Hampers and feel good speeches do not impress Indians anymore
PM visited 4 open houses on Deepavali day 2011. This is quite a feat knowing the busy schedule of a prime minister before rushing to Perth, Australia to attend CHOGM. No other prime minister have bend this much backward to warm up with the Indian community. The deputy prime minister, who is not known to foster warm relations with other non-Malay communities like the prime minister, too has joined in the fray to visit the Deepavali open houses. The mass media carried news on these visits extensively to drive the point home that the government really cares and concerned about the Indian community. This year’s MIC open house was held in the Batu Caves temple compound, something very different from previous years. Looks like MIC too transforming along with the PM’s initiative. Having Deepavali celebration in Batu Caves compound is alright provided the food they served was vegetarian, as this is a temple complex, therefore the visitors must adhere to the norms and sanctity of temple visits.
I hope the prime minister doesn’t stop the fostering of closer ties to Indian community with Deepavali visits, feel good speeches and hamper handout only. All these gestures do not help the struggling and alienated Indian community. They need job opportunities, educational opportunities in local universities, scholarships, small business opportunities and loan facilities. These supports were denied for past 40 years since the launch of New Economic policy in 1971. They were evicted and displaced in ghettos and slums around major towns across west Malaysia. Today the Indian community is infested with low income unable to meet the high cost of living, high school dropouts, gangsters, citizenship problem and fewer business opportunities. The government has turned dump and deaf towards Indian community problems. Indian community problems were outsourced to MIC which is not in any position to help. The anger and frustration of Indian community manifested as Hindraf and they deserted BN in 2008 election. This has become a permanent change in the thinking of Malaysian Indians and not one off as the BN thinks.
Since March 2008 the government is making all effort to comfort the gullible and impoverished Indian community. But the BN government has not addressed the real issue that affects the Indian community. There is no change in policy to solve the Indians community’s problems. The prime minister is going around giving cash handout to certain elite organizations like Indian chamber of commerce, Malayalee association, Telegu association, Divine life society, temple of Fine arts etc. But the Indians in ghettos and slums did not receive any help. These groups only gets hampers, food during festivals and lots and lots of feel good speeches. After 40 years of alienation, the situation is very depressing and hopeless for this ghetto community. They now need affirmative action like the bumiputras to uplift themselves. Corruption, nepotism and presence of millions of foreign workers have driven the ghetto and slum community to become hard poor. But the government statistic will not show their poverty. The bureaucracy is simply incompetent and racial to be inclusive of the economic reality of Malaysian Indians.
The BN government hikes up the number of Indians present to create psychological feeling that Indians are returning back. The actual situation is that MIC gives RM50, T-shirts and recycles the same people to make up the numbers to impress PM. Even people owning cars go and receive hampers. MIC is all out supporting UMNO to make Indians a hamper community. MIC could have used this warming up of UMNO to get a better deal for Indians. But knowing MIC which has become subservient to UMNO is incapable to rise up to the expectations of Malaysian Indians. They are a parasite living off the poverty of Indian community. MIC has to be wiped off for Malaysian Indians to stand up demanding their right as citizen of this country.
All impoverished communities must be uplifted in the interest of this country. They can be turned into much needed human resources. Unfortunately the BN government’s short sighted and self centered policies are hindering the economic growth but enriching the UMNOPUTRAS. There is a sizeable number of Malays too in similar situation as Indians in Malaysia. Arise and awake Malaysian Indians.
Senator S. Ramakrishnan
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