Samy Vellu should support establishment of Parliamentary Select Committee on Marginalisation of Indian Community

Media Statement (2)
- at the DAP Deepavali Celebration
by Lim Kit Siang

(Ipoh, Thursday): Firstly, let me wish Malaysian Hindus and all Malaysians Happy Deepavali, as it has become an unique Malaysian national characteristic for Malaysians to celebrate all the national festivities. 

Although this should be a day of joy, it is also a day of sadness – with the news of the latest fatal victim of the heinous crime of snatch-theft, Sanorfizah Salleh, a 31-year-old mother of six from Johore Baru, who died yesterday without regaining consciousness after being in a coma for three weeks.  She was nine months pregnant during the October 20 incident, when she fell from her motorcycle and sustained head injuries during a snatch theft by a pillion rider of another motorcycle.  Although her baby was rescued in a Caesarian operation, she has paid for her life. 

Sanorfizah’s senseless death is an urgent reminder to the government and civll society that the high rate of crime which has rendered the streets, public places and even the privacy of homes no more safe to law-abiding Malaysians must be brought down effectively, not just in rhetoric but in deed. 

On the occasion of this year’s Deepavali, I wish to express my disappointment that the government has yet to address in a serious and sustained manner the problem of the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians, whether politically, economically, educationally, socially or culturally. 

On June 4, I wrote to the Works Minister and MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, asking for his support in Cabinet for the establishment of a Parliamentary

Select Committee to break the back of the problem of the marginalization of the Indian community, as the Indians in Malaysia had not  received commensurate benefits from decades of national development. 

Stressing that the marginalization of the Indian community in Malaysia is an issue which deserves the concern of all Malaysians, regardless of community and political affiliation, I drew Samy Vellu’s attention to  long-standing fundamental issues faced by Indian Malaysians, 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;
  • 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.  Aggressive displacement of Indian Malaysians is a serious problem.

I proposed the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on the marginalisation of the Indian community in the national development process as the most opportune and appropriate  forum for a full ventilation  of the national problem “to find a formula to break the back of this crisis,  with the support of all concerned players rising above party differences and partisan interests”. 

I also suggested that Samy Vellu be the Chairman for the Select Committee on the Marginalisation of the Indian community in the development process, expressing the  DAP MPs’ preparedness to give full support and make the fullest contribution if the Cabinet could agree to its establishment. 

Although Samy Vellu expressed support for the proposal for the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Marginalisation of the Indian Community when he received my letter, nothing has been heard on the matter in the past seven months. 

On the occasion of 2004 Deepavali, I call on  Samy Vellu not to delay any further and to  secure support from the Prime Minister and  Cabinet for such a Parliamentary Select Committee so that it could be established when Parliament reconvenes for the second part of the 2005 Budget parliamentary meeting starting on November 22.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman