Malaysians, regardless of race, should feel ashamed that although the government leaders boasts of the “modern development” of the country, claiming to host among the tallest buildings and grandest monuments in the world, the plight of the estate poor continues to be ignored and left largely to fend for themselves to deal with the most elementary socio-economic needs.
The highlighting and amelioration of the abject poverty of the residents of Nigel Gardner, Bukit Tagar and neighbouring estates in Hulu Selangor should be a cause which transcend party politics and race, as it is a basic humanitarian issue and not become a disgraceful political row.
It is a serious affront to the national boast of development and justice that 45 years after Merdeka, the most basic socio-economic claims by Malaysians as the payment of annual school fees of RM25 for 11 primary school children (outstanding since 1998), subsidy of the RM50 monthly bus fare for 50 secondary school students who have to travel 16 km to their schools in Batang Berjuntai and the sponsoring of school stationeries and ties for 122 students should become a major political row, resulting in the political and socio-economic victimisation of the Vice Chairman of Nigel Gardner estate MIC Branch, Ayan Perumal and his family.
The MIC MP for Hulu Selangor, Datuk G. Palanivel has claimed that the Nigel Gardner and Bukit Tagar estates in his Hulu Selangor parliamentary constituency had received more than RM100,000 worth of assistance.
If Palanivel is right, then can he explain why such basic socio-economic problems affecting the right to education of the school children in the estates - which is their best hope of breaking away from the vicious circle of abject poverty, social degradation and even a life of crime - could not be addressed and resolved?
Clearly, the more than RM100,000 worth of assistance given out to the Nigel Gardner and Bukit Tagar estates have not been properly utilised to resolve the most basic socio-economic needs of the people and their children - and if so, there should be an independent audit by impartial NGOs as to whether the RM100,000 worth of assistance, as well as the annual RM500,000 constituency development funds which every Barisan Nasional MP is entitled to, had been properly expended!
Samy Vellu should direct the end of all measures which had been taken by the MIC to victimise and punish Ayan Perumal for publicly highlighting the plight of the abject poor in Nigel Gardner and Bukit Tagar estates, as well as instruct the Yayasan Strategik Sosial (YSS) to adopt the Nigel Gardner, Bukit Tagar and neighbouring estates to show-case its community development programmes to abolish hard-core poverty, especially as the government had allocated millions of ringgit to YSS for this purpose.