From a Cabinet committee to a delivery system independent of who is in power, NGOs to present proposals to PM to uplift Indian community

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27: From the proposal of a Cabinet committee to look into the affairs of the Indian community to a system that would implement approved plans irrespective of which government is in power for the day – these will be covered in a report to be presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim next month, February, in a meeting.

The anticipated meeting with the Prime Minister follows a roundtable conference, “The Current State of Indians and Way Forward”, which was held here recently involving the participation of several non governmental organisations (NGOs) that serve Malaysian Indians.

The event, co-organised by the National Indian Agenda Advocacy Team, Indian Economy Think Tank and Agamam Ani Malaysia, was facilitated by Arun Dorasamy.

Members of the Cabinet invited to the discussion included Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department M. Kula Segaran, Deputy Minister of National Unity Senator Saraswathy Kandasami and Klang Member of Parliament Ganabatirau Veraman.

Many issues that remain unresolved or where there have been no satisfactory responses were raised, such as the declining number of seats for matriculation for qualified students, the need to strengthen MITRA (Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit)’s capacities, the civil service role, poor distribution of appointments or representation of Indians in various sectors were discussed during the closed-door roundtable conference.

All these will be presented to the Prime Minister during a roundtable conference scheduled in February, Arun told the media after the meeting.

“For instance, the MIB was a good thing going for us, but it was stopped midway as the government changed and there have been changes in administration few times since then. It was just gaining momentum but it was stopped and we feel that a system must be in place where good plans can go on even when there is a change in who governs,” he said.

The Cabinet members who attended the discussion have given the assurance that they would discuss the matters with the prime minister.

Asked for his comments following the meeting, former Klang MP Charles Santiago said the meeting was intended to find a way to come out with a plan of action so that the issues faced by the community such as poverty, marginalisation could be addressed.

Senator Saraswathi said the issues raised were concerns of the public at the moment and that she was looking at the way forward in tackling them. She also explained that the government was taking various initiatives towards resolving some of the concerns but added that the government must be also given time to actually see the results.

“We heard the concerns and acknowledged them…I also highlighted some of the initiatives…these must be brought to the public, to the masses so that they can have first hand information and benefit from them.”

M.Kula said the Cabinet members explained the efforts that have been taken in the past one year plus to address the concerns raised. He also said there was a need to have more connectivity with the government as many people were not aware of what is being offered and what can be done better.

— WE