HIGHEST NUMBER BEING SHOT DEAD BY THE POLICE
It has been brought to our attention that the Malaysian Indians are alarmingly the highest number being shot dead by the Police. The glaring, brutal and ruthless examples are the six (6) people killed in Tumpat, Kelantan, the eight (8) month pregnant Lady together with four (4) others (who have no previous criminal records) who were shot dead in Sg Besi, the Malaysian Indian Mental Patient who was shot dead in Kluang, Johor and latest three (within a period of two weeks being Anthony Ponnusamy (24/08/2002) Letchumanan Moneandy (24/08/2002) And Mohanan Pillai (6/09/2002).
In the Tumpat, Kelantan incident the Police's excuse of mistaken identity is, insulting the intelligence of all Malaysian as there are almost no Indians residing in Tumpat and any Indian in town would be easily identified and known to any resident in Tumpat, let alone the Police. Furthermore, it has been reported that the said victims were shot at from all directions.
As for the eight (8) month Pregnant Lady shot dead by The Police, it is absurd that they cannot distinguish between an eight month Pregnant Lady and a Criminal and that the police shot her dead in self-defence. It has been brought to our attention that the said Pregnant Lady was also shot at as the police did not want any evidence/anyone left alive to testify as to the truth about the Police Shooting dead an Individual/s.
As for the Malaysian Indian Mental Patient, he was shot dead in full view of hundreds if not thousands of people. Can't the police distinguish between a Mental Patient and a Criminal? The front page colour photo in the local newspaper clearly suggest that the deceased is a Mental Patient. The Police are yet to explain what warranted/justified these citizens being shot dead by the Police let alone an .apology to the families and the country at large and neither has any tenable/valid reasons been offered for the same.
The police also totally disregarded the law in deliberately not wanting to hold an open Inquiry / Inquest as is required by the law except for the Tumpat case. One can only assume that the one and only reason for the same is that the police have something to hide. Alarmingly the highest number (proportionately) being shot dead by the Police are Malaysian Indians. It has been brought to our attention that the Malaysian Indians become easy preys/targets of being shot dead by the police for the following reasons:
1. They do not have Political Clout. For example in the case of shooting dead of the 8 month pregnant lady in Sg. Besi and the six in Tumpat Kelantan, M.I.C President Dato Seri S. Samy Vellu raised the same at the cabinet. He later said that the Prime Minister would look into it. After two (2) years, while the Prime Minister is still "looking into it" the shootings still go on.
2. They do not have Economic Clout.
3. They are socially suppressed and do not have the means to fight back legally.
4. They are ignorant of their Legal Services.
5., Because of Poverty they cannot afford Legal Rights.
6 The Political Parties including the BN, MIC, and the BA and other NGOs' in particular the supposed Human Rights NGOs do not care about the Malaysian Indian Plight as this cause may not be politically rewarding, not exciting, not glamorous, not a populist cause not appealing to the majority communities, would not attract international attention etc.
7. The Local Media including the Tamil Press gives less coverage to this Malaysian Indian plight also for the reason aforementioned in Item 6 hereinabove.
8. The Police take the Indians for granted also for the aforesaid reasons mentioned in Item 6 hereinabove.
Posted on 2003-06-18
= = == = == Paper no. 618 ; 28. 02. 2003
MALAYSIAN INDIANS: The third class race by C. S. Kuppuswamy
“A race of people is like an individual man: until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its history, expresses its own culture and affirm its own selfhood, it cannot fulfill itself” --- Malcom XThe third largest ethnic group in
The mass Indian (South Indian) immigration can be traced back to the early 20th century when the Britishers brought them to meet the labour force requirements in the colonial public services and in private plantations. While the bulk of the Tamils were employed in the plantations, the Sri Lankan Tamils and Malayalees were in supervisory or clerical positions. Of the North Indians, the Punjabis were in the police force, while the Gujaratis and Sindhis were in the business (mostly textiles). Despite the mass exodus of South Indians back to
The Indians themselves are to some extent responsible for their present unenviable and ignominious status, and the policies of the Malaysian Government since independence had not been helpful either. Ignorance born out of poverty in the plantations resulted in many of them not getting citizenship which was offered in 1957 when
A major setback for the Indian labour force was the steady closure of the rubber plantations giving way to tea and oil palm plantations. Their numbers started dwindling and they had competition from the illegal Indonesian immigrants. Unlike the Chinese who lay great emphasis on education, it was not given due importance by the Indian working class. The Tamil schools in the estates were often mere apologies and offered no opportunity for progress in higher education. The undue importance on Tamil education has also weakened the Indian community in competing with the indigenous Malays and the Chinese. One of the major reasons for the low percentage of Indian origin students in the tertiary institutions in the country is the lack of merit and as a result, even the quotas set for the Indians remain unutilised.
Despite their economic backwardness, the Indians were a peace loving people and were not involved in any racial riots either in May 1969 or later except for a few incidents of clashes on account of religious sentiments. However in March 2001, the ethnic clashes between Indians and Malays in a village in the outskirts of
The MIC, a constituent of the coalition government at the center since independence does not have much political clout and has not been able to do anything substantial to improve the lot of the Indians. Datuk Seri Samy Vellu is the President of the MIC since 1979. Charles Santiago, a Malaysian economic consultant, in an interview on 5 Feb. 2003 to Radio Australia (Asia Pacific) said “ He (Samy Vellu) is in, very much in control of the party, and the party’s run almost on feudal organisation where almost all the decisions are made by the President himself…. A lot of Indians are critical of MIC’s role in the coalition government … the Indian middle class dose not want to associate itself in the MIC and largely making the MIC a working class party." This in brief sums up the state of affairs of the leading Indian party and its leader in the coalition government.
The Malaysian Government policies since independence have also been consistently to the detriment of the non-Malays in general though the Indian community seems to be most hard hit. The first major step was the introduction of work permits for the non-citizens when a majority of Indian workers had not obtained Malaysian citizenship. Subsequently in 1971 with its New Economic Policy, the Government championed the cause of the Malays by the policy of "Bhumiputras"(sons of the soil). The Bhumiputras were to have a major share in the public sector while the private sector remained secure with the Chinese.
The introduction of quotas for the different races in the educational institutions has also adversely affected the Indian community. The New Development Plan for the period 1991-2000 was also designed to achieve the socio-economic upliftment of the Bhumiputras and the MIC’s efforts to place the Indians in a separate ethnic grouping seems to have made no headway with the Malaysian Government. Being a minority, they do not have the numerical strength to exert any political influence nor do they make any significant contribution to the national economy. The ruling government’s apathy to the Indians is therefore understandable.
But what about the leaders like Samy Vellu and what has been their contribution towards the alleviation of poverty of the poor people of Indian origin? There has been none.
The following observations elucidate some of the reasons for the current state of the Indians and the bleak chances of their betterment:
*"Malaysians have failed to integrate in any meaningful fashion, even after almost forty years of independence.” – Edmund Terrence Gomez in the book “ Ethnic Futures – The state and identity politics in
* ‘Indians have little prospect of advancement, since
* “Despite the country’s veneer of racial harmony and opportunity for all, many in the Indian community have limited access to housing , education and jobs. About 54% of Malaysian Indians work on plantations , or as urban labourers and their wages have not kept up with the times.” –Santha Oorjitham (Asiaweek
* “The Scope of government help (to the Indians) is also limited by the realities of the race politics in Malaysia, which effectively means the problems of the majority Malays will always come ahead of those of the Indians”. – Simon Elegant (FEER
The plight of the Malaysian Indians can be attributed in part to a dependency mindset nurtured on the plantations and this has to be overcome. There is a significant and emergent need for a change in the leadership of the Indian parties in power to take up the cause of the Indians to get them their due rights free from racial discrimination and have full access to jobs and education. As proposed in the Conference on the “The Malaysian Indian in the new millennium –rebuilding the Community” held at Kuala Lumpur in June 2002, problems such as the loss of self esteem within the community, external derision and the absence of unifying factors to forge a single identity have to be addressed by the leading cultural, social and political institutions and embark on an action plan. However the effort has to come from within the community and has to be sustained as such deliberations have been there in the past also with no major impact on the Government.
Till now the Indian Government has done very little in this regard. Since the Government of India has now embarked upon a programme for interacting with the Overseas Indians, especially with the affluent sections in the Western nations, it should also look after the interests of the under privileged Overseas Indians in countries like Malaysia. As part of the “Look East” policy interaction with
As of now the problems faced by the Malaysian Indians are not being attended to by the Malaysian Government nor does the community have the economic or political clout to demand their redressal. One wonders whether the Indians belong to the third major race or to a third class race in the country. We are not aware what recommendations the High Power Committee of Government of India ( really high powered with extensive tours all over the world, five star hotels and lavish receptions etc) have made for the poorer sections of the Indian community abroad. Acceptance of the dual citizenship for a selected class is not going to be helpful either for this hapless lot.
= = = ==Video Updated Dec 02 2007
Watch Video Clip (2min 46s) –SAMY & Government Failed the Indian Community; Over 2 Months He submitted Reports then Meetings then KIV; Now Special Committee - Eyewash?
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With Comments from Anwar Ibrahim & Professor Emeritus Khoo
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