PETALING JAYA: The opposition has criticised Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for a speech in which he said the government was committed to empowering the Indian community.
PKR’s N Surendran said Zahid’s promise of empowerment will remain an empty promise, unless the widespread problem of statelessness among Indians is immediately resolved.
“Having been the only government in power since independence, the Barisan Nasional (BN) is fully responsible and accountable for the problem of Indian statelessness.
“This is the great test of the BN’s commitment to Malaysian Indians, and so far the BN has failed miserably in this test,” he said.
The Padang Serai MP also dismissed claims by the BN that it had addressed the issue of statelessness through MyDaftar and the SITF, calling it baseless and against the available evidence.
“How can the BN claim to have largely resolved the matter, when they have not even carried out a comprehensive national census to determine the true number and location of stateless Indians?”
He added that the BN must have the political will and seriousness to resolve this long-standing problem.
“Then opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim had promised to resolve the stateless Indians problem within 100 days if the opposition takes Federal power.
“As a former deputy prime minister with long experience in administration, Anwar knows what can be achieved. All it takes is political will and the stroke of a pen.
“Are Zahid and Najib prepared to give a similar undertaking?” Surendran asked.
At the national Deepavali open house in Sungei Siput on Saturday Zahid said the Indian community must continue to support the government as it continuously carries out programmes and initiatives to improve their lives.
“The concern showed by the government towards the Indian community and Malaysians in general is not merely rhetoric but is reflected through various programmes for the people.
“The government is also committed to ensuring 7% of the top leaders in its administration and agencies are represented by the Indian community,” Zahid was reported to have said.
Surendran dismissed the speech as being nothing more than political rhetoric by BN leaders as the 14th general election (GE14) nears.
He called for Zahid, as home minister, to order the national registration department offices nationwide to facilitate all genuine stateless Indian applications and send out officers to outlying areas to identify genuine cases and help them submit applications.
“Genuine cases must be acknowledged, and red tape and impossible demands for non-existent supporting documents must be done away with.
“This must be done by the home ministry, and not MyDaftar which is an ineffective MIC-linked NGO,” Surendran said.
Use of Tamil words
Meanwhile, Penang deputy chief minister II P Ramasamy mocked Zahid’s approach in reaching out to the Indian community by using Tamil words in his speech at the parliamentary constituency which had once been the stronghold of former MIC president S Samy Vellu.
BN lost the seat to Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Michael Jeyakumar in the 2008 general election.
“Zahid uttered words like ‘thaan paathi, theivam paathi’, which translates as half us, the other half God, which means half of the trust should be on them (BN) whereas the other half on God.
“He also urged Indians to have confidence in themselves by saying that ‘nambikkei’ (trust or confidence) was an important element in their move forward.
“Remember this is the word that Najib used very often in addressing Indian crowds,” Ramasamy said, referring to the popular remark by the prime minister prior to the last general election in May 2013.
“BN has neglected the Indian community for years. This must be addressed in concrete terms. Mere uttering of Tamil words might not work,” Ramasamy said.
Source: Free Malaysia Today | November 13, 2017