Thursday, February 28, 2008

GOPIO's letter to Badawi on Malaysian of Indian Origin

GOPIO's Letter to Malaysia 's PM Regarding Malaysians Indians

In a February 22, 2008 letter addressed to Prime Minister Honorable Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia , GOPIO International expressed its continuing concern of the hardships faced by Malaysians of Indian Origin. The entire letter is reprinted below.

February 22, 2008

Hon. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur

Sub: Malaysians of Indian origin

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Indians were brought to Malaysia during the British rule to work on rubber plantations, and since then, they have been contributing to the economic growth and prosperity of Malaysia . Today, there are two million Malaysians of Indian Origin who constitute about eight percent of your country's population. But these Malaysians of Indian Origin lack fair and equal treatment in educational resources and job opportunities. Consequently, a significant number of them work as plantation and/or urban underpaid laborers, and hence majority of them are poor and continue to face undue social and economic hardships.

It is well known that Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has been an integral part of your government's ruling coalition and that the MIC must be claiming to represent the interests and aspirations of their ethnic community. However, Time Magazine reported in 2000 that Indians had the lowest share of the nation's corporate wealth: 1.5%, compared to 19.4% for Malays and 38.5% for Chinese. The highest rate of suicide of any community is among Malaysians of Indian Origin, and gangsterism and violent crime are largely associated with that community. Some 15% of the Malaysians of Indian Origin in the capital, Kuala Lumpur are squatters. Since then, these statistics have not changed much. Obviously, MIC as your Coalition partner has not been able to get fair share for their minority community as their role as coalition partner appears to have been rendered ineffective or irrelevant.

The two million Malaysians of Indian Origin are your country's third largest ethnic group and majority of them are considered to be at the bottom of the social and political ladder. The country got independence in 1957, but the poor Malaysians of Indian Origin have been deprived of their fare share of the prosperity which independence has brought to so many of your countrymen. Malaysians of Indian Origin continue to be economically marginalized and sidelined and are generally seen as providers of cheap labor in plantations and construction sites. Thus, for lack of educational and economic opportunities, they occupy the bottom rung of the Malaysian modern society. Your cabinet colleague, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, while opening a one-day MIC special convention for branch chairmen at the Putra World Trade Centre on February 3, 2008, admitted that there were legitimate aspirations and grievances among the Indian community.

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) urges you and your government to be cognizant of the simmering discontent of a large and significant segment of your Malaysian Indian community and request you to promptly take all necessary steps in granting them fair treatment in all affairs of state. Such action as would provide equity and equal opportunities, we believe, would help to alleviate the present condition facing the Malaysian Indian community.

GOPIO, formed in 1989 at the conclusion of five day convention of people of Indian origin in New York , is a non-partisan, non-sectarian, US based global organization with chapters in several countries. GOPIO, since inception, has been actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin (PIO) worldwide by monitoring and addressing critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of PIOs living in various countries.

1 comment:

DIASPORA said...

Someone should tell GOPIO that it is wasting its time, effort and energy writing a letter which may never be read and even if read - it would be read by a low level bureaucrat in the lower echelons of power.

Only money - under the counter or over the counter - and contracts in billions and millions to the favoured few work wonders.

So could GOPIO please try to raise a few Billions and then come over to talk about the plight of the marginalised. But watch out too. The Mongolians are now wary of dealing with money or commissions with Malaysians.