Is a Malaysian Indian’s life so cheap and worthless in Malaysia? I believe so. After all, this segment of the society, the current underclass, contributes to practically all the majority negative vices or worsening social ills in the country ie, murder, robbery and white-collar cime.
Now look at the history. When the plantations were one of the pillars of the nation, this was not the case - until probably the late 80s when the ‘magnanimous’ Dr Mahathir Mohamed came into the picture for the ‘benefit’ of the Malaysian Indians (I am actually being sarcastic here).
Despite the economic significance of their contributions in the yesteryears, these plantation workers received scanty attention yet they never turned to the negative vices that are prevalent today.
Sure, we talk of development, fine. But then what happened to the hundreds of thousands of Malaysian Indians who were shortchanged in the process and left stranded without the right infrastructure or government planning to address their social development along with the other Malaysians.
The Malaysian Indian, being as much as the son of the soil, needs to survive and the plight of the Indian community, especially the plantation workers in Malaysia, has largely remained unchanged since independence in 1957. At least then, they had their plantation work to ensure their survival no matter how poorly they were paid.
But in today’s scenario, with their displacement from the estates and without proper planning and equal opportunities, they resort to negative vices as a matter of survival.
For argument’s sake, one would, of course, say why resort to such things. Frankly I don’t have any answer to this but we are all not made equal to our five fingers or to our siblings. What is perplexing is that other than passing their two sen comments, nobody wants to neither understand nor comprehend why the Indians have come to this stage within two decades.
A simple example is R Seetha, the latest suicide casualty of this engineered social displacement of the community.
I don’t know whether Seetha comes from a plantation background but it is so obvious that she is a product of a society that had been created due to their marginalised state. For our own individual obeisance, we all will put up with all kind of excuses because it serves us and not actually ponder over the root cause of the condition of this segment of the society.
If we talk about an Indian issue, automatically it is classified as a racial issue. How far and how well we know our history begs an answer. Every time an Indian issue is brought forward, it is like a stigma. Now let me ask this, why is it a stigma, when the reality provides the chance correct the unfairness and inequality faced by this community?
We must understand that for the last twenty-odd years, the sole purpose of this nation along with its people has been to make money without a uniting factor. The unity part can only happen if we participate, unite and act to uplift those segments of our society that have been neglected for the as opposes to our own needs.
Only we Malaysians in unity can ensure that a Malaysian Indian’s life is not so cheap and worthless for the betterment of our own community and for our common cause.
May Seetha rest in peace after the marginalised, discriminative life she had led in Malaysia. I remorsefully feel that I had indirectly contributed to the neglect of this society selfishly for my own needs.