Selangor exco Dr Xavier Jeyakumar says how can a few Indians in top positions solve the community's problems?
PETALING JAYA: Having Indians as directors of state government-linked companies (GLCs) does not solve the community’s problems, says Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, the Selangor executive councillor in charge of Indian affairs.
“How would placing Indians in top positions alone help the community, who are mostly from the low-income group?” asked Jeyakumar, who was responding to a criticism by an MIC leader.
What the community requires, he added, was better access to educational facilities, better social safety net and skills training opportunities which the state government was offering.
Yesterday, MIC central working committee member KP Samy criticised Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government, claiming it had neglected the Indian community despite riding on the community’s support in the 2008 general election.
Samy claimed that no Indians were appointed to top positions in the state GLCs and Kumpulan Semesta, a state-owned sand-mining company, only employed one Indian staff as a driver.
The MIC was also upset that the state government has appointed a corporate figure as director of the Selangor public library after the former director retired.
“Why didn’t the state government promote the deputy director, an Indian woman, to that post? She has worked in the library for 30 years,” said Samy.
Jeyakumar, who is also Seri Andalas assemblyman, said that the Selangor state government had introduced various grassroots programme in the state to help the Indian community.
“Since taking over the state, we have allocated about RM16 million for Tamil schools over the past four years, and the funds are directly channelled to its Parent-Teacher Associations.
Bus subsidies He also said that the state government was spending about RM2 million to provide skills training programmes under “intense Selangor programme” for all school drop-outs.
“And we recruit about 100 Indian youths for the programme annually. Did the previous Barisan Nasional state government conduct such programmes for the Indians?” asked Jeyakumar.
Citing another example, Jeyakumar said that the state government was spending hundreds of thousands just to provide school bus subsidies for students who come from the low-income group.
“And in my constituency alone, about 100 Indian students are benefiting from this programme,” he said.
The state, Jeyakumar added, had also provided some RM500,000 to assist low-income Selangor people who are in need of medical assistance such as cataract operations and dialysis.
Jeyakumar called on Samy to learn proper management skills rather than indulging in petty politics. “In Pakatan, we strive to promote good governance which would benefit everyone irrespective of their race and religion.
“And that’s why we managed to have a surplus of about RM400 million last year which can be channelled to benefit all people in Selangor,” said Jeyakumar.
Corrupt- and scandal-free
He challenged Samy to name the Indians who were placed in high positions at GLCs such as Sime Darby, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Pos Malaysia.
“And how many Indian directors-general are there in the ministries? Can Samy tell me?” asked Jeyakumar.
Echoing Jeyakumar’s sentiments, Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M Manoharan said the Selangor government was more focused on improving the quality of lives of all in the state.
Instead of looking into racial barriers, Manoharan said it was more important for the state government to be corrupt- and scandal-free.
As for the Indian community, he said three-quarters of his constituents had benefited from the state’s Jom Shopping programme for senior citizens, especially the Indians.
The DAP lawmaker also said the state had provided free tuition classes for all – mostly poor Indian students – in the state and for his area.
On allegations that an Indian women was by-passed to the post of Selangor library director, Manoharan said he was in the dark over the matter as he was under ISA detention then.
“But I feel the government had decided on the best person for the job and the new director is very motivated. I know this because I’m also a director there,” he said.