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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

There is real bias against Indians, says Ramasamy


P Ramasamy says Indians don’t pass the ‘ethnic test’.

PETALING JAYA: The biggest challenge hindering the Indian community from breaking out of the low-income trap is not a lack of skills but ethnic discrimination, according to DAP leader P Ramasamy.

Commenting on the views of some academics, Ramasamy acknowledged that the community had insufficient skill levels and needed to build networks with different ethnic groups to escape the low-income trap.

However, the Penang deputy chief minister and DAP central executive committee member said the core issue that the Indian community faced was racial discrimination.

“It is not that Indians have no skills or qualifications … They don’t pass the ‘ethnic test’. There is less discrimination in the private sector, but there is discrimination nonetheless.

“The fact that hundreds and thousands have risen in their careers suggests that under opportune circumstances they can rise to the occasion. But the bulk of the Indian community are members of the working class.

“Upward mobility is denied not so much due to their lack of skills or the absence of broad networks, but because they belong to the ‘wrong’ ethnic group,” he said in a Facebook post today.

Ramasamy was commenting on Sunway University’s Mahendran S Nair saying that Indians needed to participate in educational programmes to upskill, with close to 65% of the community having skills that were becoming out of date.

Mahendran also said career counselling was important, adding that the community needed to start “plugging into the system” and maximising returns from the already available resources.

Ramasamy said any analysis on the community’s socioeconomic predicament needed to go beyond “simplistic theories” that do not reflect the reality on the ground.

He said it was pointless to talk about Indians missing out on opportunities due to a lack of skills or networking when the nation’s political and economic systems were driven by race and religion that favours a particular ethnic group.

“Years of ethnic discrimination have reduced the confidence and dignity of Indians in the country. Many shy away from employment in the public sector, knowing very well they would have no chance of even being called for interviews.

“Yes, skilling and re-skilling are important to escape the low-income trap, but how do you remove the obstacle of ethnic discrimination?” - FMT

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