VETERAN social studies expert Dennison Jayasooria might be right in saying that there has been no major representation from the Indian community to provide crucial inputs in the 12 Malaysia Plan.
It is not that there was no discussion at all about Indians in the plan, but a systematic approach perhaps might be missing.
My difference with Dennison is not whether the matter of Indian inclusion was discussed or not discussed, or the manner it was approached.
Dennison thinks because there was no major input in the plan about the socio-economic condition of Indians, there is a grave possibility the community might lose out when the five-year plan comes for implementation.
To me, he may be right or wrong!
The problem with this kind of analysis is that there is a great reliance in the plan and if properly implemented, it might make a positive impact on the Indian community.
As we understand, five-year plans had never made much impact on the community simply because the successive Governments, from political independence onwards, never really focused on the Indian community, in terms of improving their lot.
The problem in this country is not so much the plans but the racial and religious divide that continues to wreak havoc on equal development of the ethnic communities other than the Malays.
Because of the over-prominence given to the Malays, development plans do not really make difference to the minorities; be it Chinese, Indians or Orang Asli.
Add class division to the problem, underprivileged Malays are also getting short-changed in the process.
In reality, the Government’s five-year plans are not independent documents produced by independent agencies. They actually reflect political, economic, psychological bias and prejudices of the those in power.
Essentially, our Government is steeped in ethnic and religious ideology of majoritarianism!
Given this situation, how are development plans, minus their propaganda, are going to assist ethnic communities that are marginalised and discriminated for decades?
Even if you have the best development plans in the world, there is no political will to translate them into action.
The “plague” of racism, religious extremism
We can discuss and debate about the development plans and what it has in store for the poor Indians but this is not going to work as long as the country is deeply and viciously anchored in racism and religious extremism.
Underprivileged Indians have been cheated and misled by the Governments in power and the political party that ostensibly sought to represent them.
Whatever happened to the ambitious Indian Blueprint? Since Barisan Nasional (BN) is back in power, maybe we need to ask the about it again.
On a broader perspective, there is no point in arguing about the inclusion of Indians in the plan. Even if they are included, it might be just a symbolic gesture. Nothing concrete will emerge out of this.
Indians will continue to be neglected and forgotten in this country.
With that, Dennison and others should not be deluded into thinking that 12th Malaysia Plan is a magical document which would bring “heaven on earth” for the Indian community.
Despite sacrificing blood, sweat and tears to build modern Malaysia, the community is not only unappreciated but often labelled as “pendatang”, a derogatory label that is not even used on our migrant population!
Let us go beyond development plans. Let us seriously look at the sad fate of the Indian community in the country. Is there a future for Indians in the country?
I seriously think that Indians have no future in the county, unless of course, something dramatic happens to change the course of our country.
In the meantime, let us not waste time and energy in dissecting the contents of the useless development plans! – Sept 12, 2021.
Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.