On the 14th February the deputy prime minister flew into Merlimau with a helicopter to perform the ground breaking ceremony for the SRJK (T) Merlimau which is located in a secondary school compound to a new location which is an estate field.  After 20 years of empty promises, the Minister of education wanted to be more convincing this time during the by election. After the ground breaking the field is vacant with no work in progress. Nobody knows when the actual work will start if ever it will. A few residents have expressed their skepticism about this high profile ground breaking ceremony. ‘If the BN government is genuinely concerned, then it should give the school its land title and gazette the land immediately under the school.” echoed some people.

Tamil schools become important to government only during by elections and that too after 2008 election. The relocation of an existing Tamil school only takes place if the BN government perceives some threat from opposition parties. Before 2008 Indian issues were procrastinated and excuses after excuses given for not handling it. Even for a school, Indian community has to keep begging for 20 years. Thank god there came a by-election. Now we are not sure whether the construction work will continue? The land belongs to the estate and it has to be acquired and gazetted for educational purpose before any work can commence. Hope no UMNO member objects, otherwise no school again! It’s still a long way to go. But MIC state and local leaders to please their political bosses will give excuses for UMNO saying that the relocation was planned long time ago and that the by-election is just a coincidence.

During Tenang by-election Johore asked the state MIC leaders to identify Indian community problems. The reply he got was there is no Indian community problem. Similarly the Malacca MB asked the local MIC leaders to identify Indian community problems. The reply he got was there is no Indian community problem. If at all they have any, it will be to light up the cemetery, Tamil schools or a temple problem. They cannot see the need for more scholarships for Indian students, more educational and business opportunities for Indian teenagers, business opportunities for smaller entrepreneurs and more rights for Malaysians of Indian origin. 54 years of being subservient to UMNO have made them beggars and yes men. They use gangsters and goodies to secure votes for UMNO. UMNO has no respect for Indians because of the way the state and district level MIC leaders placate and pliant to UMNO’s whims and fancies.

A large section of Indian voters in Merlimau are blissfully ignorant about their rights and their children’s future. Their only concern is getting some extra cash handout, goodies and at most welfare help. Intelok is non-issue to many in Merlimau. MIC can please their UMNO bosses by delivering Indian votes for a few hundred Ringgits. That’s the worth of Indian votes! But to get the same one Malay or Chinese vote, UMNO will pour thousands of Ringgits. Indian votes have become politically irrelevant to political analyst. Indian votes are not included in any political discussions. It seems to be a foregone conclusion. Middle class and educated Indians need to wake up and do something if they are concerned about remaining economically and politically relevant.

Senator Dr S.Ramakrishnan



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