Blueprint for Indians only when votes on the line

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By M Kula Segaran

Yesterday, at the book launch of  “200 Years of Tamil Education in Malaysia” in Dengkil, Prime Minister Najib Razak said the Malaysian Indian Blueprint (MIB) was not a pie in the sky plan but a realistic blueprint for the wellbeing of the Indian community.

However, the MIB looks more an election gimmick as it was launched so close to the next general election. In 2013, Najib had signed a MoU with Hindraf. But it did not take off as promised.

This clearly shows the prime minister only makes empty rhetoric promises as the government is always unable to fulfil them. Therefore, on the issue of MIB, the Indian community must come to realise that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is always announcing plans that it cannot or does not have the real will nor commitment to fulfil.

It is undeniable that the next general election is going to be very challenging for Umno and BN. There is a possibility that BN, which has ruled the nation for decades, will lose federal power as there are signs that a Malay tsunami is going to happen.

The MIB is therefore, a gimmick for the BN to try to win some Indian support. There is no doubt that since with Umno is bound to be rocked by the Malay tsunami, BN will be desperate to try to win the Indian support.

Indian voters will play a deciding role in parliamentary constituencies. About 60 parliamentary seats have over 10% as registered voters. In view of the fragile position of the BN now, every vote counts, more so in the seats where MIC is contesting. Thus, the MIB is meant to entice and sway the Indians to vote for the BN.

I have said many times that Indians have always been a marginalised community, being left out to enjoy the fruits of prosperity throughout the nation’s development. The government had promised to achieve 3% equity participation by 2010.

When year 2010 came, the goalpost/target date was conveniently pushed. Why the sheer lack of commitment to achieve this?

In 1970, there were over 17% Indians in the civil service, now there is less than 5%. The GLCs are dominated by the Malays while the Chinese are strongly represented in the private sector. Indians remain at the margins of both the civil and private sectors.

These undeniable facts help explain why Indians are subject to some unflattering superlatives such having the highest number of gangsters, the highest incidences of alcoholism, and the most number of suicides.

So, unless all these issues affecting the Indian community are unearthed and their shortcomings ascertained, nothing much can be achieved. So far the plans and policies are ad hoc and an eyewash just to shore up support from the Indian community.

Thus, what should be done is to form a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that can be assigned to look into the real issues affecting the Indian community and thereafter, addressing these issues holistically. Why is the government reluctant to have a PSC?

M Kula Segaran is DAP national vice-chairman and Ipoh Barat MP.

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