Only RM22.5bil to implement Hindraf blueprint

by N GANESAN, Hindraf National Adviser 

BLUEPRINT CD N BOOKDetractors of Hindraf's document, "The Five-Year Blueprint to bring the Indian poor and marginalised into the mainstream of national development", want to erode support for the document and have been hitting out at Hindraf by pointing to various peripheral but contentious issues about Hindraf.

The detractors span the entire Malaysian political spectrum, all the way from the right in the BN camp to the left in the Pakatan camp. They take this stealthy path because they have their reasons to want to kill off support for the blueprint. And they do it in so many ways.

What they all fail to realise is that they are really hitting at something that is fast becoming a central issue in the forthcoming general election, insofar as the Indian Malaysian electorate is concerned.

And what these detractors also do not realise is that they are close to shooting themselves in the foot, should they persist. This blueprint is becoming a central issue in the general election because of what it truly is.

The Hindraf blueprint is a systematic and verbal expression of the yearnings and aspirations of the Indian poor and marginalised for justice, for rights, for dignity and for an even shot at life in this country of ours.

The energy of the November 2007 expression of the frustrations of Indian Malaysians on the streets of Kuala Lumpur was just one expression of these yearnings and aspirations.

This blueprint is in that same class. The anger against Umno in 2007 was the cause then. Today it will be the spurning of the unfulfilled yearnings. This document has that similar significance. This is something that all should realise.

All Hindraf is doing is articulating these yearnings, giving expression to them and fitting them into the electoral process in ways that will, hopefully in time, bring about the realisation of these yearnings.

This blueprint does not belong to Hindraf, though we issued it. This is about the Indian Malaysian people. Hindraf is nothing more than the messenger. Hitting at Hindraf amounts to saying that these yearnings and aspirations do not matter - and puts the detractors into an oxymoronic situation.

Today, we look at the remaining key points in the blueprint: Unequal employment and business opportunities that Indians suffer; the impunity of the police against the community and the standard of human rights practices in Malaysia.

We will also explain why we need to have a Ministry of Minority Affairs in the country.

Unequal job and business opportunities

MKINI BLUEPRINTWe want to see employment opportunities opened up in the government service and in all government-linked companies (GLCs), without exception and at all levels, for Indian Malaysians.

Ten percent of all government and GLC employee intakes at all levels should be Indians and 10 percent of all taxi, lorry and bus permits, contract jobs, petty trade and scrap metal trade licences, maintenance jobs and franchises must be given to local Indians.

Of the businesses and contracts awarded by the local authorities, state governments, federal government and federal agencies and all GLCs, 10 percent must go to Indian businesses, which must also be provided with equal participation opportunities in all entrepreneur development programmes.

Marginalised Indians must also be provided with support to start small businesses related to the skills development programmes they have been trained in.

Micro-credit must be provided to Indian applicants on terms similar to the Tekun programme. Tekun Nasional, which is a micro-credit scheme, is an Umno brainchild and is run by the government.

The government must provide technical /management and marketing support to existing Indian small businesses, similar to the Tekun programme or open up the Tekun programme to all, without conditions relating to ethnicity.

The statistics on applications and approvals must be made freely available to the people.

Hindraf estimates a budget of RM4.5 billion a year to implement all the recommendations in our blueprint. All major needs of the marginalised and poor Indian Malaysians can therefore be implemented within five years, at a total cost of RM22.5 billion.

Impunity of the police force

We demand that the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission be set up immediately, as per the recommendations of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police.

Effective measures must be put into place to stop all extra judicial killings of citizens in the custody of the Malaysian police.

Malaysian laws must also be made consistent with international human rights laws. The country should sign and ratify all international covenants of the United Nations that it still has not done so.

These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, after which we must move to adjust the local laws so that they are consistent with these international laws.

Further, the guiding principles, as set forth in the guiding principles on internal displacement by the United Nations, must be adopted.

Ministry of Minority Affairs

Another significant demand in our blueprint is the establishment of a new federal ministry, the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

The charter of the ministry shall be to:
  1. Lead the socio-economic development efforts of marginalised and minority communities in Malaysia;
  2. Plan the budgetary requirements and obtain the necessary allocations;
  3. Plan and execute all the development efforts;
  4. Supervise all the relevant ministries in the implementation of the quotas/target allocations relating to the marginalised and minority communities; and
  5. Be held accountable for the delivery of socio-economic development to the communities under its purview.
The first identified marginalised and minority community to come under the purview of this ministry will be the Indian poor and marginalised community.

Others need to be identified and added into the portfolio of the marginalised and minority communities.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs is to be an empowered ministry that will embark on its development efforts independently of the other ministries, so that the socio-economic development of the marginalised and minority communities is focused and targeted and not hampered by a very recalcitrant, racist bureaucracy.

Hindraf is prepared to provide the expertise required for the smooth function of this ministry.

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