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I will ask in Parliament next month what government has done with regard to recommendations of ASLI’s CPPS study to end marginalization of the new Indian underclass under the Ninth Malaysia Plan

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Saturday) :  In the past three days, I had highlighted the various chapters of the Asian Strategy  and Leadership Institute’s (ASLI) Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) studies submitted  to the government in February under the report  “Fostering Resilience and Excellence to Meet National Aspirations and the Global Challenge” for the Ninth Malaysia Plan in response to the invitation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for public participation in the formulation of the new five-year plan.


The chapter on “Corporate Equity Distribution: Past Trends and Future Policy” had seven recommendations, and  the controversy over whether bumiputra equity ownership is 45%  as suggested by the CPPS researchers or 18.9% as postulated by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) was not one of them.


What is the position of the government on these seven proposals on corporate equity distribution, particularly with regard to measures that should be taken to halt  and reduce the increasingly yawning  intra-ethnic Malay disparity?

I had also asked about the government position with regard to the CPPS recommendations towards to create a more representative and world-class Malaysian civil service and to achieve higher performance in tertiary education.

Today, I want to ask the government about the CPPS’ recommendations to end the marginalization of the new Indian underclass under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

I am giving notice that DAP MPs will be asking  in Parliament next month what the government has done with regard to recommendations of ASLI’s CPPS study on corporate equity  ownership and distribution, achieve a more representative and world-class Malaysian civil service, attain  excellence in tertiary education and to  end marginalization of the new Indian underclass under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.


The CPPS study on the marginalized Indians argued that development strategies, policies, programmes and the distribution of benefits in the past 35 years have been highly skewed.


Sharp contradictions have arisen as the country’s strategies have become focused on creating a Malay commercial and industrial community. The poverty eradication programmes have also assumed a rural Malay bias.

Although the incidence of rural poverty remains relatively high and the Malays form the largest group among the poor, the numerically small and economically weak ethnic minorities are increasingly feeling alienated, neglected and marginalized. 


The Orang Asli, the bumiputera minorities in Sabah and Sarawak and the Indian low-income groups have long standing complaints that the various development plans have not resolved their socio-economic problems.


Among the key findings of the CPPS study are:


  1. Malaysian Indians are increasingly being marginalized, economically as well as socially. More than 30% of Indians do not own a house; over 300,00 Indian poor have been evicted from their plantation livelihoods and residences; and there were 21.1 suicides per 100,000 Indians in the year 2005, the highest rate amongst all communities.  Indians also have the lowest life expectancy at birth amongst the major races.


  1. Involuntary displacement from rural areas where they had a degree of economic security and stability to the new urban environment has resulted in hardship, distress and alienation, especially amongst the Indian youth without skills, capital or support structure from the authorities.


  1. Although previous government policies have proposed that plantation companies be required to provide alternative housing for retrenched workers, these plans were not implemented.  Government-linked companies were amongst the firms that did not comply.  At the same time, displaced Indians have failed to receive adequate support from the central and local authorities in accessing new skills and capital.


  1. Education is a major area of concern for low income Indians. Tamil primary schools receive little state support, and have poor infrastructure and teaching standards due to lack of resources.  There are no affordable or adequate pre-school facilities and this has resulted in Indian children falling behind their peers in primary schools.


  1. Youth alienation in the urban environment has resulted in juvenile delinquency, criminal activities and gangs.  These social ills are largely due to a sense of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and lack of educational or employment opportunities.


Among the 12  recommendations of the CPPS to end the marginalization of the new Indian underclass are:



  1. The Ninth Malaysia Plan should provide specific financial allocations to enable the implementation of development programmes targeted at the disadvantaged Indian minority. Programmes recommended in the previous Plan documents have not materialized mainly because of a lack of funding.


  1. Consideration should be given to the establishment of a special department or agency to be entrusted with uplifting the status of poor non-Bumiputera ethnic minorities, and with providing oversight in the fair implementation of government programmes.


  1. Such an agency should be broad based and include representatives from interest groups, ethnic minority communities and NGOs. Representation should not be restricted to leaders from ethnic-based political parties in government. This special agency should be provided with authority and resources to manage development programmes and projects.


  1. In order to minimize the harmful effects of mass displacement, the government should consider alienating reserve land near the plantations for retrenched estate workers to continue their farming and cattle rearing activities.


  1. Special land schemes should be launched for plantation workers to upgrade their standard-of-living through participation in Government and private-sector sponsored group farming, livestock-rearing, food production and floriculture projects.


  1. More funds should be allocated to build affordable child-care centres and pre-school facilities near communities earning low incomes, especially in low-cost areas of urban centres. 


  1. All partially aided Tamil primary schools should be converted into fully aided ones to help safeguard the educational and cultural interests of Indian children who come from low income families.  Further, a special allocation should be provided to rebuild the 106 Tamil primary schools which are in need of repairs.  More efforts and resources should be committed to resolve the problem of teacher shortages and improve the teaching of Bahasa Malaysia in these schools.


  1. Education is the main means of upward mobility for the Indian poor. Indian poor should be extended educational benefits similar to the bumiputera community in order to improve their access to local schools and universities.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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