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
by Lim Kit Siang
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
key findings of the CPPS study are:
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman