At the outset, this situation would not have arisen if the ruling elites - the Barisan National government - had been equitable in their strategies and implementation of programmes where race and religious matters were involved.
Umno being the anchor of the government did not yield much to the honest requests of MIC or MCA for their communities, if at all these parties made honest attempts. Over the 35 years, we have witnessed only the growth of the elites and cronies of these two parties. Though Umno elites and cronies took the lion's share, they developed a strong Malay middle-class using New Economic Policy as its strategy.
And today they control 50 percent of the economy including government-linked companies whose CEOs are all Malays. All the vice-chancellors of public universities are Malays. All the secretary-generals of the ministries are Malays. Most of the director-generals are Malays too.
Whilst the Chinese who had a head start in commerce and industries were able to progress by leaps and bounds, the Indians remained stagnant for want of resources, especially capital and banking support. At professional levels, the Indians' domain was in medicine and in law. This too slowly dwindled from that of the yesteryears. The Malays speedily filled these positions through effective implementation of the NEP.
All right-thinking Indians do not hold grudges. The Malays being the majority race should have their rightful share in the economic and social development of the country. But the manner in which it was implemented under the Mahathir Mohamad regime was atrocious. Today the entire civil service is the monopoly of the Malays.
This is not nation building. The main thrust of the NEP was to eradicate poverty of all races and that race should not be identified with a particular job or occupation. It must be noted that the Indians and the Tamil Ceylonese once held a significant number in the civil service. This has been wiped off almost completely and it is most unjustified. We cannot blame the Umno ministers totally when MCA and MIC ministers have been grossly ineffective, allowing this state of affairs.
In this monopolistic situation - the Malays in the public sector and the Chinese in the private sector - the Indians have no place to survive. The estates started to employ cheap Indonesian labour. The Indians slowly drifted to urban areas only to find that they were unfit for any jobs as they lacked skills and proper qualifications. Many of them do not even have proper identity cards to prove their citizenship because with the fragmentation of the estates, the registration of births and deaths became an individual chore and these illiterates do not have identity cards. The vicious circle begins there.
The MIC and the cabinet miserably neglected these poor souls. Now these young Indians in the cities have become first-class drug pushers and gangsters. This is a national problem like the Mat Rempit problem affecting young Malays.
With this backdrop and with the thoughtless demolishment of temples, legal or otherwise, coupled with snatching dead bodies from Hindu homes and declaring them Muslims, the conversion of young children to Islam without their mother's consent mother and other issues have brought about an organisation like Hindraf.
If the MIC leadership at all levels had played an effective role, if the cabinet had taken cognisance of the Indians' problems and social ills then there would not have been a Hindraf or any other organisation to take up the challenges of community. It is an established history that when good deeds are not done over the years after repeated requests, people will spontaneously rally for the government to take corrective measures. So the rally is justified.
People in power say that it is not our culture. But in reality, it is a universal culture. It has brought down corrupt and despotic governments like in Philippines and Indonesia. Therefore, I request that Pak Lah as the prime minister of all Malaysians implement immediately the following for Indians to sustain our continued peace and harmony in our nation.
- The cabinet recruit at least 10 percent Indians at all levels of the civil service, police, army, air force, navy, GLCs, public universities and schools. MIC, Gerakan and PPP needs to monitor this recruitment and promotion exercise.
- Legalise all temple buildings on land bigger than 5,000 square feet and that have been in existence for more than 10 years.
- Provide MyKad to the thousands of illiterate and stateless Indians so that they can secure proper jobs and their children can attend proper schools.
- Cabinet needs to review the conversion procedures that govern conversion to Islam. They should only convert for the love of the religion, not for material gains, handouts, promotions and others.
- Students in universities should reflect the racial composition of the people in the country.
- Five percent of all new IPOs in the share market should be reserved for Indians so that their corporate wealth, which remained less than two percent since independence, will rise to at least five percent of the total corporate wealth in the country..
If the cabinet and Pak Lah can implement the recommendations above, there will be continued peace and harmony in our nation. The cabinet should also look into the rural poverty of the Malays and others as the gap between the rich and the poor is widening fast. This is a dangerous trend.
The private sector too should reflect the racial composition, particularly the Malays. But this should be based on skills and meritocracy, otherwise the quality and productivity of the country will be badly affected and all will suffer in the end.