Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Najib left out Indians in 44 areas

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia TodayGEORGE TOWN: Pro-Barisan Nasional diehard supporters among Malaysian Indians showered lavish praises over the past few days on Najib Tun Razak’s one-year rule as the country’s sixth prime minister.

Some claimed that the Malaysian Indians were happy with the Najib administration and predicted that the community would flock back to BN after deserting the coalition virtually en bloc in the last general election.

It would not be an overstatement to dismiss such claims as a frivolous hope of desperation rather than a viewpoint of ground reality, if Human Rights Party (HRP) assessment of Najib’s rule is anything to go by.

HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar slammed the Najib administration for excluding Malaysian Indians from 44 areas of national mainstream development.

Uthayakumar said Najib's propagation of the “IMalaysia” concept was contradictory to the Umno-dominated Putrajaya administration’s racist, religious extremist and supremacist national policies, which continue to omit the Indian community on a day-to-day basis.

“Najib’s first 14 days as prime minister was reflective of his one-year rule,” he added.

Uthayakumar said when he first took office, Najib attempted to placate the anger of the two-million strong minority Indians in the country by releasing Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) lawyers.

However, since then, he said Najib’s government had only carried out pro-Malay Muslim action plans, leaving out the much-maligned Indians, majority of whom needed the government’s assistance to compete with others on equal footing.

'Most racist country'

Uthayakumar said Malay-Muslim absolute poverty rate was reduced from 50% in 1957 to 1.8% in 2008 through the New Economic Policy.

But after 53 years, he alleged that about 90% of Indians remain impoverished.

As an example, he said the government allotted RM1 billion for TV digital broadcast, but did not set aside a single sen to drag out Indians from poverty.

He added that the federal government had spent billions over the years to upgrade the education standards of Malay-Muslims, including millions spent to buy seats in world-class universities in Cambridge and Oxford.

“But Tamil schools remained deprived of government funds,” he said.

Uthayakumar alleged that 1,000 foreign Muslim medical officers were hired to work in the country, but Malaysian Indians with medical degrees from India, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Indonesia were not recognised.

He pointed out that Indians are deprived of job opportunities and career growth in the public sector.

Unlike Malay-Muslims, he said Indians were denied equity and operational licences to own and manage foreign-owned hypermarkets, petrol stations, fast-food franchise outlets, the lucrative highway R&R stalls and EON sales outlets and service centres.

He said Indians were not issued scrap metal, car wash, taxi, heavy lorry, bus and limousine permits.

“If the government had been fair, the Indian crime rate would reduce by 90%,” said Uthayakumar, an outspoken advocate of working class Indian rights in the country.

He said about half a million foreigners, mostly from Muslim countries, were employed in various sectors, depriving Indians of skilled job opportunities.

He said Malaysian Indians, including many newborns, were denied birth certificates and identity cards, leaving them to rot stateless.

Citing many cases, he said the community was being continuously denied of government welfare aid, business soft loans, agro-land, technology training, education funds, religious rights, housing and many more.

“Najib’s Malaysia is today the most racist country in the world after apartheid ended in South Africa some 20 years ago in 1990,” said Uthayakumar in an email today.