Friday, July 25, 2014

If BN government is sincere in wanting to help the Indian community, it should implement a progressive Affirmative Action Plan for the upliftment of the Indians

Speech by M. Kula Segaran MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman while speaking at the forum on “Gelang Patah Declaration” at George Town, Penang on 25th July 2014

If BN government is sincere in wanting to help the Indian community, it should implement a progressive Affirmative Action Plan for the upliftment of the Indians


The Indians constitute about 7% of the total population. However, 28 Parliamentary and 78 state seats have over 10% Indians as registered voters. Hence, in these constituencies, the Indians are strength to be reckoned with.

In the last two general elections, the majority of Indians voted for the opposition and helped contribute in the unprecedented victories of the Opposition. There are now more opposition Indian MPs compared to the MIC which has only 4.

The main reason that the Indian voters rejected the BN Government because under the BN’s decades of rule, the Indian community has long been marginalized and thus does not trust the government.

Economically, the Indians are the most backward among the three major races and they cannot compete in the same level field with the other races. In 1957, the Indians had 1.5% equity in the economy but instead of increasing over the years, the equity has now dropped to some 1.1%. 17% of the civil servants were Indians in 1970 but it has dropped to about 4.7% now.

14 years ago, a TIME magazine article has described the Malaysian Indians as a “disgruntled underclass” with many of them feeling like “third-class citizens” in the country and the “real losers” since the introduction of the New Economic Policy in 1970.

The situation has not changed since as MIC and BN have continued to fail the community.  

I said before in 2012:-

 “Today the Indian community has achieved some rather unflattering superlatives in the country amongst all the races: 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.

Indian rubber tappers are denied the opportunities to own their small holding estate, cattle and goat rearers not assisted with barns and stables to house the animals, deteriorating Tamil school infrastructure and amenities, top Indian SPM and STPM scorers failing to get scholarships; the list goes on.

And 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”

On 31st March 2013, the DAP Gelang Patah Declaration (GPD) “A Vision and Strategy for Indian Empowerment” was formally launched .The Declaration is the basis for the DAP continued espousal of the cause of the Malaysians Indians to end their deplorable status as the new underclass in Malaysia.

The Declaration would have uplifted the Indian economic well being if we had won the Federal government and implemented the ideas mentioned in the Declaration. Nevertheless, with limited resources, we have been implementing the GPD in the Penang state.

If the BN government is sincere about wanting to help the Indian community, it should formulate a new, long term affirmative policy incorporating the GPD. It should set up a special agency specially to cater for the Indian needs as what is being done for the Bumiputera group now.

The setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) specially to look into the issues and solutions of the Indians and other minorities is a necessity. The composition of the PSC should comprise MPs both from the Government and the opposition.

Unless something is done to assist the Indians, in no time the Indians will be a lost race for good. It is likely that BN will continue to neglect the Indian community. Hence, it is imperative that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) must succeed in capturing Putrajaya in the next general election.

In this regard, it is crucial that from now till the next general election, the Indian support for PR must be sustained and even further increased.

We must therefore give serious attention to the issue of Indian support for PR after the Teluk Intan by election where there was a slight decline in Indian votes for DAP candidate.

I wish to be honest in stating that from feedbacks obtained, the Indian support for PR in Selangor today is not as strong as in last year’s general election.

There will be at least 3 more years before the general election is due, lets ensure that we can continue to sustain and increase the Indian community’s confidence and support in PR to bring about a new Putrajaya government and a better Malaysia for all.

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