*A reply to M. Kulasegaran, P. Uthayakumar and P. Waytha Moorthy on issues related to the Indian Community in Malaysia by Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari*
1. On the 21st of October 2016, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Haji Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak presented the government’s 2017 budget. In his speech, the Prime Mnister reiterated the commitment of the government to continue spending to spur economic growth, maintain fiscal stability and improve the living standards for the bottom 40% (B40) of household in this country.
2. In addition to the budget, the Prime Minister, aware of the additional needs of the Indian community announced Indian-specific initiatives under the Budget. As a matter of fact, the Prime Minster is the 1st Prime Minister that acknowledged the special needs of the Indian community and made sure Indian specific initiatives are included in the Budget.
3. Unfortunately, the effort taken by the Prime Minister to assist the Indian community by introducing Indian – specific initiatives was met with objection by the opposition and opposition friendly NGOs. However, I am not surprised by the attacks by this opposition leaders as that is what they do best. They only attack all the good programs and initiatives introduced by the government but themselves fail to contribute to the wellbeing and improvement of the Indian society at large. The four (4) Indian leaders who had criticized the budget was M. Kulasegaran (DAP), R. Sivarasa (PKR), P. Uthayakumar (HINDRAF) and P. Waytha Moorthy (HINDRAF MAKKAL SAKTI).
4. In order for the Indian community to not be misled by this irresponsible Indian leaders, I will address each issue highlighted by them accordingly. M Kula Segaran of DAP alleged that the BN government was good only in delivering empty promises to secure the Indian votes. Meanwhile brothers, P. Uthayakumar and P. Waytha Moorthy, whom was once appointed a Senator and a Deputy Minister under the Prime Minister Department says that the budget is only a “wayang kulit” for the Indian community in general.
5. All the allegations by these opposition leaders is wrong and it shows that they have never cared for the Indian community and is only clever in playing politics for their own benefit. This is because since assuming the leadership of the country on 3rd April 2009. In the space of 6 – 7 years, the Prime Minister has done a lot for the Indian community as what he has promised to us. There was not a single empty promise as alleged by M Kula Segaran of DAP.
6. Some of the significant contribution of the Prime Minister to the Indian community was the establishment of The Secretariat for Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs (SEED) which is directly parked under the Prime Minster Department. The BN government, via SEED has channeled hundreds of millions of ringgit (approximately RM 696,000,000) to assist and empower Indian entrepreneurs in their business. As of now, 23, 851 entrepreneurs has been assisted via this program since 2012. (Reference: http://www.seed.org.my/news/detail.php?id=20)
7. In addition to SEED, the BN government under the Prime Minister has also set up a special unit, Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community, set up in the Prime Minister’s Department. This special unit was given RM 100,000,000 to assist non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and training institutions of the Indian community. (Reference: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/06/06/rm100mil-federal-funds-for-indian-community/).
8. In addition to the above, the Prime Minister had also announced special incentives for the Indian community such as TEKUN loan as much as RM 50 million, RM 30 million in micro-credit financing via Amanah Ikthiar Malaysia, RM 30 million for Indian women entrepreneurs, RM 30 million for youth training and finally hundreds of million for maintenance and repair of Tamil schools (Reference:http://www.bharian.com.my/node/15086) & (Reference : http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2012/12/30/funds-for-tamil-schools-facts-and-myths/) . All of this Indian – specific initiatives compliments the annual general budget that is presented by the government for the general public.
9. I have presented all the Indian – specific initiatives and efforts taken by the Prime Minister to alleviate the social-economy status of the Indian community since assuming the leadership of the country. The question is, what has the opposition done for the Indian community in assisting the community via Indian – specific initiatives? In all honesty the opposition has done nothing for the Indian – community, be in either in Kelantan, Selangor or Penang. If DAP is daring enough, why have they never published the numbers of Indian families who managed to get a low cost house in Penang?
10. Realizing that they cannot dislodge the Prime Minister via the electoral system, DAP, PKR and now HINDRAF is working with the former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to bring down Datuk Seri Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak via the “back door”. Has these opposition parties and leaders forgot what Dr. Mahathir has done to the Indian community as alleged by their own party leaders such as P. Ramasamy, the Deputy Chief Minister of Penang.
_There is *nothing for Indians to be proud of when it comes to Mahathir*. His policies in promoting Bumiputeras bordered on racism and exclusivity that *denied other communities their legitimate expectations*. While there was opposition, it was too weak to challenge the racist policies of Mahathir_ : _P.Ramasamy_ (Reference : http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2016/08/10/progress-among-indians-due-to-own-hard-work/)
11. However, suddenly now these Indian leaders in the opposition has suddenly done a major U – Turn by working and joining forces with Dr. Mahathir to remove the Prime Minister. The same man who was responsible for the marginalization of Indians for 22 years of his premiership. Has the opposition now turn a blind eye on all the mistakes made by Dr. Mahathir? I know that the opposition is getting insecure with the continued perseverance and dedication of the PM to directly reach out and engage the Indian community. Due to the PMs popularity with the Indian community, the opposition is now bankrupt of ideas that they are resorting to all acts of belittling the efforts taken by the Prime Minister for the Indian community.
12. As a conclusion, I can reiterate and confirm again that the opposition leaders, especially the Indian leaders are all cheap talkers without any substance. They rant and foam through their mouths attacking the Prime Minister for his Indian – specific initiatives but they themselves fail to assist the Indian community to improve the community’s social and economic status. Fortunately, the Indian community has now come to realized that the opposition cannot be trusted and counted for in times of hardship.
13. It is only the Prime Minister and his team in Barisan Nasional that is working hard for the Indian community and this has got the opposition worried. That is why they are attacking the government, it is because the initiatives introduced is gaining traction and showing good results for the community. We in BN will keep up the momentum and good work that is being done by the Prime Minister despite what is being said by the opposition.
*Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari*