Prepared by :
Group of Concerned Citizens
47-2 Jalan Thambipillai
50470 Kuala Lumpur.
The ASPIRATIONS AND DEMANDS of the Malaysian Indians need
to be made current and popular at this juncture of Malaysian History
for three critically important reasons:
a. The heightened perception of a large section of the
community of the marginalisation and powerlessness of the group.
b. The political opportunity that is available today to
frontally confront the problem of marginalisation and powerlessness
of the Indian community
c. The opportunity to transform the ASPIRATIONS AND DEMANDS
of the Malaysian Indians from a communal issue to a national issue that
needs active governmental attention and interventions.
THE ASPIRATIONS AND DEMANDS OF THE MALAYSIAN INDIANS
The effects of the prolonged marginalisation from mainstream
development of the Malaysian Indians (MI) are clear from various reports,
studies and discussions. In seeking to redress the present dilemma ,
the aspirations and demands of the MI are as follows:
1. POLITICAL DIMENSION
The MI have played less than a token role in the national
politics of the country since independence. The role played by MIC on
communal line lacked bargaining power. It is recognised that the lack
of electoral support at communal level without even one constituency
having a majority to determine the outcome of any election has
placed MIC at political obscurity. Thus causing the MI political representative
in the Barisan National to become beholden to UMNO or the
The political rights of MI can only be protected by non-communal
politics. The communal politics of Alliance and Barisan Nasional has
alienated the MI from all instruments of power. The right of MI to exist
with equal rights as citizens has become a way of co-existence with
"take what is given".
The MI aspire a non-communal party system in which the
rights minorities can be guaranteed. In the absence of a non-communal
scenario the MI demand for reserved seats at all levels (Federal, State,
cabinet and local councils and authorities) in all elections for MI
and other minorities in proportions.
The MI demand that the constitutional right to citizenship,
voting, freedom of expression, mother tongue education, religious and
cultural practices be reaffirmed and enlarged with the ideals of democracy.
2. ECONOMIC DIMENSION
The country's growth and wealth is more than sufficient
to cater for the needs of all Malaysians. Even if it is insufficient
the way forward is to share the resources. The economic development
policies should address among other things the following:
a. All workers in the country should be protected with
provisions that ensures decent living wage and housing. The import of
foreign labour should be checked until such time the real wages of local
workers commensurate a decent living wage and the local man power is
under full employment . All forms of daily rated and exploitative
wage schemes prevalent in the plantations and elsewhere should be abolished.
The freedom of association of workers and formation of unions must be
b. Intervention programmes to eradicate poverty and redistribution
of wealth should be for all Malaysians. A commission comprising of government
as well as representatives from different communities and opposition
political parties must be formed for implementation and monitoring.
The poverty eradication and wealth distribution programmes should target
to reduce the income disparity level to that of countries in similar
economic standing in the world.
c. The employment market is segmented on communal lines.
The desired level of participation of MI in the civil service and private
sector require governmental intervention.
d. Business opportunities in SMI, permits, licences, contracts
and other forms economic opportunities should be accessible and made
available for MI and other minorities. The base capital for businesses
of the needy MI should be made available through financial institutions.
Education should be made as right of every citizen and
should not be privatised or corporatised and be made accessible to all
at all levels. Education is one way for the upward mobility of MI and
other minorities and the MI is need of intervention programmes. Policies
on intervention programmes for MI and other backward communities should
be monitored by a commission on education comprising of government,
community representatives and opposition political representatives.
The demands are as follows:
a. Early childhood development programmes through the
various ministries (Education, Welfare, Rural Development/Prime Ministers
dept.) must reach out to all areas and all races. The programme should
be addressed in the language of the local community. In this regard
there should be training programmes for all existing child minders and
a salaried scheme to child minders working in poverty areas.
b. Primary and lower secondary (std 1 - form3) education
must made compulsory and meaningful.
c. All government aided primary Tamil schools and fully
aided Tamil schools must be given equal status as SK schools in
terms of allocation, expansion, IT education, training programmes and
all other forms of support. This recognition and assistance should be
d. The existence and operation of all Tamil schools must
be guaranteed and alternative schools must be built prior to the closing
down of any Tamil school.
e. The free entry into residential schools, vocational
training centres, colleges, institutes and universities must be reserved
for MI and other backward communities in proportion for a minimum period
of time until economic policy reforms evolve the desired outcome for
equal footing in education and economy.
f. The use of Tamil as a medium of instruction in SRK
(T), as examination subjects up to tertiary levels of education must
be guaranteed. The existence of Tamil in the Universities for the purpose
of literary research, training, teaching and promotion of Tamil culture
must further supported and guaranteed. Tamil as a optional language
in primary and secondary schools under POL schemes be abolished and
instead mother tongue education for MI be made compulsory.
The MI and other backward communities are in need of subsidised
and affordable housing schemes. The housing needs of the plantation
community and the urban settlers must be addressed. The government must
declare one family one house concept in the housing development agenda
to curb speculative demand until the core housing needs are fulfilled.
Housing for the citizens be made as the governments responsibility
and not be left to the discretion of the private sectors.
5. RELIGION AND CULTURE
The MI culture and their religious practices are diverse and interwoven.
Only a non-communal approach to the issue will ever make one to appreciate
and accept another individual's right to worship and practice his religion
in accordance with his belief. The essence of developing such sensitivity
should come from the respect for fellow human being. The national policy
for racial integration should address this issue in much more detail.
The MI demand the following:
a. All places of worship in line with principles of Rukun
Negara be legalised. Government grants be made available for the construction
and maintenance of temples and other places of worship.
b. The government must provide places of worship by allocating
land and building temples where there is a concentration of population
in new housing schemes.
c. The freedom and right to organise religious and cultural
events be guaranteed.
d. The government mass-media incorporate MI religious
needs in its programmes. Religion is a fundamental right of a community,
the promotion of religion will help build stronger moral values. Religious
songs, speeches, drams and movies be aired and screened in the radio