At the Thaipusam celebrations held at Batu Caves this year, the Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib told the Indian community to trust him and the government.
“The government has never gone back on their word. If I promise something, the government will surely do it. If you help me, I help you and if you trust me I trust you, Nambike (trust in me)," Najib assured the Indian community.
When I heard that Najib had used the term Nambike, I had thought that he meant to tell a Tembikai joke but mispronounced it as Nambike!
It is certainly a joke that the leader of a coalition that has ruled for decades and neglected the Indian community for so long to ask trust from the community.
Najib himself has been the nation’s Prime Minister for more than 3 years, has he really delivered?
How much has he done for the Indian community? Has he addressed or resolved the long standing and key issued faced by the community?
Has he really understood the expectations and problems of the Indian community?
What or how much has he done on the issues faced by the Indian community, such as education, housing, employment and income generation opportunities.
Is the government unaware of the continued problems faced by the Indian community: the lowest life expectancy, highest school dropout rate, highest incidences of alcoholism and drug addiction, highest number of prisoners in proportion to population and highest suicide rates?
BN has lately gone on aggressive campaign on the theme” Janji Di Tepati. But till today, BN has not been sincere and effective in uplifting the economic status of the Indian community and the earlier promise to bring 3 % equity target has been postponed from 2010 to 2020.
So how can the Indian community believe and trust the BN government?
Early this year, the government has also promised to build 6 new Tamil schools. But when will it deliver on this promise?
When I posed a question in the Parliament, the government could not give details like cost involved to build the schools and when the schools would be completed.
From sources we are given to understand, when the Prime Minister announced the proposal to build 6 new Tamil schools, the Education Ministry was not in the know and subsequently the Education Minister was not cooperative and not agreeable to this proposal.
Educational opportunity is the most basic thing that a government must be able to provide.
There is no reason whatsoever that can justify the delay in resolving the shortage of Tamil schools.
Any further delay only confirms the insincerity and ineffectiveness of the BN government in addressing the problems faced by the Indian community.
Local Sitiawan issue- DIA Indian Heritage Land
The Dindings Indian Association (DIA) land in Sitiawan is no ordinary land. It was bought by the local Indian community in early last century. Monies collected from rubber tappers and the like was the primary source used to finance the purchase this land. On the said land a National school has been built and inoperative for over 60 years.
Some 10 years ago, the DIA Committee suddenly wanted to develop the said land and entered into a joint venture with a developer on lop sided terms. It was a lose lose deal for the DIA and the local Indian community. The Local community took issue on this and finally the issue of redeveloping the said land was aborted.
Two years ago, the Government through the Ministry of Education gave notice to acquire a substantial part of the land for expanding the existing National school. The local community took objections on the proposed move.
The whole argument to acquire this heritage land for the expansion of the National school was ill conceived for the following reasons:
1) the school is in the centre of the town and its expansion will cause traffic jam.
2) just about 1km from this school, there is over 1000 acre of land belonging to oil plant giant Sime Darby which could be easily acquired to build a new school
3) so many Tamil schools around Sitiawan are suffering from shortage of land for expansion of their schools yet the government wanted to acquire this piece Indian heritage land
The Indian community wanted the whole landed area to be declared as a national Indian heritage land and demanded the government to back off.
After much public debate and demonstrations, the Government relented and the whole idea to acquire the said Indian heritage land was aborted.
People power triumphed and the Indian community should be congratulated for having championed the survival of this precious Indian heritage land.
It is only right that the Indian community must have a strong and legitimate say on how to manage and utilise this priceless land. Let it be reminded that whatever is done in terms of redeveloping this land , the ultimate beneficiaries should at all times be the local Indians only and nobody else.
The government’s continued failure to resolve the many and long standing Indian issues is sufficient ground for the Indian voters to conclude that despite having lost substantial Indian support in the 2008 general election, BN has not learned its lessons.
Hence, come the next general election, the Indian voters must teach the BN government a bigger lesson!
The other speakers of the day were 1) Prof Ramasamy, 2) YB A.Sivanesan 3) YB Gunasegaran (NS) 4) Kamachee(Pahang) 5) Ganapathy Rao 6) Dr. Shanmugam(KeAdilan) . The Master of Cermony was Mr. Sivan - Secretary of Kg. Bintang branch, Sitiawan