Monday, October 7, 2013

Indian poor need remedial help big time

Media statement by M. Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on 6th October 2013
Indian poor need remedial help big time

While debating the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) in Parliament earlier this week, Home Minister Zahid Hamidi let drop an astounding statistic. He said figures compiled by the police revealed that there were 3,000-plus gangsters who are Malays, 9,000-plus Chinese thugs and 29,000-plus Indian hoodlums.

I immediately stood up and pressed the minister for clarification. My skepticism stemmed from the figures with respect to Indian gangsters.

The percentage of Indians in the overall Malaysian population of 28.3 million hovers just above the 7% mark which translates into about 1.8 million people. From that angle, it beggars belief that Indians constitute 60% of the gangsters, according to the figures disclosed by Zahid in Parliament.

It is true that at one time, at the detention centre in Simpang Renggang, Indian detainees comprised 60% of the inmates. Despite that statistic, the figure of 29,000-plus Indian thugs in an overall population of 41,000-plus hoodlums smacks of hyperbolic exaggeration.

I suggest a more constructive starting point for Zahid. He could do well to refer to a paper on Indian gangsterism compiled by a senior police officer a couple of years back.

In it , Amar Singh who was until recently deputy CPO of Kuala Lumpur, offered reasons for the high percentage of Indian youths in criminal activities.

Amar suggested that the fragmentation of estates where plantation agriculture was once practised on a large scale and their takeover for industrial and residential purposes resulted in Indian youths being dispersed to the nearby towns and cities where their poor educational qualifications and virtual absence of technical skills meant they formed the unemployed or under-employed of the semi- and urban population.

This condition was rife for the youths sliding into drug-taking and drug-dealing activity, membership in extortion rackets, illegal gambling, prostitution and other forms of vice.

The only way to prevent more Indian youths from traveling the same path towards self-destruction is to provide them with better educational and technical training opportunities, small loans to start businesses, and for those qualified heightened employment in the civil service.          

In 1970, there were over 17% Indians in the civil service. Now there are less than 5% Indians in the service. The GLCs are dominated by the Malays while the Chinese are strongly represented in the private sector. Indians inhabit the margins of both the civil and private sectors.

These undeniable facts help explain the accumulation by the race of some unflattering superlatives such as that Indians compose the highest percentage of gangsters, highest incidence of alcoholism, and most number of suicides.

I suggest the immediate setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee composed of government and the opposition MPs to come up with solutions to this problem and the mechanism by which to monitor the implementation of measures for poverty alleviation among Indians.

The Indian poor require government help to drain the pool of hopelessness on which Indian gangs thrive and poverty breeds.

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