Friday, July 22, 2011

The UMNO Government does not have the will to solve the statelessness problem among the Indian poor.

Menachi 51 of Kampung Bagan Serai,  a widow, unemployed (or should I say unemployable) has for the last 51 years lived a completely faceless and nameless existence. The Malaysian Government has denied her, her basic right, that of statehood, for one meaningless reason or another. Last year Hindraf activists helped cut through the myriad of documents, procedures and hurdles of the UMNO government and managed to submit her application for the IC. Now, almost after a year since the submission, she is called to the IC office. On presenting herself at the counter they ask her for RM210 so she can take her IC. She could not get RM 5 that day to go to the IC office. 210 Ringgits?? She was devastated. She returned empty handed, disappointed one more time, nothing new to her. This is the curse of the poor.  There are approximately 400,000 such people.
She asks now, if she cannot get the 210 Ringgits, will she remain stateless? 
 This episode raises some very fundamental questions?
  • Will there ever be a permanent solution to this problem?
  • Does this Government have the will and/or the ability to solve this problem?
  • Whose responsibility is it anyway, to resolve problems such as these?
  • Are the poor Indians to be faulted for this problem?
  • What is the role of history in all this?
  • Will any alternative ensuing government have it high on its priority to solve this problem?
Given the racist agenda of UMNO it is Hindraf’s clear position that UMNO can never solve this problem. I think we have had enough game playing and destroying generations of  lives of the poor. The UMNO government has to now own up to the fact that it is incapable of solving the problem. Not to make matters worse UMNO should please stop its spins – “wayangs”.
Take this specific Wayang – the most recent one – from the Special Implementattion Task Force for Indian affairs.

On 19th Feb 2011

The Campaign organized by the Taskforce (PM Dept) with the cooperation of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Registration and Department of Information is a major National campaign organized by the Federal Government

It starts today on Feb 19 till 26, 2011. The Department of National Registration has provided utmost cooperation by opening up 80 offices in 9 states in Malaysia. This is the largest and comprehensive campaign organized so far.

This is a major effort to identify all the undocumented Malaysian Indians so that through this campaign they

·                 Can be identified especially those with out birth certificates or identification cards
·                 Can be assisted to fill the relevant forms
·                 Can be assisted to secure supporting information and details on origin and birth
·                 Can be successful as people who can eventually secure all the legal documents and thereby enjoy their rights as Malaysian citizens

On 1st  March 2011
SITF Chairman Datuk Dr Subramaniam announced yesterday (March 1, 2011) that a total of 14, 882 Malaysian Indians have submitted the relevant citizenship forms during the My Daftar campaign held from Feb 19 to 26, 2011.

Total               14, 8882

            Break Down of figures

·                 Birth certificate:                3,546
·                 Identification cards        2,569
·                 Citizenship                    7,486
·                 Others                          1,281

For the next six months ‘SITF My Daftar special unit’ headed by Dato Siva Subramaniam will focus on case solutions ensuring that the 14,882 are approved, encourage the 10,000 who took the forms to fill them, make their submissions and monitor their solutions.

On 18th July 2011

SITF Chairman Datuk Dr Subramaniam has asked the Government to set up units in several departments to resolve the problems of the Indian community. He said this was necessary as the Government's delivery mechanism was too slow in coping with the increasing problems of the community.
What is clear from this statement is that after 5 months of this latest wayang there is little or nothing to show for results. They said all 14,482 or so of the cases will be resolved in March. What probably has happened is that UMNO’s racist bureaucracy has once again effectively killed any possibility of that. Of course they will have their reasons for the poor showing and it will be all about the poor Indians. What a wonderful escape clause. but those reasons will only confirm our position. The setting up of special units is just more wayang. This UMNO government will never be able to solve the problems of the poor Indians.It is Hindraf’s clear position that this UMNO Government does not want to solve this problem. It is also Hindraf’s position that the root cause of this problem is UMNO’s continuing implicit position that the Indians in the country are all “Pendatangs” after 150 years of living here and therefore are not entitled to any rights of an average citizen.
This is so visible, take the Tamil Schools issue, take the Interlok issue, take this statelessness issue, take the criminalization issue – take any issue that is longstanding and chronic and it is abundantly clear that unless racism is first booted out of our political landscape nothing of substance will change in the lives of the poor.. You have to be poor and you have to be Indian – then you will know exactly what this means.
Any alternative ensuing government will only make sense to the Indian poor if they give due attention to problems such as this. It does not bode well when Anwar Ibrahim himself said in one of the interviews in January 2010 when he visited the UK that he could not be expected to solve the socio-economic woes of the Indians.  Hindraf  will not rest till solutions are forthcoming. The people are not going to accept wayangs and or empty promises. The people want results. Hindraf will confront these issues with whoever holds the reins of power unless there are just solutions forthcoming.

N. Ganesan
National Advisor to Hindraf
21st July 2011