Tuesday, December 18, 2007

After the people protested - then "so-called leaders" speak out....(LOL)

They were all apparently silent about the plight and suffering of the Malaysian Indians - and now after the whole HINDRAF affair that saw some 30,000 persons involved in the peaceful assembly - we see the MIC, the Miba, the Hindu Sangam and others who had been apparently silent all this while suddenly coming forth and speaking out ....

MIC - aparently also did a report and submitted to the PM

Question - what were these "so-called" representatives of the Malaysian Indians doing for the last 50 YEARS.....

The people want transparency and openess - it is no use for the PM and the government to call and meet "selected NGOs" or groups, many of whom are led by good peace-loving "Yes, Mr PM" kind of personalities who sometimes have long lost contact with the ground as well - to even know and understand the problems faced by the normal person of the street...

The Indian community is again angry now about what ASTRO just did - they pushed this SUN TV channel - which was showing soap operas like Anjali and Kasturi into a new package called "Maharaj package" and is now requiring viewers to pay additional money to see these channels... After watching 100s of episodes of a soap opera to suddenly do this is EVIL and UNJUST. To charge for new channels with new programs is OK but not to charge for old channels with old programs (or new channels with old programs). Make them addicted - then charge more ----very bad ASTRO..and what is the government doing about this..

Miba president: What I told the PM
RK Anand | Dec 18, 07 11:29am

As citizens of Malaysia, Indians have the right to enjoy equal opportunities and must not be treated like third-class citizens.

This was the crux of Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) president P Sivakumar’s hard-hitting speech during the meeting between Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last Friday.

“In the past, only the educated and middle class Indians were unhappy about the difference in treatment. But over the last three years, every Indian in the country is unhappy and angry over the way we are treated,” he said.

Sivakumar told Malaysiakini that at the onset of his speech, he sought permission from Abdullah to speak without fear or favour and to tell the truth.

To this, he said, the premier replied: “Yes, please tell me the truth.”

Following this, Sivakumar continued: “As you (Abdullah) are aware, the communities in Malaysia are affluent and very much matured after 50 years of Independence.”

“The term bumiputera and non-bumiputera literally means ‘son of the soil’ and ‘not son of the soil’ (respectively). That means the Indian community was born where - in the sky?” he said, telling Malaysiakini that Abdullah tittered at this remark.

Sivakumar said in the past, the New Economic Policy (NEP) won the support of all three communities because it was initiated to address the socio-economic position of all races.

“So what is happening?” he asked the premier.

“What 40,000 Indians, you should have given the (police) permit, there would have been more than 300,000 Indians on that day,” he added in reference to the Nov 25 rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

The urban poor

Citing the agriculture sector, Sivakumar said there more than 70 percent Indians were involved in this sector.

“When the policies changed, what measures did the government take to address the thousands of Indians chased and driven out of the estates, with nowhere to go, and no housing left,” he added.

The Miba president said this led to the emergence of urban poor, resulting in serious social problems like gangsterism.

“Indians killing each other for a living, who is to be blamed?” he asked.

“If only a Felda-type (scheme) had been extended to these Indians, with proper nurturing and with land given to develop small holdings and animal husbandry, they would have contributed well to the economy and even cut down our import bill, especially on dairy products. We need not depend so much on foreign workers,” he said.

On the issue of funding, Sivakumar pointed out that MIC recently held seminars by calling Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who promised the Indian community help and support.

“But what happened? Let’s take Johor for example, I personally followed up with the (state) Agriculture Department after Muhyiddin reminded the director to help the Indians.

“Nothing, not a single ringgit was given to the Indians,” said the Johor-based businessman.

“Let’s take other funding agencies, like MIDF, SMIDEC and SME. Yes, all (of them) like to hold seminars, (produce) good paper work. But nothing for the Indians,” he added.

No help extended

As for privatisation, Sivakumar once again cited the situation in Johor.

He said the state government identified 43 projects. “The community was offered only one project, only to be retracted after two weeks. Why?”

Apart from this, the Miba president also reminded the premier that the latter had pumped RM100 million into a fund to help single mothers embark on business ventures.

“I checked with them (the fund), nothing was extended to Indian single mothers in Johor,” he said.

Turning to the construction sector, Sivakumar said: “You (Abdullah) had offered 30,000 jobs, (but) when a group of Indians went to apply for tender, they were told to leave because it was only for bumiputeras.”

“They had to leave the place with shame and tears. Is this fair? Aren’t they citizens (too)?” he added.

Moving to the civil service, Sivakumar quoted Abdullah as saying that Indians make up five percent of the civil service.

“But our population is nine percent, what about the balance four percent? At least, place Indians where help is needed. For example, EPF in JB (Johor Bahru), only one Indian, Socso none, post office none,” he said.

The Miba president also highlighted that the scrap metal business, which involves many Indian businessman, is now under threat of licences not being renewed.

“Who will take care of their families and children, if they cannot perform?” he asked.

Three-percent equity

On the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), Sivakumar noted that it has been three years since Abdullah announced the three percent equity target for Indians.

“What are the steps and measures that you have initiated, please tell us. Even now, it is not too late, we have initiated an independent co-op for the community without any political group’s control. PM can help by funding this.

“I have even given (MIC president) S Samy Vellu a project paper on where Indians can go into - Bio-Tech business as a self-help programme. Why not help us because the Indians need the government’s help. The Indians need opportunities,” he said.

Sivakumar also highlighted the issue of temple demolitions and asked for temples constructed before Merdeka not to be demolished.

On that note, he also urged Abdullah to review the detention of five Hindraf leaders under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and called for them to be charged in court.

He had also called for the release of the 31 people charged for the attempted murder of a policeman in connection with the Hindraf rally. Yesterday, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail withdrew the charge.

Sivakumar told Malaysiakini that he wrapped up his speech by apologising to Abdullah if he had offended the latter with his remarks.

According to him, the premier replied: “Not at all, Thank you for telling me the truth.”

The special meeting between the NGos and the prime minister was called following widespread debates on the allegation raised by Hindraf that Indians in Malaysia are being marginalised.

Special meet: Hindu Sangam bares it all to PM
Dec 17, 07 3:22pm

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was told to focus on the issues affecting the Indian community rather than attacking supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

This was among the points driven home by Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president A Vaithilingam during the special meeting between Indian non-governmental organisations and the premier on Friday.

Vaithilingam also pointed out that the large turnout at the Nov 25 rally organised by Hindraf proved that the Indian community is facing serious problems.

In a statement today, MHS general secretary Dr K Balakrishnan quoted Vaithilingam as saying in his speech during the meet:

“Hindraf is the result of many serious issues including the M Moorthy case and a series of cases where Hindu bodies were buried by Islamic departments as well as the unnecessary cruel demolitions of several Hindu temples.”

He said the huge response to the rally was probably the result of many social problems faced by the Indian community especially when urbanisation brought the community out of rural areas.

Balakrishnan said the MHS president had appealed to the prime minister to consider these issues rather than hitting out at Hindraf supporters.

Reconsider ISA

Apart from this, Vaithilingam also appealed to the prime minister to seriously consider the release of the five Hindraf leaders held under the Internal Security Act and for them to be charged in court.

“Holding them under ISA is improper of a democratic country and will affect the country's image,” he was quoted as saying.

Vaithilingam also urged the prime minister to reconsider the attempted murder charge against the 31 persons held without bail as many of them were merely bystanders at Batu Caves.

"MHS finds it difficult to believe that these people had intentions to murder and is pleased that the prime minister said he would speak to the attorney-general."

The attempted murder charge against the 31 were dropped this morning.

Meanwhile, Balakrishnan said Vaithilingam also called on the prime minister to stop all temple demolitions and to recognise all temples as official temples.

He also urged the prime minister to look into laws which do not protect wives of men who convert to Islam.

He requested that the prime minister asks the attorney-general to consider these issues which have been going on for too long without any proper results.

Non-Malay staff

Vaithilingam also asked for more non-Malay staff to be employed in all government departments, noting that when he entered the Prime Minister's Department to attend the meeting, almost all the staff there were of one race only.

Balakrishnan said Vaithilingam has been approached by numerous Indian-based NGOs to bring up problems of the Indian community with the prime minister.

He agreed to be the coordinator of a memorandum to be submitted to the prime minister for consideration in a few weeks.

It initially started off with 48 Indian-based NGOs but as of today it has risen to more than 70 NGOs, said Balakrishnan.

The MHS president has also expressed hope that all the NGOs cooperate with the prime minister in implementing projects to uplift the community's standard of living.

He has also stressed the need for national unity amongst people of different races and religions, said Balakrishnan.

No comments: