‘One-off’ matriculation declaration a blow to Indian community

Pakatan Harapan (PH) swept into power largely on its promise of changes and on the premise that the BN government had failed the rakyat.

The rakyat fell for this and the Indian community threw its support behind PH with the hope that more change and transformation will take place for the betterment of the community.

But after a year, it’s now clear that the Indians are slowly losing everything that they managed to get from the previous government.

All the concessions for Indians were through MIC, following negotiations with the relevant parties.

So what has PH done so far?

Changing Sedic (Socioeconomic Development of the Indian Community) to Mitra (Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit) is mere symbolism, not substance.

MIC delivered 2,200 matriculation seats for Indian students last year.

But today, the education ministry says that the 2,200 places for Indian students in the matriculation programme last year was a “one-off” initiative. MIC’s efforts have been negated.

The current four Indian leaders in the Cabinet have failed the community.

MIC was on track with its transformation road map but with PH, Indians have now regressed.

One key milestone of this road map was to route high achievers to local universities through the matriculation programme. This was a privilege for the Bumiputeras but MIC was able to negotiate a quota for bright Indian students.

Former MIC president Dr S Subramaniam was able to negotiate and secure the 2,200 seats.

The current president, SA Vigneswaran, then the vice-president in early 2018 before GE14, had proposed that we should target 2,500 places for the Indian community for the coming year.

This was a key component of MIC’s transformational roadmap for the community. It was real, not hype.

Today, after all the hype by Indian PH leaders of “great days ahead” promised prior to the GE14, they have failed miserably to deliver.

Losing a privilege that the community already had is very worrisome.

It is no more partisan politics, but a real concern to the perception of Indian aspirations by the PH policymakers.

We are being relegated and pushed back. Even with four ministers in the Cabinet, the voices of Indians are being silenced.

Even after a visible outcry from the rakyat, there is no positive news on correcting the policy flaw after the last Cabinet meeting.

This is indeed worrisome and MIC will continue to raise this issue till the 2,200 seats are given back to the community.

RS Maniam is a member of MIC’s central working committee.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.