Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mahathir's unfair attack on Samy Vellu

Former PM Mahathir's unfair attack on Samy Vellu

Samy Vellu: Did he speak up or not?


Denison Jayasooria | Mar 7, 08 8:12pm

MIC President S Samy Vellu has been facing many attacks from all sides in recent days. These attacks have intensified especially in the post-Hindraf rally in November last year and during the 2008 election campaigning period now.

Samy Vellu has been very skilled in avoiding the venom from the sting of the darts. This he has done through aggressive rebuttals in press conferences, adverts in papers and dissemination of information. At the same time he has not shied away from the angry crowds whom he calls as his people when they want to talk him.

With these direct approaches, there is a definite softening of the heart of ordinary people except diehard Indian opposition members in the run up to polling day.
However the attack by Dr Mahathir Mohamad two days before polling is really uncalled for. Furthermore to say that 'Samy Vellu did not ask for assistance' is totally unbecoming of a former prime minister whom we hold so dearly.

I do agree with Mahathir that Samy Vellu would not have highlighted the Hindraf position on 'genocide' or 'ethnic cleansing' which is an argument that MIC does not subscribe to and an argument used by Hindraft only recently. MIC has also not subscribed to the Malay dominance theory nor questioned the position of the specific privileges for the Malay community.

However time and time again, Samy Vellu has been consistent in highlighting the plight of the poorer sections of the Indian community on specific matters related to:
Plantation workers their monthly wages, displacement, social conditions and retraining

On matters related to the Tamil language and Tamil schools especially in the infrastructure requirements

On the weak economic position of Malaysian Indians especially with reference to the equity position

On the inability of Indian youths to secure adequate places in higher education

On the requirement of foreign workers by Indian business community especially restaurant owners, textile shops, provision shops, jewelers, barbers and metal traders

On the issues related to Indian youth, social ills and gang-related problems and the need for social intervention programmes

On the issues pertaining to the urban poor and low income families with regards to housing, welfare, public facilities in high density low cost housing areas.
Gross misrepresentation

The Yayasan Strategik Sosial was established by the MIC in 1997 and we have prepared many papers for consideration at the Second Economic Consultative Committee, Input into the Third Outline Perspective Plan, Eighth Malaysia Plan and Ninth Malaysia Plan. These are also in record to show the submissions indicating the status, plight and requirements of the poorer sections of the community.

All these were directed and commissioned by Samy Vellu who has played a very important role in policy advocacy on behalf of the Indian community within the government.

During every MIC AGM attended by Mahathir, a whole list of community needs and concerns were presented as the presidential address by the MIC president. MIC clearly articulated the issues and concerns. Furthermore the MIC general assembly resolutions have also systematically highlighted all the major concerns of the community. These were submitted to all the relevant government agencies.

Therefore, to say that the MIC president has not asked for assistance is gross misrepresentation of a man who has been very vocal in all the meetings he has participated in. How is it, that Najib Abdul Razak could make a public declaration on Feb 3, 2008 at the PWTC that Samy Vellu fights for the community in the cabinet?
'So, if people accuse Dato Seri Samy Vellu of not fighting for the Indian community, I will be the first to deny, because he has fought for Indians. He has fought hard for the Indian community. He is very colourful in his presentation. And he does that because he is the leader of the MIC and of the Indian community,' said Najib.

Delivery of services

In my assessment it is only fair and just to acknowledge that Samy Vellu has spoken up on all the critical matters affecting the community. The government has acknowledged these concerns as reflected in the appropriate action of the government in the time of Mahathir such as the providing of financial assistance for the rebuilding of Tamil schools, funds for the purchase of Tafe college and the building of the Aimst University.

In addition, government established the Cabinet Committee on Urban Poverty and also another cabinet committee to address the squatter issue in the Klang valley. The initial work by the cabinet committee on addressing social ills in the community was re-established as the National Social Council. These were major policy drives at the national level recognising the Indian concerns along with those of other communities.
The Indian community's concerns and the uprising of the grassroots is over their dissatisfaction on the monitoring and the delivery of services. There are however clear indications in the Eighth and Ninth Malaysia Plans and the government has executed programmes such as skills-training for underachieving Indian youths through Giat Mara or micro-business training and access to micro-business loans.

However there is an urgent need through the Mid-Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan to enlarge the outreach and ensure a much larger number of youths are able to access the services and provisions.

Furthermore, as promised by both the prime minister and deputy prime minister, the Indian concerns of the lower thirty percent must be addressed as national concerns. This, I believe, should be the main agenda for the post-2008 elections.

DATUK DR DENISON JAYASOORIA heads the Yayasan Strategik Sosial (YSS), the social initiatives arm of the MIC.

1 comment:

DIASPORA said...

History will not judge The Hon'ble Dato Dr S Samy Velu in the manner in which, we Malaysians, have judged him in our fury over the marginalisation of the Indian Community by the BN Government dominated by UMNO; the UMNOPUTRAS; the UMNO Elites; the cluster that forms the Cronies and Sycophants of every race that pander to this group in control of the corridors of power and the economic and financial fronts.

Gross corruption had closed the eye of everyone holding even the minimum of say in anything to recognise or show compassion to the poor of every race down the line. Added to this their arrogance in the self belief that they would remain in power and hold even more power for ever and ever clouded their visions to the extent that they could not see the future and the tsunami following them very closely.

Now they may be pondering on how to get out of tricky and corrupt situations that they are already in or even pondering further that taking one's own life like one failed ADUN did, would solve their problems for themselves and their families.

In this melee it is doubtful that MIC was given due recognition except being treated as trustworthy slaves and the cries for help from Dato' Samy may have fallen on deaf ears or at the back of the Elite who were taking Samy for a Joker and the Indians for 'pariahs'.

Dato Samy's achievements against the odds must be seen in a fair manner when the heat dies down. At the same time the psyche of the Indian community and of its internal bickering and untrustworthiness must also be added on into this dimension.

It is certain that the Dato had contained to the extent possible every element that he was able to control and sqeeze out of the BN whatever he could for the community. In the process he of course had to suffer the ignominy he undergoes today and which he rightfully should not go through. He has had problems with family life. This is an occupational hazard for politicians of every ilk.

We could see that when Dato' Samy telephoned the Menteri Besar of Selangor and asked him to stop the destruction of the temple in Shah Alam that he was just ridiculed and ignored by the MB who by protocal ranks lower to the Minister. However fate has dealt properly with the Toyol as the MB is usually defined. This is merely one incident of how effective that the voice of the Dato' was in the BN corridors.

Some say that the breaking of the temples which have 'sakthi' and the agony of the Devotees had angered the Celestial Beings who in their fury decided to teach BN a lesson and tople it from its mighty high shoes. If so, then God Himself intervened on behalf of his faithful.

In the final analysis the Nation would hopefully understand Dato' Samy in the proper context and recognise him for all that he was worth and is still worth and title him with a TUN ship.

Let that be the hope of many of us who have compassion in their hearts and bear no ill will to any being under the Creation.