FORMER MINISTER VELLU SEEKS HIGHER QUOTA FOR MALYSIAN INDIANS
The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) that is part of the ruling front Barisan Nasional has sought an eight percent share for ethnic Indians in Malaysia's civil services, commensurate with the population. Voicing the demand, MIC chief and former minister S. Samy Vellu said the number of Indians hired as civil servants fluctuated between 3.5 percent and less than five percent every year.
"It is only fair if we have about eight percent representation in the civil service as that should be sufficient to look into the problems plaguing the Indian community," he told party colleagues at MIC meeting. He said a MIC delegation would soon meet Senator Amirsham A. Aziz, minister in the prime minister's department, to discuss employment and economic issues and opportunities affecting the community. These include the formation of an investment-based foundation such as Permodalan Nasional Bhd and a special fund to increase the equity ownership of the Indian community to three percent.
"Our community used to control 1.5 percent of equity and now it's down to only 1.2 percent," said Vellu, adding that the government had not provided enough opportunities for Indians to grow. He also criticised government-linked companies (GLCs) and agencies handling loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for not providing business opportunities to the Indian community, especially in the petroleum and automotive industries.
"We are very unhappy over the fact that Indian applicants who applied for SME loans are either rejected or ignored," said Vellu, who lost in his ninth bid at re-election last month. Vellu said these were among the things the government failed to address and had resulted in the Indian community rejecting the BN coalition in the recent general election.
"We could not answer the questions raised by the opposition parties during the elections and right now, our government is in a situation where it has to work very hard for the next four years to regain public confidence."
The National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 prepared by the education ministry in a report said that the government had spent 923 million ringgit ($419 million approx) for promotion of schools in Tamil language in 2007. That "billions were spent" on education for Tamils was "contrary to popular belief" about the government's contribution towards promotion of Tamil education, the newspaper said quoting the report.
Over two million of the 2.5 million ethnic Indians in Malaysia are Tamil Hindus, who settled during the British era.