Devamany had let down the
30,000 Indians at the Hindraf demonstration on Nov. 25 with his regret and
apology when it is the Barisan Nasional leadership which should express
regret and apologise for its denial syndrome in refusing to acknowledge the
long-standing marginalization of the Malaysian Indians into a new underclass
by Lim Kit Siang
The MIC Cameron Highlands
Member of Parliament S. K. Devamany had let down the 30,000 Indians at the
Hindraf demonstration on Nov. 25 with his regret and apology when it is
the Barisan Nasional leadership which should express regret and apologise
for its denial syndrome in refusing to acknowledge the long-standing
marginalization of the Malaysian Indians into a new underclass.
These are the newspaper headlines today on Devamany’s meeting with the
Barisan Nasional Whip Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Parliament yesterday over
his remark during parliamentary question time the previous Monday that the
fact that 50,000 people showed up at the Hindraf demonstration showed the
Government’s failure in distributing wealth equally:
• Devamany mohon maaf – YB
Cameron Highlands kesal dakwa kerajaan gagal bantu kaum India –
• ‘Saya Kesal’ - Utusan Malaysia;
• Devamany regrets criticizing BN – New Straits Times;
• Devamany let off the hook by Najib – I regretted my remarks and will
be more responsible, says MP – The Star; and
• MP says sorry, no action to be taken – The Sun.
This is the report from The
Speaking to reporters in
Parliament Lobby later, Devamany said he met Najib at 10am to explain his
remark and the meeting took about 20 minutes.
"He was very nice to me. I told him I regretted the statement," he said.
"He advised me on what happened. I truly believe that unity, peace and
stability are paramount in the country and cannot be compromised," he
On Sunday, MIC President Datuk
Seri S. Samy Vellu had done a great disservice to the Indian community and
the Malaysian nation when he denied in Sungai Siput that the Indians in
Malaysia had been marginalized.
Devamany had yesterday compounded this disservice with his regret and
apology for what he said in Parliament during question time the previous
Monday, putting him back to his comments in the Aljazeera interview on the
day of the Hindraf demonstration on Nov. 25 when he belittled and insulted
the Malaysian Indians for taking part in the Hindraf protest.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said that he has
“big ears” and is prepared to hear the truth but it is shocking that
nobody in the MIC leadership, whether MIC Cabinet Minister, Deputy
Minister, Parliamentary Secretary or MP, is prepared and has the courage
to tell the Prime Minister the truth – that for decades, the Malaysian
Indians have been marginalized politically, economically, socially,
educationally, culturally and religiously reduced them into a new
Samy Vellu and the MIC leaders in government should tell the Prime
Minister and other UMNO leaders in Cabinet and Parliament that the 30,000
Indians from all over the country who rallied to the Hindraf demonstration
in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 25 was making a valid, justified and legitimate
“cry of desperation” by the Malaysian Indian community for an end to such
marginalization – the reason why they came peacefully and were prepared to
brave police atrocity of tear gas and chemically-laced water cannons to
make that important point for the sake of their children and children’s
They did not turn up for the Hindraf demonstration because of support of
the allegation of “ethnic cleansing” of the Indians in Malaysia – as the
overwhelming majority of them did not know about the allegation.
This was the challenge which the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Noh Omar
threw at me in Parliament yesterday when I had raised the issue of the
extremist calls by two Barisan Nasional MPs for the removal of Christian
cross and demolition of Christian statues in mission schools – whether I
supported Hindraf allegation of “ethnic cleansing” of Indians in Malaysia.
I replied categorically that I disagree with the Hindraf allegation of
“ethnic cleansing” but the government must respect the cry of desperation
of 30,000 Indians who had gathered from all over the country calling for
an end of their marginalization as Malaysian citizens.
Samy Vellu and the MIC leadership cannot continue to deny the fact of the
marginalization of the Malaysian Indians for over three decades,
particularly during the last 28 years when Samy Vellu became MIC President
and Cabinet Minister!
Before the launch of the New Economic Policy in 1971, the racial breakdown
of the Malaysian civil service comprised 60.8 per cent Malays, 20.2 per
cent Chinese, 17.4 per cent Indians and 1.6 per cent others.
In June 2005, there were 899,250 public servants, of whom 77.04 per cent
or 692,736 were Malays. The rest were: 84,295 Chinese (9.37 per cent),
46,054 Indians (5.12 per cent), 69,828 other Bumiputeras (7.77 per cent)
and 6,337 of other races (0.70 per cent).
This means that in the past 34 years, the percentage of Indians in the
Malaysian civil service had plunged from 17.4 per cent to 5.12 per cent, a
precipitous fall of 12.28 per cent – with Samy Vellu presiding over this
plunge of Indian representation in the civil service for 28 of the 34
The 30,000-strong Hindraf rally and the cry of desperation for an end to
the marginalization of the Indian community in Malaysia must be one of the
three top agendas for the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.
The Cabinet should end the denial about the marginalization of the Indians
in Malaysia and come out with a new policy for a New Deal to end the
marginalization of Indians and all marginalized groups in Malaysia.
Specifically, the Cabinet should adopt the following proposals:
• Establishment of a Cabinet
Task Force headed by the Prime Minister himself on a New Deal to end the
marginalization of Indians and all marginalized groups;
• Conversion of all the partially-aided Tamil primary schools into
• An immediate RM500 million allocation to upgrade the facilities and
standards of Tamil primary schools; and
• A one-year moratorium for an end all demolition of Hindu temples and all
places of worship in all states in the country.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman