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Seven issues affecting the Indians

Contributed by Anonymous on Saturday, February 02 @ 23:33:21 CST

Feb 3, 08 malaysiakini

There are seven critical issues that have caused uneasiness among the Indian community and the government must immediately take steps to address them.

The seven are: 1. an equitable participation in the share market; 2. Indian intake in public universities; 3. better employment opportunities, especially in the public sector; 4. increase the number of government scholarships; 5. greater access to entrepreneurship training and micro-credit loans; 6. an effective urban poverty eradication programme; and. 7. the establishment of a dedicated mechanism to monitor and evaluate the delivery of public sector services in a just and fair manner. MIC president S Samy Vellu, in listing out these seven grouses, urged the government to resolve these issues immediately as they have hindered the party's efforts to ensure the upward mobility of the Indians, Bernama reported. "The Indians have very high expectations and are demanding from MIC greater inclusion, access and their rights in the socio-economic development on par with the other communities," he said at the MIC special convention for branch chairmen at the Putra World Trade Centre today. The Works Minister, who has come under increasing criticism for the failures of the community, said that the Indians wanted just and fair treatment from the government. The special convention was held to prepare the MIC's grassroots machinery for the upcoming general election. It was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. About 3,700 MIC branch chairmen and the party's elected representatives attended the one-day convention. Elaborating on the seven grouses, Samy Vellu said the MIC wanted the government to ensure equitable participation in the share market through the establishment of a special mechanism such as the Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) in order to attain the three per cent equity target by 2020. He also added that the MIC could only complement the programmes provided by the government for Indians but these initiatives were not sufficient to re-alter the socio-economic disadvantage of the community. Serving effectively He expressed his confidence that the government would take speedy action on the seven issues which have been forwarded to the government several months ago. "We have been continuously discussing with the government to resolve these issues and I am confident of a speedy solution," he was added. Samy Vellu also said that the party was confident of repeating its 100 per cent victory in the last general election. In 2004, the party won all the nine parliamentary and 19 state seats it contested. He said that the present unhappiness among the Indian community would not dampen the party's resolve to retain all the seats. "With the people's loyalty and support to the Barisan Nasional, the MIC scored 100 per cent success in the 2004 general election. The Indians realise the Barisan government had always served the people's interests and had brought socio-economic progress to all races," he said. He added that MIC's election machinery had been well-oiled and was in top gear to swing into action when parliament was dissolved to pave the way for the 12th general election. On today's convention, Samy Vellu said it was to discuss ways for the party to serve the Indian community effectively. As grassroots leaders, he said, MIC branch chairmen must maintain close ties with the people in their areas and to inform them the various opportunities extended by the government to improve their livelihood.**************View to the polls: Should Samy Vellu stay or go?
The new Straits Times, Feb 03, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: Should MIC party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu stay on as party leader, or should he make way for a successor? In political discussions, especially among the Indian community, this question has been raised frequently in recent weeks.

Why now, especially after Samy Vellu has headed the MIC for almost 30 years?

Perhaps, a commentary by Utusan Malaysia columnist Awang Selamat last week articulated the thoughts going through many minds today.

He noted that many long-serving Umno, MCA and Gerakan leaders had made way to new faces, but Samy Vellu still insists that his services are needed and that he will continue to contest and lead the party.
Outside the MIC, even among some of his colleagues within the BN coalition, the question is being asked whether Samy Vellu may meet the fate of leaders like Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, long-serving Chief Minister of Penang, and Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar, who led Terengganu from 1974 until 1999.

Both were removed by their constituents who felt that they had been too long in office.

But his loyalists within MIC reject such notions, saying that such talk and views are unfair to a man who has worked selflessly and devotedly for the Indian community and the MIC.

Tebrau MIC division chairman M. Soorianarayan said Samy Vellu's leadership was much needed at times of crises like now because there was "no one as generous and committed to the Indians and the MIC like Samy Vellu".

"He is like the ancient King Karna, who was well-known for his generous heart.

"People keep harping that because of him we only have one minister.

"But they forget that we have various others sitting in different ministries as deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries."

Federal Territory MIC chairman and national information chief Datuk M. Saravanan said MIC needed an experienced leader like Samy Vellu during crucial times when the opposition was exploiting allegations that the Indian community had not been well looked after.

He said Samy Vellu had the experience and ability to counter the opposition and even party members who refused to toe the party line.

With the whole country gearing up for the general election, Saravanan said Indians should focus on the election and not squabble among themselves.

Some of Samy Vellu's detractors are those who are no longer active in the party.

Former MIC central working committee member K.P. Samy believes that the party chief should step down before the coming general election for the sake of the Indian community and Barisan Nasional.

"He should call for a party election now.

"That would be his biggest sacrifice if he really cares for the party and the community," said the party veteran of 35 years.

He claimed that the Indian community was angry with Samy Vellu for failing to groom capable leaders who could take over from him.

"He has been in the party for too long. It's time for him to step down."

But Samy Vellu has shown the qualities which show his value to the BN.

Despite the agitation within the Indian community, he has managed to get Thaipusam declared a public holiday in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya and for the government to consider making it a national holiday as well.

He also managed to get tens of thousands of people to turn up for the Ponggal festival in the federal territory, graced by the prime minister.

Another former central working committee member and former Negri Sembilan MIC exco member, Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan - whose differences with Samy Vellu are well known - said that when a person had been in a position for very long, he would suffer lethargy.

He said the rule that one should not continue to be in power for more than two terms must apply to all.

But in general, party insiders feel that they still need their leader - at least to lead them in this general election.

"Let's be realistic. We can't change horses in mid-stream.

"We need him now. But perhaps the time has come for him to consider relinquishing his post and ensure a new leadership is in place before the following general election is held," said a senior party leader aligned to Samy Vellu.

Will that happen? Perhaps, that will be the subject of debate among MIC members after this election.



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