KUALA LUMPUR: An Indian rights group has called for the creation of seven Indian-majority parliamentary seats to ensure the community has a strong voice in Parliament.
At a rally organised by Hindraf 2.0 today, the group’s de facto leader, P Uthayakumar, said they were dissatisfied that “racist and supremacist” policies, which had affected Indians for the past 62 years, were being continued.
Hindraf 2.0 is a different organisation from Hindraf, which was led by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy.
Hindraf 2.0’s rally in Brickfields here was attended by some 100 people.
Uthayakumar cited the citizenship issues faced by the community as one of the policies holding Indians back.
He said there was an estimated 350,000 stateless Indians. While Pakatan Harapan had promised to solve this issue, little progress had been made despite the coalition being in power for a whole year.
“At a stroke of a pen, the home minister can instruct the National Registration Department to resolve all the issues faced by stateless people.”
So far, he said, citing news reports, only 1,841 Indians have received their citizenship since PH took over Putrajaya.
This was less than 1% of those who were without citizenship, he added.
The problem was that the Indian community does not have a strong voice in Parliament and the Indian PH MPs do not have “real power” as their election was dependent on votes from the Malays and Chinese.
“They are at the behest of their Malay and Chinese leaders. So, they cannot really deliver.
“In western countries, the majority speak for the minority. But, in Malaysia, the Malays and Chinese, who are politically and economically powerful, rarely speak up for the Indians.”
He said the proposal to create Indian-majority seats was not new, as countries like India, Iraq and Israel also have constituencies where the ethnic or religious minorities formed the majority.
Uthayakumar said although Hindraf 2.0 wanted to see an end to racial politics, the seven Indian-majority seats are needed as Malays and Chinese do not want to speak on Indian issues, regardless of whether they are in Barisan Nasional or PH.
“We are asking for seats in Padang Serai, Batu Kawan, Ipoh Barat, Kota Raja, Port Dickson, Tebrau and Cameron Highlands.”
If these seats were to be made into Indian-majority parliamentary seats, then the community’s issues can be better fought for in Parliament, he added.
“The MP doesn’t even have to be an Indian. He can be Chinese or Malay, but because he answers to the Indian constituents, he has to speak up on the issues affecting them.”