Samy Vellu said Hindraf could have taken a better approach to air its grievances and should not have accused the MIC of failing the Indian community. In his defence, MIC has done a great deal for the Indian community. He claimed that the BN government under the able leadership of PM Abdullah Badawi has his ears and eyes close to the people.
MIC, like many other race-based parties, claimed to represent the Indian community. According to Samy, there can only be one Indian based party in BN. However, the MIC president surely has to answer to allegations that the Indian community in Malaysia has been neglected. In fact, the community's share of the economic pie is less than 1.5% despite making up of 8% of total population. Even then, most of their wealth is held in the hands of a few.
Tamil vernacular schools are some of the most neglected schools in the country. Many of these schools are not enjoying a full subsidy from the government and are left to rot or to survive on their own. Yet, a high number of parents continue to send their children to these schools. Lacking a network of community's support for these schools means that they are not able to churn out as many good students as the Chinese vernacular schools.
Some Indian friends told me that many Indian youths have turned into gangsterism and other crime because there is no safety net to catch those who dropped out from the education system. As a result, Indians made up one of the largest groups in our prisons. Suicide rate amongst the Indians is also the highest compared to other communities.
It is difficult to imagine why Indians in this country cannot make it to the top if those in India can become world renowned and respected for their creative ability and IT proficiency. Today, India is slowly becoming one of the world's key economic powerhouses.
Surely something is not right in this country. The question is whether MIC should take the blame? On one hand its President wants to absolve its party from any responsibility, on the other hand it wants a monopoly representation of the Indian community. He should be made to understand that such a representation cannot come without a responsibility.
What he should do is to accept these criticisms and work towards helping the community to integrate with the larger society. He must be able to convince the ruling coalition to channel significant resources into educational and social restructuring programmes for the community. Token assistance of a few millions ringgit will not help to alleviate the Indians from their current plight.
Is BN as open and accommodative to views and criticisms as Samy Vellu claimed it is? MIC parliamentarian K. Devamany told the parliament that the rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) reflected the Indian community’s disgruntlement towards certain government policies. Instead of immediately asking him to prove his statement, the MIC leader is being reprimanded for breaking ranks with the coalition.
Nazri Aziz castigated Devamany for placing MIC in a difficult position and urged him to stand by the majority of Indians who did not take part in the rally. The minister's rule by the majority concept of democracy is worrying and seriously faulty. In a truly democratic country, the constitutional rights of a single individual must be protected and respected regardless of what the majority decide. Even if most of the 2 million Indians did not take part in the demonstration, it does not mean they are not disgrunted with certain government policies.
In fact, it is in the interest of BN to listen to the voices of discontent. Afterall, the community had provided solid support for the coalition in the last few general elections. Devamany's reaction is not likely to cause as much negative political impact to BN compared to Nazri's political arrogance and ignorance.