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Saturday, October 15, 2016

An open letter to Dr S Subramaniam

This Sunday MIC is going to have its 70th general assembly. After Dr S Subramaniam consolidated his power by sidelining his predecessor, he is moving to another phase of transition as the leader of the oldest Indian Malaysian political party in the government of Malaysia.
As a member of this community, I would like to know what kind of direction he wants to bring to this political party and what are his plans to elevate this community’s economically and socially.
His predecessors, except for VT Sambanthan, had discussed the same issues in every assembly on citizenship, Tamil schools, and temples without any substantive results. Does Dr Subramaniam want to follow their footsteps or depart from them to show his leadership potential.
Even though some of these issues are still relevant and need to be resolved urgently, it is time for him to move away from these issues and focus on the matters which are much more important to safeguard the position and interest of the Indian Malaysian community in this beloved country.
The involvement of Indian Malaysian youth in crime especially involving secondary school children is alarming. In this country, the Indian Malaysian population is approximately 7 percent but the crime rate is much more than the population rate. What are the root causes for this problem? What kind of measures and initiatives are to be taken by MIC to identify and resolve this issue? What are the plans of MIC for these troubled youth to realign their life?
Young people of any community will determine the future of that community. They are the jewels of any community.
One study indicates that most of the troubled young people from broken families are easily influenced by the gangs. Further, with the peer pressure and the recruitment methods of the organised crime gangs can easily influence these young persons to get involved with gang-related activities, especially on drug pushing.
Even though this problem is a national problem, the number of Indian Malaysian students who are involved with crimes is very high. Therefore it is the onus of the leader of MIC to address this distressing social problem.
The past and present leaders of MIC always proclaim this party is the party which represents the Indian Malaysian community in this country. Whether this claim is relevant or not after the results of last two general elections, is difficult to ascertain. The perception of the Indian Malaysian community on MIC is swaying away due to its past and present blunders, especially the misdeeds done by the leaders during the period from the late 1970s to early 2010.
The exodus of estate workers from rural to urban areas was not properly addressed by MIC, which was entrusted by the government at the time. Most of these estate workers and their families resettled in towns without proper facilities and jobs. Most of these families created squatter colonies and later these colonies became breeding grounds for crimes, especially in drugs and other social illnesses.
The troubled Indian Malaysia youth mostly come from such families that are now resettled in PPR/low-cost flats which then become the hotbed for criminal activities. What are the MIC’s proposals to overcome this problem in order to protect these innocent young persons whose are the future of the Indian community in Malaysia?
The past and present governments were generous enough to fund a lot of allocations towards the Indian Malaysian community. Most of these funds are routed to MIC for community development. What happened to these funds? Where are the current funds received by MIC and how are these funds managed? Is there any transparent mechanism for the usage of these funds? Can these accounts be publicly available for the community to scrutinise?
Losing jobs especially to foreigners
With the current economic slowdown, many Indian Malaysians are losing their jobs especially to the foreigners. In late 1980s and 1990s, I had been seen many Indian Malaysian girls working in factories around Sungai Way. However, they are replaced with many foreigner factory workers.
Most of these Indian Malaysian girls who worked as operators are school leavers without qualifications. Where and what they are doing now? Many of these girls are major contributors for their families’ income.
In addition, most of the jobless young men who have no proper qualifications and skills have become involved with crimes. This because no one wanted to hire them because of a certain stigma which attached with them. Now, without jobs and income this may led them to get involved with some serious social problems. The social problem that the community face now can be rooted from this jobless situation?
What kind of measures will be taken by MIC to create jobs for such people? What are the proposals of MIC to address this issue?
The MIC was formed by learned people. Until the late 1970s many of these educated Indian Malaysians were associated with MIC. But, now this number has significantly dropped. Many of them ae disillusioned and have deserted MIC. Why do these well-educated Indian Malaysians want to disassociate themselves with MIC?
Does MIC no longer has a conducive environment for them to serve the Indian Malaysian community? Do certain groups within MIC discourage educated Indian Malaysians to be part of MIC? Does Dr Subramaniam have any specific plans and strategies to attract and persuade the well-educated Indian Malaysians to rejoin MIC?
In any organisation, political party or nation, the contribution and involvement of knowledgeable people always will be pre cursor for its success. If the community fails to appreciate the contribution of these learned people then the community will suffer miserably in future. This is because they are the thinkers who will shape up the community in future.
In addition the learned people also must have high transparency, integrity and accountability to make sure the growth of the community is sustainable.
In a nutshell, Dr Subramaniam is a wise and good man. He has a big responsibility as the leader of this community. He has a choice to make, whether to become an ordinary leader or a statesman. As a learned person the community has high hope on him.
The position that he holds now, whether as a minister or president of MIC, comes from this community. Therefore he has actual and ostensible duties to serve this community to remodel its future. In the process to complete his tasks sometimes he has to make some sacrifices. That’s inevitable in politics.
The betterment of this community in future is paramount. That was what was done by Sambanthan for this community. Whether Dr Subramaniam will leave a similar legacy to Sambanthan or not, only the future generation will determine that.

R PANEIR SELVAM is chairperson, Association of Legal and Policy Researchers. -Mkini

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