THE laudatory statements and praises by past and present national leaders – and even the Opposition politicians – about the late Tun S. Samy Vellu has inspirited and inspired the crestfallen MIC to face GE15 this Nov 19 with renewed vigour.
This can be seen from the strident and vocal statements from the party leaders, unlike the muted and defensive comments that usually emanates from the party leadership since the Barisan Nasional (BN) was ejected out of power in 2018.
Numerous national leaders had sympathised with the plight of the Indian community at Samy Vellu’s demise and even commended the late MIC president for selflessly contributing – despite criticism from some quarters of his tenure being divisive and not doing enough – for the betterment of Malaysian Indians.
The Government had immediately provided an allocation of RM2 mil for poor Indian students and also transferred the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA) to the Prime Minister’s Department for better supervision.
The Deepavali festival today(Oct 24) should be used by MIC to rally Malaysians from all walks of life as well as numerous politicians and leaders to gather at the party’s muhibah open house celebrations.
This auspicious occasion should be used to herald better times and opportunities for the MIC. Deepavali means light over darkness, hence it is a good time this year with the impending GE15 for the party to clear the hard times that started when Samy Vellu lost his Sungai Siput Parliamentary seat in 2008.
BN parties are now ready to face GE15 with the 2023 election budget showing a preview of the benefits in store for diverse groups in the country – if the BN wins, of course.
BN component parties have prepared themselves for quite some time in anticipation of the snap poll and are ready to battle it out. The MIC, too, is enthusiastic about its prospects and hopes to re-capture the parliamentary seats it lost. The party has to select capable, competent and communitarian politicians to win back the support from the Indian community.
The main criticism of the MIC has been that it is not doing enough for the community and that about 40%-50% Indians in Malaysia still remain very poor and are in need of affirmative action from government policies.
Socio-economic upliftment programmes by way of government allocations, allotments, incentives, privileges, self-help schemes and quotas will benefit these people. It is only through these progressive policies that address the basic causes of Indian poverty can remedial action see a solution to these deprivation.
Two possible solutions have for long been identified for the Indian community to progress – that is by way of education and involvement in business, both of which are within the capability and competency of the community. Government help and self-help are the twin thrusts needed for the progress of Indians.
The Indian B40 is slowly progressing due to major efforts by the government, especially through better-equipped Tamil schools and trained teachers, introduction of a minimum wage that benefits low-skilled workers, more public sector jobs, tertiary and technical education loans from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), scholarships from the public and private sectors, business loans from Tekun, MITRA and others and the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) assistance scheme.
Malaysian Indian voice
The Indian Blueprint formulated by former PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak needs to be continued and only the BN government has the political will to implement the programmes envisioned in it.
The long term effect of the Indian Blueprint can be carried out only if there is a viable and stable government that is keen to help the community. In tandem with government assistance schemes, the Indian community needs to create self -help programmes and opportunities by pooling their resources to develop SME and industrial/commercial hubs for businesses both big and small.
There is now a sizeable number of people involved in industrial and commercial ventures who need help for expansion of their business.
The MIC and other entities can initiate funding to buy the land for the SME and industrial hubs. The MIC can also initiate investment and trade campaigns to regional and neighbouring countries for joint ventures with local businessmen.
The richer and better off Indians especially those deriving high incomes or holding top administrative positions need to help their poorer brethren through various ways and means.
The MIC had hitherto focused on building academic and technical tertiary institutions from now on while focusing more on commercial and business opportunities for the Indian community. As the country currently has a surplus of tertiary institutions, MIC can focus on other ideas and needs of Malaysian Indians.
Now that the GE15 has been scheduled on Nov 19 with the prospect of forming a strong stable government, the Indian community can play a major role in this electoral process.
Malaysian Indians are mostly urbanised and now live in mixed racial constituencies where they have a major say in terms of choice of candidates and the political parties.
Indians need to realise the political power that they possess as voters. There may not be any Indian majority constituencies in the country but the mixed ones offer better electoral prospects.
With an array of political parties in the electoral fray and the fact that the political parties and communities are divided, a united Indian community will have a major say with its swing votes.
Indian voters will be decisive in the urban multi-racial constituencies in the west coast states of peninsular Malaysia. It is the duty of Indian leaders to ensure that the voters get the right positive message during the campaigning period to pick the right parties and/or the government that will help steer the Indian community towards the path of progress and prosperity. – Oct 24, 2022
V. Thomas is a reader of Focus Malaysia.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main photo credit: Facebook Pusat Aduan Rakyat