Call on the Prime Minister to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to look into the problems and sufferings of the Indian committee and to come up with effective solutions.
When answering my oral question in the Parliament on Thursday on the issue of social problems faced by the Indian community, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Shahidan Kassim has said that the government is taking steps to resolve the problems in stages.
I then raised in my supplementary question that what is needed is long term policy and that the government’s ad hoc approach has failed as evidenced by the following facts:-
1. In last Budget, the government allocated RM 50 million for the purpose of retraining the Indian community but so far only 472 have been retrained
2. In 2000, the government said it would increase Indian equity participation from 1.1% to 3 % in 2010, now it has changed the target year to 2020
3. Before the 13th general election, the government signed MOU with Hindraf and committed to increase matriculation college places for the Indian community to 2100. But in 2013, only 800 Indians were admitted into Matriculation colleges.
4. Before the 13 th general election, the government promised that it would build 7 new Tamil schools but till today, not a single one has been built.
5. In the seventies, Indian percentage in the civil service was 17%, today it stands at 4.8%.
6. Indian community has the highest number of gangsters, single mothers, school dropout and unemployed
I further said that Indians are not beggars but children of the soil and want a holistic approach to be given to the community. I also said that a Parliamentary Select Committee should be set up to identify, study the problems faced by the Indian community and propose solutions.
Shahidan in his reply said that although the Indian population is only 7.2% of the national population, the number of Indian doctors constitutes more than 30% and there are many Indian lawyers too.
He also said that even for academic achievers, the Indians ratio is high and is just that there is a big gap between those who are at top of achievers and those who are dropouts.
He said that instead of critcising the government over its policies for the Indian community, those at the top should help those who are at the bottom.
I am not surprised that Shahidan’s reply has attracted much criticism, even from MIC politicians as his reply is totally unfair and irresponsible.
As a Minister, he should provide responsible answers and outline steps to be taken to effectively resolve the problems faced by the Indian community which has long been marginalized.
Let me ask Shahidan 3 questions:-
Firstly, will he give the similar answer if the question involves the Malay community?
Secondly, is he not aware that many Indian doctors and lawyers have graduated without any financial help from the government?
Thirdly, does he not agree that the Indians are children of the soil and are therefore entitled to equal treatment by the government?
I repeat my call that the Prime Minister should set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to look into the problems and sufferings of the Indian community and to come up with effective solutions.