Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto a great disappointment to Malaysian Indians 遗憾宣言只关照其他族群 兴权会失望民联忽视印裔

  Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto a great   disappointment to Malaysian Indians

Hindraf is extremely disappointed with the recently launched Pakatan Rakyat’s Elections Manifesto “The "People’s Manifesto”. Our disappointment is deep and distressing - caused not so much by what it says but by what it does not say.

Pakatan Rakyat has chosen to completely ignore the needs and interests of the Indian community in the country in its election pledges and in that one stroke has said so many things. It does not recognize the longstanding woes of the Indian community. It does not seem to take any cognizance of the fact that Hindraf has been so diligently working with them to bring to the fore solutions for these very serious problems. It does not seem to value the support or need of the Indian community. That leaves us very disappointed. That should leave anyone with a strong liberal and democratic conscience, disturbed.

Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim in an interview, when questioned on this had apparently said “Pakatan Rakyat’s Manifesto transcends racial groups as well as various subgroups including the Indian community, which is not neglected”.

If this was the case then how does he justify the specific pledges to the Malays, Chinese, Orang Asals, Sabah and Sarawakians, the ex- Armed forces and Felda settlers in the Manifesto? The provisions there do not seem to transcend racial groups and subgroups. Enough has been said of Pakatan moving away from racial politics but that is more a statement of their intent than the frame for their policies. They have been using this once too often as a cover to ignore the problems of the Indian poor and marginalized.

Hindraf’s stand is very clear. The Indian community has been marginalized for 56 years and it is time to address this problem squarely and permanently and to eliminate the root cause of this problem - Institutional discrimination against these almost 1.3 million poor and underclass community and bring them back into the mainstream of economic development of the country.

An independent study from the Centre for Policy Studies concluded in 2000 600,000 estate workers had been forcibly displaced (and our current estimate the figure has risen to at 800,000). This massive forced displacement is a direct result of State development programs operating in the milieu of Institutional racism. In ignoring to address this problem with the “transcends race argument” and the acceptance of serious violation of Human Rights the Pakatan Coalition is going down the same path as the UMNO led BN government on this matter. Even the 350,000 stateless Malaysian Indians which Anwar committed he would resolve within 100days of their coming to power finds no mention in the Manifesto.

Hindraf in its various meetings and communications with Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his component parties in Pakatan had stressed the need for a targeted and pointed program to address this serious accumulated problem arising from all the Human Rights violations of the last 56 years. These proposals are contained in our 5 year blueprint and have also been presented to all 3 Pakatan parties. In the document we sought to address the issues of Institutional discrimination and equal rights of land procurement for economic purposes, equal business opportunities which included business loans, permits and educational opportunities.

The annual budget required for this is a mere RM 4.5 Billion (or 1.8% of the budget for the year 2013). This sum should be seen as a reinvestment on Human capital which would bring about progress and development in the lives of these marginalized people. Our proposed solutions are permanent, practical and comprehensive and Pakatan leadership has confirmed verbally on various occasions that “they were in principle agreeable with the document”.

However Pakatan is doing a double reversal on all of that. Not only does it not give a pledge in its Manifesto to any of the problems of the Indian minority community in the country, it does not also formally endorse the 5 year Blueprint Document of Hindraf. Of course we recognize it is Pakatan’s preroragative – but what we are more concerned about is the loss of a historic opportunity to actually get the process of change rolling, if it continues in this vein.

P.Waytha Moorthy


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