GEORGE TOWN: MIC is an Umno puppet without any political conviction, said DAP state assemblyman A Tanasekharan.
The Bagan Dalam rep said that because of this, MIC would never implement any policies to upgrade the living standards of the Indian community.
He claimed that MIC had always taken Indians’ hard-earned cash to carry out its projects that failed to benefit the community.
Tanasekharan noted that the Maika Holdings and MIED scandals were perfect examples of MIC swindling poor Indians.
He also remarked that MIC built AIMST University in Kedah from contributions of Indians from all walks of life.
“But how many poor Indians can afford to study at AIMST University? How many Indians have benefitted from Maika Holdings and MIED?” he asked.
Comparatively, he said Pakatan Rakyat state governments managed to address various Indian issues in a short span of three years.
He said under Pakatan, for the first time in the country’s history, Indian elected representatives were appointed as a deputy chief minister (Penang) and legislative assembly speaker (Perak).
Currently, he said Penang, Perak, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan had a record high of Indian representatives in state legislative assemblies.
Aid for schools and temples
Pertaining to Tamil schools in Penang, Tanasekharan said all 28 schools had been receiving annual state allocations to upgrade their facilities.
In Selangor, he said the PKR-helmed state government had been allotting funds for similar projects.
“Today parents can safely send their children to Tamil schools without the fear of seeing their children studying under trees, unlike during Barisan Nasional days,” he added.
He claimed that the Pakatan state government had provided land valued at RM4.5 million for the Azad Tamil School in the Waterfall area.
For years, he said, the Tamil school was located under the basement of the Indian Association building in Jalan Bagan Jermal.
“A new school has been built and is operational because of the sheer determination of Pakatan leaders to upgrade Tamil schooling standards,” he added.
Under Pakatan, Thanasekaran said no Hindu temple had been demolished in Penang, while many temples sitting on state lands were granted temporary occupation licence (TOL).
He recalled that under the previous Barisan Nasional government, a Hindu temple in Butterworth, which was located on its own land, was forcibly removed and placed in a graveyard in Jalan Siram under the purview of the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB).
“The reason for the temple’s removal was that it was causing nuisance to an Umno member, who was staying nearby. This is how Indians were treated under the BN government… sheer arrogance of Umno leaders,” he said.
Furthermore, he said since Pakatan took over Penang, absolute poverty among Indians there had been abolished, and poor and deserving Indians were getting improved monthly contributions from the welfare department.
He also said PHEB was receiving an annual state grant of RM1 million to provide financial assistance to needy Indian students pursuing higher education and assist the welfare needs of deserving Indians.
He said many Indians had been issued licences by local councils to operate as petty traders while chances of employment for Indians had increased in state-based government-linked companies (GLCs)
He claimed that all these developments were virtually unthinkable during the previous BN government because the Indians had been “betrayed by their so called custodian, MIC.”