Malaysiakini Letter

Najib’s 0.01pct Deepavali goodies budget

P Uthayakumar  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Politicians generally thrive on make-believe ‘feel good’ and ‘wayang kulit’ factors as their life support. However the Umno elite and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak appear to be the grandmasters, with the latest being the RM260 million ‘feel good’ Deepavali goodies budget, but which is a mere 0.01 percent of the RM260 billion 2017 National Budget announced last week.

Perfecting this trait and based on track record, up to an estimated 90 percent of this RM260 million does not even flow down to the targeted Bottom 75 percent (B75) for the Indian Malaysian, what more from the RM260 billion budget.

The poor Malays, Orang Asli, Kadazan, and Iban have tens of thousands of their traditional villages and ancestral land as their social safety net, while the Chinese have 530 Chinese New Villages. However, the Indian Malaysian poor have zero Indian Malaysian villages.

Even after 60 years of Merdeka, the Indian Malaysian poor have systematically been made to be the most vulnerable community in Malaysia and are still being forced to beg for even the very basics - from womb to tomb.

The tip of the iceberg being the estimated 450,000 (about one quarter of the Indian Malaysian population) up to even the fifth generation Malaysian born ethnic minority Indian Malaysians are being made stateless right at birth and their whole lives systematically ruined by being denied their lawful birth certificates and MyKads. So much so that they don’t even get to retire as a sweeper at a factory, however hardworking they are.

At the interim level, fair and equal opportunities are allegedly denied by both the Umno elites and the MCA-linked private sector monopolists to the mostly hardworking Indian Malaysians to also prosper and share the wealth of this country like most of their Malay and Chinese brothers.

At the tomb level scores of ‘orphaned’ Indian Malaysian dead bodies are allegedly rotting at general hospital mortuaries as their relatives and friends, who have been socially engineered into the poverty trap, cannot even afford the cheapest RM1,500.00 or so Hindu funerals, while hundreds of thousands of others are forced to borrow from Ah Longs as they hardly have any savings.

This level of cruelty and inhumanity does not happen to any other community in Malaysia, including the Bangladeshis and Indonesians, etc, who have their respective villages in their countries to go back to with dignity.

The four Tamil dailies with some token translations in The Star and social media postings gives an inkling as to the extent of this communities’ day-to-day pain, suffering and misery and how the pseudo multi-racial political leaders from even the opposition neither seriously help nor care, especially in the backdrop of there being no or very little political mileage to be made and wanting to be seen to be politically correct and going by the Umno elite flow.

Basic humanity for starters at least?

Over the last two political terms they, too, seem to have joined the Umno elite bandwagon in dishing out hampers, pampers, goodies and ‘wayang kulit’ as ‘feel good” factors in staying politically afloat and remaining relevant.

We lost and the rich and powerful Umno elite has won the perception war by diverting and highlighting their showpieces, the “rich and successful Indians” in the likes of Malaysia’s second richest man, low-cost airline owner, port and steel company owners, etc, when they are not the real owners but mere fronts for the Umno elite.

At the 70th Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) annual general meeting (AGM) a fortnight ago, Najib had the audacity to make a public announcement that “ was (is)important to have a strong secretariat to improve the implementation and to ensure that there was no “push back” factor that could hamper efforts to help the (Indian Malaysian) community.

“Before this I was frustrated when some of the decisions I made did not materialise due to the push back factor (read racist factors) in the implementation system...” It is noted here that Najib’s predecessors’ similar ‘clever’ excuses had been “the policies were good but it was the implementation that was bad”.

In addition to being the prime minister, chief executive and also chairperson of the cabinet committee on the Indian Malaysians, Najib “could not” even order his civil servants to implement the 0.01 percent or so of the national Budget without question and is unashamedly giving this “push back” excuses.

Isn’t the answer plain, simple and straightforward... Sack the director-general of the Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU) in the Prime Minister’s Department for insubordination. And move on accordingly until the same is wholly or substantially implemented. Why has Najib not already done this, unless it was meant to be the Umno elite’s political game play and game plan.

In further alienating the Indian Malaysian poor, Najib goes on further to announce yet another policy decision at the said AGM. “A secretariat will be established to ensure all the initiatives under the National Blueprint for the Indian community will be implemented without glitches”... and the soon to be hyped up new Wawasan 2020 ie the Transformasi Nasional 50 (TN 50).

This TN 50 appears to be yet another Umno elite hidden agenda to continue segregating the Indian Malaysian poor from the national mainstream development of Malaysia for yet another 50 years as the earlier hyped up Wawasan 2020 is coming to an end in about two years time.

It is a wonder as to how the mere secretariat is going to deliver when even Najib supposedly cannot deliver? Isn’t it also obvious that there simply is no political will on Najib and the Umno elites’ part, with racial and religious supremacy policy and bullying with impunity undertones prevailing, that is being the order of the day. Yaar Karanam?

Confucius once said that a thousand mile journey begins with a single step. At the very least and as the sincere gesture in making the first step in undoing these racial injustices Najib could declare the coming Monday a public holiday as there is not even a single day of official Deepavali public holiday this year.

And thereafter spell out further sincere and real short, medium and long term policies in salvaging the Indian Malaysia poor and to ‘tebus dosa’.

Happy Deepavali, Najib.

P UTHAYAKUMAR is de facto leader, Hindraf.

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