INDIAN POVERTY DEMANDS URGENT SOLUTION
An article from Free Malaysia Today on March 13, 2011.
Comment by M Kulasegaran
MIC president G Palanivel is out of touch of the real problem of the Indians.
KUALA LUMPUR; With the fragmentation of estates in the late 1960s and coupled with the decline in rubber commodity prices from the 1970s, estate labourers of Indian origin began to migrate to the towns and urban areas of Peninsular Malaysia in search of their livelihood.
Thus began a pattern of their lives that saw them exchange the discreet poverty of their estate existence for the grinding poverty of their urban lives.
Their lack of education and the higher cost of living in urban areas meant that these rural-to-urban migrants were hard put to eke out a living. They began to languish in hopelessness, their poverty turning endemic because their children’s low educational attainment, in part due to gloomy home conditions, meant their further immersion in the poverty trap.
Within two decades of this migratory drift from estate sufficiency to urban depression, Indian Malaysians began to top the indices of social pathology.
The unemployment rate, school dropout rate, crime rate, and high incidence of single parents, all testified to social malaise among Indian Malaysians.
Now MIC new president G Palanivel has suggested the urban poor Indians who are earning a meager income to move back to the estates to earn a better and higher income as a temporary solution.
Long term solution needed
Palanivel is out of touch of the real problem of the Indians. A temporary solution cannot work. What is needed is a long term solution to the hard core problem of the Indian poor.
It is suggested that a parliamentary select committee consisting of the government, opposition and eminent personalities to be established to ascertain the real cause of the hardcore poverty among the Indians.
The select committee can then make due recommendations for a permanent and long term solution for those Indians who are suffering in the urban poor net.
Thus a safety net of a sort is needed like a “tongkat” for the community to progress from the slumber.
The committee can and should visit and ascertain the real issues affecting the Indians in all areas where the Indians are residing.
I will raise this issue next week during my turn to speak during the royal address in Parliament.
Will MIC, Gerakan, MCA and PPP support me? Or as usual will they pretend not to hear me for fear of Umno their big brother?
The parliamentary select committee could also look into, among others, the poverty affecting Malaysians as a whole, gangstersim and high criminal activities among the poor, the right of government scholarship for everyone and the growing population of single mothers.
Other issues such as high dependence on alcohol and drugs, unemployment, the over dependence on foreign workers and the need for a minimum wage must also be considered.
M Kulasegaran is Ipoh Barat member of parliament and DAP’s national vice chairman.
‘CLARIFY YOUR STATEMENT, MOHAN’
Article in Free Malaysia Today.
by K Pragalath | March 13, 2011
MIC CWC member A Sakthivel advises Youth chief T Mohan to consult Palanivel before shooting the gun.
KUALA LUMPUR: Another MIC central working committee member (CWC) has come forward to brush off MIC Youth leader T Mohan’s criticism against party president G Palanivel’s ‘back-to-estate’ call.
“Do consult with the party president or discuss in the central working committee before making a statement,” said Puchong MIC division chairman and CWC member A Sakthivel.
He also urged Mohan to read Palanivel’s statement carefully since “no one is forcing anyone to go to the estates”.
He also backed the party president’s estate call, stating that it would be good for Indians who can’t make ends meet to return to the estates.
“The living standards there are better and the possibilities for an individual to be influenced by factors such as pubs are also minimum,” said the 41-year-old businessman.
On March 6, plantation industries and commodities deputy minister Palanivel had proposed that poor Indians who can’t make ends meet to start anew at estates managed by government-linked plantations such as Sime Darby until they are financially stable.
The proposal however did not go down well with a number of people, most notably Palanivel’s own party man Mohan.
Subsequently a war-of-words arose between Mohan and those who backed Palanivel, including CWC member N Rawisandran and Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker R Ganesan.
Mohan had responded to them by questioning their own estate background.
Defending the duo, Sakthivel today asked: “Why can’t those living in estates end up as political figures? After all there are constituencies made up largely by estates.”
Explain MIED role, Mohan told
Meanwhile Rawisandran in a text message to FMT also denied that he was apple polishing Palanivel.
“It is my hard work for the past 25 years in MIC and politics that led to my appointment as a senator. I was made a senator based on merit.”
He also accused Mohan of apple polishing former MIC president S Samy Vellu to become an election candidate for Batu Caves state constituency in the 2008 general election and the MIC Youth chief.
“Mohan is a master when it comes to apple polishing leaders,” he said.
Rawisandran added Mohan must clear the air on his role in the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED.
BACK TO ESTATE CALL: MOHAN RETURNS FIRE
Article in Free Malaysia Today.
by K Pragalath | March 12, 2011
MIC Youth leader tells two MIC members not to ‘apple polish’ G Palanivel.
