DAP vice-chairperson M Kulasegaran has called for a parliamentary select committee (PSC) to be created to address the disproportionately large number of Indian Malaysians involved in gangsterism.

"The Indian poor require government help to drain the pool of hopelessness on which Indian gangs thrive and poverty breeds," he said in a statement.

He was responding to remarks by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in Parliament, claiming that Indians make up about 29,000 of gangsters, followed by 9,000 Chinese and 3,000 Malays.

NONE"The percentage of Indians in the overall Malaysian population of 28.3 million hovers just above the seven percent mark which translates into about 1.8 million people,” noted Kulasegaran.

"From that angle, it beggars belief that Indians constitute 60 percent of the gangsters, according to the figures disclosed by Zahid.”

He called on the home minister to refer to a recent paper by the Kuala Lumpur police on the reason behind the high rate of gangsters among the Indian Malaysian community.

The paper, he said, pointed out that the acquisition of plantation land for industrial and residential purposes had displaced Indian youths to nearby towns and cities.

Their lack of education and technical skills meant that they could not be employed and they subsequently became involved in criminal activities.

"These undeniable facts help explain the accumulation of some unflattering superlatives such as that ‘Indians (comprise) the highest percentage of gangsters, (and have the) highest incidence of alcoholism and most number of suicides’," he said.

Kulasegaran said a PSC would be able to come up with solutions and mechanisms to monitor the implementation of measures to alleviate poverty in the community.

"The only way to prevent more Indian youths from travelling 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 (to obtain) heightened employment in the civil service," he added.