Crying shame that the largest MIC convention in history and the new PM’s first BN party mass meeting on November 9 sparked a long ugly fight between Samy Vellu and his rivals without any concrete action and financial allocation to lift Malaysian Indians out of their double rut of the new underclass and new criminal class in Malaysia
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The national convention of 10,000 MIC leaders and members in Shah Alam on November 9, 2003 was billed as the largest MIC gathering in history and even more historic, the first Barisan Nasional party mass meeting to be attended by the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his ninth day as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
It inevitably raised high hopes among the Malaysian Indians, whose plight had been highlighted by the title of the recently-censored Astro programme, “The Indian Underclass” – which would not have attracted so much national and international attention if it had been allowed to be aired as advertised – that the new Prime Minister would have good news for the downtrodden Indian community to end their long-standing misery, poverty, squalor and backwardness.
It would have been inconceivable that such a historic MIC meeting could have left the Indian underclass empty-handed, especially as the MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who is now the longest-serving Cabinet Minister after the 24th anniversary of his appointment to the Cabinet on 21st October 1979, had publicly declared in May last year that the Indians in Malaysia had been crying for 140 years against injustices! This was when only one Indian student was admitted into the Universiti Malaya medical faculty using the unmeritorious system of “meritocracy” for admission into the local public universities.
But the harsh and brutal facts must be faced – the historic meeting of 10,000 MIC leaders and members with the new Prime Minister left the Indian downtrodden empty-handed.
It is a crying shame that the largest MIC convention in history and the new Prime Minister’s first Barisan Nasional party mass meeting on November 9 degenerated and sparked a long ugly fight between Samy Vellu and his rivals without any concrete action and financial allocation to lift Malaysian Indians out of their double rut of the new underclass and new criminal class in Malaysia – as it was merely followed by a vicious cycle and exchange of abuses, threats and lodging of police reports.
In retrospect, Abdullah could not be blamed for going to the historic MIC convention empty-handed to the great disappointment of the Malaysian Indians.
This was because the MIC leadership had failed to tell the new Prime Minister the “truth” that the Malaysian Indians are facing their worst political, economic, educational and socio-economic crisis 46 years after Merdeka, with the twin disasters of being the new underclass and a new criminal class, and are desperately waiting for a new government deal to end their marginalization and integrate them into the mainstream of national development.
The 10,000-strong MIC convention in Shah Alam was a show of strength for the MIC President rather than an opportunity for the new Prime Minister to announce a new deal for the downtrodden Indians.
It was at the MIC convention that Abdullah asked the Barisan Nasional leaders to tell him the truth about the problems faced by the people as he did not want to be “carried away by fantastic tales” and asking them not to “take pity on me and worry that I might cry or lose sleep” when told the truth, but Samy Vellu and the MIC national leadership had signally failed to tell the new Prime Minister the truth about the plight of the Malaysian Indians who have become the new underclass and new criminal class.
It is time that the new Prime Minister should be told the truth about the plight of the Malaysian Indians as a result of the relentless process of political, economic, educational, social and citizenship marginalization so that the Malaysian Indians need not continue to cry after crying for 140 years against injustices.
As pointed out at Conference entitled “The Malaysian Indian in the New Millennium – Rebuilding Community” last year, the litany of growing despair of the Malaysian Indians include: Indians have the lowest life expectancy at 67.3 years, the highest dropout rate, the highest incidence of alcoholism and dadah addiction, the largest number of gangs is made up of Indians, with 60 per cent of serious crimes committed by them – with the highest number of victims of trigger-happy police shootings and killings.
Indian student intake into the public universities have dropped from 10 per cent to 5.2 per cent while Indian intake in the public service had plunged from 9.8 per cent in 1980 to 5.2 per cent in 2003. There is also a plunge in the quality of Indian participation in the public service, from the previous top civil service post of Ketua Setiausaha (KSU) in the Finance Ministry to the present lowly KSU in the Ministry of National Unity and Social Development.
The helplessness of the ordinary Malaysian Indians, as distinct from the power and influence of MIC leaders, is best symbolized by MAIKA-GATE, when the lack of accountability, transparency and integrity in the management of the RM106 million collected from 66,000 shareholders of MAIKA Holdings – the investment arm of the MIC - some 20 years ago in 1984 has sparked repeated but futile calls by shareholders for the refund of their money down the decades.
Abdullah should listen to the cries of the Malaysian Indians and institute a commission of inquiry into the management, investment, abuses of power and all criminal breaches of trust in MAIKA in the past two decades in keeping with his promise of a government which is “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion”.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman