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Media Statement (3) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Tuesday, 15th January 2008:

Is Samy Vellu prepared to go in repentance to the Cabinet tomorrow to admit that MIC and BN policies had marginalized the Malaysian Indians and were the cause of the 30,000-people Hindraf demonstration in KL on Nov. 25 last year?

The more MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu speaks, the more he ties himself up in circles.

For instance, his recent statement calling on Indian community not to fall into despair highlight his failure as the sole Malaysian Indian Cabinet Minister for more than 28 years to ensure that Malaysian Indians enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun.

In making the appeal to the Indian community “not to fall into despair”, Samy Vellu admitted that he was aware that many Indians were dissatisfied with several matters such as employment and promotions, especially in the public sector. This was reported by New Straits Times yesterday which carried the headline “Samy Vellu wants to hear views of Indian youths”.

Can Samy Vellu explain why after three decades as the sole Malaysian Indian Minister in Cabinet, large swathes of the Malaysian Indian community have “fallen into despair” as illustrated by the unprecedented gathering of 30,000 Indians all over the country who congregated in Kuala Lumpur in response to the Hindraf rally on November 25, which I explained in Parliament the very next day as the “cry of desperation” of Malaysian Indians at their long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious marginalization in being the new underclass in Malaysia?

But Samy Vellu has taken the public stance of denying that there is any marginalization of the Malaysian Indians, which he reiterated to the Indian media in his highly-humiliating visit to India recently where he was snubbed repeatedly by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi both in Chennai and New Delhi.

If Samy Vellu could admit that there are Malaysian Indians who are “falling into despair”, why is he not prepared to admit that the very cause of this “community despair” is none other than the long-standing marginalization of the Malaysian Indians by MIC and Barisan Nasional policies?

Three years ago, Samy Vellu was prepared to admit to the problem of the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians. Why he is not prepared to make such an admission now although the marginalization process had worsened in the past three years?

In the first parliamentary meeting after the 2004 general election, DAP MP for Ipoh Barat M. Kula Segaran and I had proposed to Samy Vellu that a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Marginalisation of the Malaysian Indians should be established to find a solution to the crisis faced by Malaysian Indians which should be regarded as a Malaysian problem and not just an Indian problem.

In June 2004, when Samy Vellu and I were attending a meeting of the Parliamentary Selection Committee, I handed him an official letter proposing the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Marginalisation of the Malaysian Indians and asked him to take the issue to the Cabinet for approval. I suggested to Samy Vellu that he be the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee to highlight the issue of marginalization of Malaysian Indians and to propose a master plan to eradicate it.

At the time, Samy Vellu told Kula and I that it was a good proposal and that he would take it up to the Cabinet. I have not heard from him on the issue in the past three years and I do not know whether he had tabled the proposal in Cabinet and it got shot down or whether he never raised it in Cabinet at all.

What is most significant was that when I handed the letter and proposal to him in June 2004, he raised no objection whatsoever and even commended the proposal as a good one.

This could only mean that in June 2004, Samy Vellu agreed that the Malaysian Indians faced the problem of marginalization. Why has Samy Vellu done a somersault and is now denying that Indians in Malaysia have become a new underclass because of marginalization – although he admits that the plight of the Indian community is so desperate that it is pushing many Indians into despair?

Is Samy Vellu prepared to go in repentance to the Cabinet tomorrow to admit that the MIC and Barisan Nasional policies had failed and marginalized the Malaysian Indians, and that it is this long-standing marginalization which is the reason for the 30,000-people Hindraf gathering in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 25 and that the Cabinet must formulate and announce a New Deal Policy to give justice and fair play to the marginalized Indians?

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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