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M. Manogaran entry into the DAP has not only reaffirmed DAPís Malaysian First but has sent a strong message that the Indian community will not be politically invisible anymore
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Tamil educationist and lawyer Sdr M. Manogaranís entry into DAP has not only reaffirmed DAPís Malaysian First but more importantly represents the new belief that only strong support for the DAP can the cycle of economic and political marginalization be broken with hope and dignity restored in the Indian community. Malaysian Indians are one of the greatest losers of failed economic policies such as the New Economic Policy because we are politically small as to become almost invisible.
The NEPís racial bias has made Indians the forgotten poor in Malaysia. But despite such poverty the Indian leaders in the MIC has become richer. So wealthy are MIC leaders that instead of spending their wealth on helping the Indian poor, MIC President Datuk Samy Vellu has donated RM 1 million to the Sungei Siput UMNO Building Fund. Is UMNO so poor as to need donations from MIC?
DAP wants to tell Samy and MIC that the Indian poor needs the money more than UMNO. Such actions only prove that MIC is fighting not for the Indians but for UMNO as Samy famously said after narrowly defeating Samy in the 1990 general elections, ďHati saya UMNO, daging saya UMNO dan darah saya pun UMNO!Ē.
This reality on the ground is not reflected in the Ninth Malaysian Plan where the mean monthly household income of Indians is RM 3,456. How many Indians household earns RM 3,456 a month. The fact that the Indian community is becoming poorer whilst MIC leaders that represent the community richer demonstrates how desperate the situation has turned for the Indian community. Even the normal reliance of education as a tool to uplift our economic position is limited.
Admission into public universities of Indian students hover around 5%, way below the Indian population of 7.5%, Indian equity control has dropped from 1.5% under he 8th Malaysian Plan to 1.2% under the 9th Malaysian Plan. So desperate is the situation until some say that the Indians only excel in unhealthy activities as evidenced by the rising Indian population in prisons which is triple the Indian population in the country. The problems facing Tamil education is more acute.
134 Tamil primary schools were closed down during the last 36 years or a reduction of 20% from 657 in 1970 to 523 schools in 2006. However during the same period, the number of students in Tamil primary schools increased by 21% or 20,864 students from 79,278 in 1970 to 100,142 students in 2006. Again only in Malaysia would the number of students increase by 21% but the number of schools reduce by 20%.
Nowhere in the world but in Malaysia would the government reduce the number of Chinese primary schools by 4.3% from 1,346 schools in 1970 to 1,288 schools in 2006 when the number of students increase by 45%
Nowhere in the world but in Malaysia would the government reduce the number of Chinese primary schools by 4.3% from 1,346 schools in 1970 to 1,288 schools in 2006 when the number of students increased by 45% during the same period. Whilst MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting continues to insist that MCA will stand firm on building more Chinese primary schools, these empty promises sound hollow compared to MCAís achievements.
Based on the needs, Dong Jiao Zong estimated 134 new primary Chinese schools and 836 acres of land are required. Neither MCA nor Gerakan has come out openly in support of building 134 new Chinese primary schools to prove that Chinese education in Malaysia is not marginalized.
From 1970 to 2006, it is estimated that the country saw an increase of 2,900 national schools whilst 58 Chinese schools and 134 Tamil schools were closed down. 58 Chinese primary schools were closed down during the last 36 years or a reduction of 4.3% from 1,346 in 1970 to 1288 schools in 2006. However during the same period, the number of students in Chinese primary schools increased by 45% or 196,443 students from 439,681 in 1970 to 636,124 students in 2006.
This is ridiculous and blatant discrimination or marginalization of Chinese primary schools. Just like for Tamil schools, nowhere in the world except Malaysia, would the number of schools reduce by 4.3% even though the number of students have increased by 45%.
Justice and fairness requires Chinese and Tamil primary schools to receive RM 1,025.5 million (21.2%) and RM 154.8 million (3.2%) respectively based on student population. However (as the table underneath shows), Chinese primary schools only receive RM 174.3 million or 3.6% ( a shortfall of RM 851.2 million) and Tamil primary schools RM 64.8 million or 1.3% of the total development allocation for primary schools under the 9MP.
How discriminatory the treatment towards Tamil primary schools can be shown when the development allocation works out to only RM 10.95 per Tamil primary school student per month as compared to RM 33.30 per student per month for each national primary school student? Or only RM 4.50 per student per month for a Chinese primary school. The Indian and Chinese community can not be faulted for asking why should a national primary school student receive more than 3 times and 7 times more in development funds than a Tamil and Chinese primary school student respectively if everyone is a Malaysian citizen enjoying equal political rights.
Total number of primary school students in 2005 and development allocation under the Ninth Malaysian Plan
Apart from discrimination in the allocation of funds, the government has also imposed teaching in English in Science and mathematics to improve the standard of English. More focus should be put on teaching English as a subject instead of Such short-sighted measures have caused great dislocation in teaching and an alarming dropout rate even in national primary schools estimated at 500,000 pupils. For this reason, DAP reiterates our call for the teaching of English and Maths to revert to mother-tongue language.
The principal reason behind such discrimination against mother-tongue education is the intention to strengthen national primary schools. This ignores the reason of Islamisation and declining standards of education behind the rejection of non-Malay parents of national primary schools as the choice for their children. Without addressing these concerns the government is intent in achieving by 2010, to expand the student proportion of the Chinese population in national primary schools from 6% to 12% whilst for Indians from 43.2% to 60%.
From 1999 to 2006 the number of new Chinese primary schools increased by 5. DJZ estimated that based on approval of an extra 5 new Chinese primary schools for every 7 years, it will take 188 years, or 47 elections, before the 134 schools will be completed.
For the 9MP not to give fair allocation to Chinese and Tamil primary schools is unacceptable and irresponsible, especially when the government sees fit to spend US$900 million or RM 3.42 billion to buy 18 Sukhoi Russian fighter jets but would not approve 10% of that sum or RM 342 million to build new primary Chinese and Tamil schools.
DAP is proud to welcome Sdr Manogaran together with many his friends, including human rights lawyer Sdr N. Surendran, entry into the DAP. Sdr Manogaran has a long and distinguished record of service to both the Indian community and Tamil primary schools.
They have realized that only by participating in the political process in the coming general elections through the tested and dependable vehicle of the DAP that has never betrayed our principles, can they push forward their agenda of promoting the rights of Tamil education and the interests of the Indian community
BN has forgotten and forsaken Malaysian Indians. Only through the DAP can we remind them of its responsibilities and duties to correcting the wrongs done to us. Sdr Manogaran and his friends are the first wave of Malaysian Indians joining the DAP who want to loudly tell BN and MIC that we will not be politically invisible anymore.
We want to tell Malaysian Indians the same message as we have been telling all Malaysians. We are deserving of your support because during the past 41 years, DAP has taken a consistent and unyielding stand for the common rights of all Malaysians.
Let us work together with all Malaysians as Malaysian First to achieve political equality, socio-economic justice and provision of equal opportunities to create economic wealth that must be shared by all.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP