DAP calls for a high-powered Cabinet committee to present a blueprint to end the marginalization of the Indian Malaysians to  be the focus of debate in the first meeting of the new Parliament next month

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaTuesday): DAP wishes Tamils in Malaysia a happy and prosperous Tharana new year today, and Malayalees and Sikhs a happy and prosperous Vishu and Vaisakhi new year respectively tomorrow.

Although the MIC was allocated two additional posts of deputy minister and parliamentary secretary after the 2004 general election in the new cabinet of  the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, this could not make up for the MIC failure to secure a second Ministerial post or to get the Cabinet to address the long-standing issues of margninalisation and alienation  faced by Indian Malaysians in the country.

All the talk by the MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu about a vision of creating a new identity for the Indian community in Malaysia are just brave but empty and meaningless  noises  unless the Cabinet is prepared to seriously address the long-standing fundamental issues which have reduced the Indian Malaysians  into a marginalized community in 21st century Malaysia.

DAP calls on the Cabinet tomorrow to establish a high-powered Cabinet Committee entrusted with the task to present to the new  Parliament when it meets for the first time on May 17 a blueprint to bring the Indian Malaysians into the mainstream of national development – political, economic, educational, social, cultural and all other aspects of  the nation-building process.

The “Group of Concerned Citizens” in its paper “Election 2004: New Politics for Indian Malaysians” last month had summarized nine long-standing fundamental issues faced by Indian Malaysians, which should form the terms of reference of the Cabinet Committee, viz:

  • The number of Indian youth dying in police custody has increased;
  • The socio-economic inequality between the Indian poor and rich and between other communities has worsened;
  • The State has not responded effectively in addressing social ills in the community;
  • The State policies towards and financial allocation for Tamil schools remains pitiful;
  • The University intake policy has been a source of major distress for the community;
  • The State has not stepped in to help resolve the MAIKA scandal;
  • The Kampung Medan racially-motivated killings have not been brought to a closure. No public inquiry was instituted.
  • Low cost housing needs of the Indian poor have not been adequately addressed;
  • The negative consequences of the final breakdown of the plantation economy on the Indian rural poor have still not be regulated. Aggressive displacement of Indian Malaysians is a serious problem.

In the past decades, there had been a lot of  talk of the “Malay Dilemma” and  the “Chinese Dilemma”, and it is time that the “Indian dilemma” should be the focus of the debate of the first meeting of the 11th Parliament next month, as all these separate “dilemmas” of the various communities and sectors of the Malaysian society go to make up the “Malaysian dilemma”, of how all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political opinion, can enjoy an equal, progressive and dignified   place under the Malaysian sun. 


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor