Is Samy Vellu fighting for his political life that he had to do the most extraordinary thing of issuing almost daily media statements about MIC and Indian issues from  Spain while  attending a world  transport conference?

DAP Negri Sembilan forum on “Malaysian Indians as an new underclass”
by Lim Kit Siang

(SenawangFriday): An extraordinary thing is happening in MIC politics, raising the question whether the MIC President and Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is fighting for his political life after more than 24 years as MIC President and the sole MIC Cabinet Minister. 

In the past few days, Samy Vellu had been issuing almost daily media statements about MIC and Indian issues although he is physically in Spain to attend an international transport conference. 

This would not be the cause for the raising of eyebrows  if this had been his customary practice, but this was never the case, as even when he was  inside the country, it was  quite rare for Samy Vellu to bother  himself in mundane issues affecting the political, economic, educational, social, cultural and  citizenship rights of Malaysian Indians – resulting in the Malaysian Indians becoming the new underclass and even the new criminal class in the country after more than two decades of his MIC leadership. 

I had issued a media statement on Tuesday at about noon entitled “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”.  

Within the next few hours,  a statement in the name of Samy Vellu was faxed to the media as a immediate response,  declaring that the MIC had submitted 12 recommendations to the Government to enhance the participation of Indians in the economic development of the country. 

This was followed the next day with another statement from Samy Vellu in Spain  that the MIC, after successfully launching its national-level election machinery convention on November 9, was all geared to embark on the second phase of the campaign.  The following day, there was a   third daily statement from Samy Vellu in Spain congratulating Tamil school pupils for their achievements  in this year’s Primary School Assessment Test (UPSR). 

I have no quarrel with Samy Vellu issuing daily press statement although he is overseas in Spain attending an international transport conference, but as he had never done this before, this raises the question whether there are larger political forces at work with Samy Vellu  fighting for his political life. 

Whatever Samy Vellu’s explanations,  the national convention of 10,000  MIC leaders and members in Shah Alam on November 9, 2003, billed as the largest MIC gathering in history and even more historic, the first Barisan Nasional party mass meeting to be attended by Abdullah in his ninth day as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, was a great disappointment to the Malaysian Indian community. 

It ihad 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 Samy Vellu 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.  

The 10,000-strong MIC convention in Shah Alam was a mere  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.

The   litany of growing despair of the Malaysian Indians include the following: 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.

Furthermore, 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. 


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman