News Source : Malaysiakini.com
DAP MP for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran has described the call to down-and-out Indian Malaysians in urban areas to move back to estates to escape the poverty trap as "preferring a placebo to a panacea" in addressing the community's problems.
The proposal aired last week by MIC president G Palanivel that Indians caught in the poverty trap in urban areas stand a better chance of survival in the estates has drawn flak from several quarters.
In comments made to Malaysiakiniyesterday, Kulasegaran (left) said:
"This move back to the estates is an ad-hoc solution to a problem that requires in-depth study and a long-term plan of action.
"It's like preferring a placebo to a panacea for a problem with roots that lie far deeper than ad-hoc solutions can affect."
Kulasegaran said he would propose in his speech in response to the royal address in Parliament that a select committee be formed to study the causes of poverty in the overall population, in which poverty among Indians is specially embedded.
"When it is established why crime and school dropout rates and incidence of single parentage are high among Indian Malaysians, we can begin to find the solutions to the problems of the community," he said.
Indian Malaysians trapped in the more dire instances of poverty need a programme of affirmative action to lift them out of their condition.
"This programme has to be sharp and focused, with a decided time limit for the achievement of results," Kulasegaran elaborated.
"The community is not asking for a helping hand of lengthy duration; no, it needs a lift up the ladder of economic mobility from its current depressed level of existence," he said.
Long-term solution needed
Kulasegaran said Palanivel's (right) back-to-the-estates plan smacked of short-term solutions ito tackle the urgency of the problem of Indian poverty.
"The proposal looks like a solution of sorts but, actually, it defers the problem rather than defuses it," he commented.
"What the community needs is a long-term solution that addresses issues like access to education, scholarships, loans for businesses, and employment intake into government service," said Kulasegaran.
"These aspects of a long-term solution are best proposed in the context of a study by a parliamentary select committee that can then be tabled and debated," he suggested.
He warned that continued delay in addressing the problem sof Indian Malaysians would render them intractable.
Kulasegaran said the government's plan to double per capita income to RM50,000, from its current level of about RM26,000, by the year 2020 would not be realised if large swaths of the Indian Malaysian community remained mired in endemic poverty.