Malaysiakini Letter

Permanent solutions needed for Indian poor

P Uthayakumar  |  Published:  |  Modified:

We refer to the Malaysia Nanban headlines today (June 10, 2015) on whether the homes of the Indian poor would be burnt down or torn down! In Segambut Estate it has been widely reported that gangsters were used  to tear down houses even in the wee hours when occupants were still sleeping.

Similarly in Gatco Estate, Negri Sembilan, Rela personnel and the police force were used by the private landowners causing violence, injuring scores of  settlers including children, senior citizens and one policeman allegedly even unzipping his pants before ladies. Hundreds of police reports made has been to no avail and the Indian poor are living in fear on a day to day basis! Mr Prime Minister, this surely cannot be 1Malaysia!

Also all six Tamil dailies over the last few months have featured land eviction issues concerning the hardworking Indian poor former estate workers, settlers and landless namely Segambut Estate, Bukit Jalil Estate, Gatco Estate, Kg Mandi Lembu (Sg Petani), Buntong (Teluk Gur Long), Tronoh (farmers), Batu Kawan (cowherds), etc.

Needless to mention the infamous Kg Buah Pala(Penang-2009), Bukit Raja Estate (Selangor, 2009), Bukit Jelutong, etc. Hundreds of thousands of other estate houses  and Indian villages have been denied land titles, arbitrarily deemed squatters and evicted. Most disturbingly this is continuing on a day to day basis with impunity.

But rightly, the historical 610 Chinese New Villages remain intact with even a specific executive councillor (exco) in charge of new villages and small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in Selangor and Penang. So do the tens of thousands of Malay, Kadazan, Iban and Orang Asli villages and ancestral land which act as their social safety net but denied to almost all the Indian poor.

Despite fifty-eight years of ‘1Malaysian Merdeka’, why is this level of racial victimisation targetting the Indian poor on even the very basic need and necessity to a roof over their heads.  As this vulnerable Indian poor minority may draw low or no political mileage, they appear  not to matter to both sides of the political spectrum, NGOs and the civil society.

While the non-Tamil media may generally deem them ‘not pressworthy’, the Indian elite choose to be ‘politically correct’. Thus the current critical predicament of the Indian poor today.

Mr Prime Minister, please treat this SOS appeal as urgent. Please undo these historical injustices so as not to exclude this community from the national mainstream of development. As the first step kindly implement the Tun Razak House Ownership Policy (1973) for estate workers that was also the Malaysian dream of your goodselves’ late father (God bless his soul) but which was hardly implemented by the successive federal and state governments.

Permanent solutions are needed for Indian poor. Not hampers and baby napkins. Not handouts or showcases! So please help us Mr Prime Minister.

Kindly revert to us accordingly.

Thank you.

P UTHAYAKUMAR is de facto leader, Hindraf.

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