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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Blueprint for Indians only when votes on the line

Lawmaker says Indian community must not forget how BN government had previously announced plans that it cannot or does not have real will and commitment to fulfill.

By M Kula Segaran
Yesterday, at the launching of the “200 Years of Tamil Education in Malaysia” book 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 was able to announce empty rhetoric promises that his government would not be able to fulfil. Therefore, on the issue of MIB, the Indian community must not forget that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is capable of announcing plans that it cannot or does not have the real will and 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 for BN. There is no doubt that with Umno being 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 to butter and sway the Indians to vote for the BN.
I have said many times that the Indians citizens are the most left out in the progress of the nation. The government promised to achieve 3% equity participation by 2010.
When year 2010 came the goalpost/target date was conveniently postponed. 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 inhabit the margins of both the civil and private sectors.
These undeniable facts help explain the accumulation by the race of some unflattering superlatives such as that Indians consists of the highest percentage of gangsters,have the highest incidence of alcoholism, and most number of suicides.
So, unless all issues affecting the community are unearthed and the shortcomings with the Indian society are 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 have been done is to form a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that could be assigned to look to the real issues affecting the Indian community and thereafter, addressing the issue holistically. Why is the government reluctant to have a PSC?
M Kula Segaran is DAP national vice-chairman and Ipoh Barat MP. -FMT

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