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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Marginalised, the Indian community needs more attention


Arriving on one of my WhatsApp chat groups yesterday was a picture of four Indian youths, all handcuffed, yet still smiling.
Unverified, we were told that these four young men were involved in the broad daylight, cold-blooded shooting incident in Setapak on Wednesday where a moneychanger was shot dead after 20 gunshots were aimed at his car.
It turned out to be a hoax. The four young men were probably arrested for an unrelated crime.
What baffles me is that their handcuffs tell a different story from the smiles on their faces.
Unless of course they are victims of political persecution, there is apparently not a tinge of shame on their faces even when they were photographed with their handcuffs on.
This is indeed very troubling for a nation like ours that is supposed to become a developed nation by 2020, a matter of just three-and-a-half years from now.
A father on the group said that his daughter was posted as a trainee doctor for a week with the mortuary department at the Klang Hospital. “Dead bodies were brought in every day,” he claimed. “Guess what? They are all Indian youths killed by rival gangs. Tied with wire, throat slashed, about four bodies every day. That is a lot of killing...”
What has gone wrong?
My question to the Barisan Nasional government is, What has our education system produced after 58 years of Independence? Who is to be blamed when these young people grew up feeling marginalised and lost?
During the early years after we came together as a nation, we were among the top in this part of the world, and Malaysians were among the most educated lot in the entire Commonwealth. Malaysia was top in badminton and football, with names such as Arumugam being held in high esteem by Malaysians of all races.
Foreign missionaries have given many years of their lives coming to Malaya to set up mission schools, often funded by generous donations from their supporters back home. Some of the beneficiaries of these schools are none other than our senior politicians.
We had good schools such as St John’s Institutions, Methodist Boys’ and Girls’ Schools, Catholic High School, La Salle, Convent Bukit Nanas... and the list goes on to include others like Bukit Bintang Boys’ School, Bukit Bintang Girls’ School, Penang Free School and King George V.
But, where is our education heading to? Why are children, including those from Malay and Indian families, enrolling in Chinese primary schools rather than the national schools?
Apart from learning an additional language, most of us as parents are concerned about the quality of our national schools. This has created a need for more private schools and home schooling centres.
Where are we heading to?
Why are we continuing to produce young people who do not have better things to do than to be involved in triad societies?
Are the Indian children in rural towns not the most marginalised young ones who have become who they are today?
Just visit any orphanage and you can see how many of them are from underprivileged families. If not for these orphanages, many of them would have ended up being street kids.
The Hindraf movement had a point that the Indian community has been largely neglected by the ruling party, but since its massive street demonstration in 2007, they have become quiet. The burden is now on the charitable bodies to save as many of these young children from the triads.
I would not be surprised that Malaysian-born Indians are among those with the highest number of stateless children. Without an identity card, they lose out a lot on their education and work opportunities.
Why has the BN government done nothing to deal with this problem, despite the issue being highlighted by rights groups and the opposition?

Even though the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has been a component party in BN for the entire period, what has it done to deal with the plight of the underprivileged Indian community?
It appears to me that the formula in the ruling party is not working out the way we always thought it has been, especially when Umno dominates the entire coalition with its own agenda to the point that we now have what former US ambassador to Malaysia, John Malott calls, ‘Mugabe-land’.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008. - Mkini

1 comment:

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