We visited Raja Letchumy, 49, mother of one of the earliest victims murdered in the Kampong Medan clashes, A. Ganeson, 28. It is most regrettable that no assistance whatsoever had been given to her although she had depended on Ganeson, her only son, for her livelihood, and now has to eke out a living on her own.
We also visited V. Ambarasam, 36, driver, who suffered more than 20 slashes when he was attacked by a mob, with a left leg badly broken in four parts.
It is most deplorable that while VIPs, including Ministers, make highly-publicised visits to the scores of the injured when they were in hospital, making all sorts of promises to help them, the victims had been left stranded and are completely on their own after they had been discharged from hospital.
I call on the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu not to forget the victims of the Kampong Medan clashes but to visit them to ensure follow-up financial and other forms of assistance to rebuild their lives.
I am shocked that most of the injured have not recevied any assistance from the government, not even Social Welfare financial assistance after their discharge from hospital.
At the height of national public attention on the Kampong Medan clashes, Federal and State governments made various announcements of housing programmes and social and development plans to provide better facilities and amenities, but all these seem to have been forgotten like the victims and the injured when national spotlight moved elsewhere.
DAP reiterates its call for a RM100 million socio-economic plan to transform the ghetto settlements off Old Klang Road, housing some 100,000 squatters in squalid living conditions rampant with crime and gangsterism, into better living environments.
Two months ago, the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the Home Ministry was studying the police report on Taman Medan clashes, which could be used as a basis to understand and overcome similar problems in the future.
There are many time-bombs like Kampong Medan which could explode into ugly clashes if the depressed socio-economic conditions and acute urban poverty prevailing in these ghettos are not urgently addressed and defused.
The Kampong Medan clashes, which represent four failures of nation-building, development planning, law and order and mass communications, must be a lesson to defuse similar time bombs in other urban ghettos.
To do so, the police report on the Taman Medan clashes on its causes and why the authorities lost control resulting in the unnecessary large number of deaths and victims, should be made public so that it could be a lesson not only for the government but also for the people. Furthermore, the report must be able to stand up to public scrutiny to ensure it is not not a “cover-up” sweeping problems under the carpet but address the real issues which could help defuse other Kampong Medan time bombs in the country.
With the approach of the 100 days of the Kampong Medan clashes, it would be appropriate for an in-depth review to be conducted, focussing not only on the causes but also on whether the proper remedial socio-economic measures had been taken to resolve the deep-rooted problems of urban ghettos in Malaysia.