PETALING JAYA: MIC Youth leader T Mohan vented his anger on Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker R Ganesan and former MIC senator N Ravichandran over the controversial “return to estate” issue.
“If they (Ganesan and Ravichandran) had not left the estates, do you think they would be state speaker and senator now?” Mohan asked, as Ganesan and Ravichandran were born and bred in estates.
“Would they send their children to estates? Where would the Indians be sent if they cannot survive estate life? India?”
Mohan was commenting on a report in the Tamil daily Malaysia Nanban yesterday where Ravichandran criticised Mohan for the latter’s attack on the MIC president G Palanivel.
Palanivel, who is Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, sparked the controversy when he proposed that poor Indian youths should return temporarily to the estates until they are financially stable.
Earlier, Ganesan had also criticised Mohan for shooting his mouth off against Palanivel.
Mohan also queried why Ganesan and Ravichandran are suddenly making a big noise over the matter.
“Why were they silent over various other issues all this while?” he asked, citing Interlok and many other issues as examples.
‘Don’t apple polish Palanivel’
Mohan also said that he has nothing personal against Palanivel. “I am a party man and I respect the party leadership.”
He also took another swipe at both Ganesan and Ravichandran: “Palanivel is not an inexperienced man in the party. You don’t need to apple polish him.”
He also clarified that he was fine with the notion of sending poverty-ridden Indians to estates, but it would be better if they worked in the private sector or land schemes such as Guthrie and Felda plantations.
BACK TO ESTATE: GANESAN SLAMS MOHAN
Article in Free Malaysia Today.
by FMT Staff | March 10, 2011
MIC Youth leader T Mohan’s criticism of MIC president G Palanivel did not go down well with an MIC leader.
PETALING JAYA: MIC Youth leader, T Mohan, was today ticked off for “shooting” his mouth off when he attacked party president G Palanivel over the issue of poor urban Indians.
Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker R Ganesan said Mohan had taken Palanivel’s statement out of context.
“As a party member he should have obtained clarification over the party president’s statement instead of shooting his mouth in the media,” said Ganesan, who is MIC central working committee member.
Palanivel recently said that the poor urban Indians should return to the estates. Bernama yesterday reported that his call drew flak from several quarters including Mohan.
Palanivel, who is Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, had said that the government had agreed to a minimum wage of about RM700 a month for the plantation sector, compared to RM300 previously, and that the Indians would also enjoy free housing as well as free transport for students in estate areas.
Mohan said that working in estates would not provide a bright future for the community and suggested that government provide Felda-like schemes for the Indians.
Ganesan said that Palanivel’s call was meant for the urban poor Indians who cannot make ends meet.
“These people cannot even afford to foot their utilities bill and do not have security,” said Ganesan, the former Sungkai assemblyman.
“For those who cannot make a living in urban cities, the Sime Darby estates, for example, offer a minimum of RM750 along with housing and other facilities,” he added.
NO SUPPORT FOR PALANIVEL’S ‘BACK TO THE ESTATE’ CALL
An article in Free Malaysia Today.
By BERNAMA | March 9, 2011
A proposal by MIC president for poor Indians to return to the estates for a better living did not sit well with many, including the party’s Youth chief.
PUTRAJAYA: The call by MIC president G Palanivel for members of the Indian community, who are mired in hardships in town and cities, to work in the plantation sector, including in estates owned by government-linked companies, received little support from the community.
Palanivel, who is Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, had said that the government had agreed to a minimum wage of about RM700 a month for the sector, compared to RM300 previously, and that they would also enjoy free housing as well as free transportation for students in estate areas.
However Palanivel’s proposal seemed to have come unstuck among his own party leaders.
MIC Youth chief T Mohan said working in estates would not guarantee a bright future for the community.
The government should instead provide a Felda-like land development scheme for the community, he said.
“RM700 is too small but if there are plans for a Felda-like scheme, then we have no problem agreeing to it because it will help create entrepreneurs among the Indian community,” he said.
He added that many members of the community had ventured out of estates and that it was not proper to ask them to come back.
Unsuitable for most
Indian studies lecturer at the University of Malaya, Prof Dr M Rajentheran said the call was only suitable for the unskilled, those who had no permanent jobs or those who were unable to cope with urban living.
They might consider coming back to the estates if the salary was increased to RM1,200 a month, he said.
Malaysian Indian Youth Council president A Rajaratnam said the call was no longer relevant in the country’s increasingly competitive development sector.
“The minimum wage should be increased to RM1,200 a month and they should also be given allowances. A husband and wife will then be able to earn about RM3,000 a month. If this happens, I myself will encourage them to work in estates,” he said.
A former estate worker A Rajeswari, 38, said she would not return to the estate even if the salary was increased to RM900 a month.
“I have three children … where can I find tuition and music classes in estates?” she Rajeswari, who now works as a cleaner here.