Malaysian Government must reach out to Malay Indians

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Kuala Lumpur, Oct.18 : Even as Malaysian Indians are trying to figure out which channel to use to forward their complaints and suggestions to the Government in the wake of the ban on the HINDRAF, which primarily represents them, there is a view generating that the Government can begin addressing the grievances of the community in a comprehensive rather than a patchwork manner.

According to the New Strait Times, some weeks back the Government did announce more jobs in the civil service for non-Malays, that the police and the armed forces are opening up to admit more non-Malays and even the ratio of scholarships for non-Malays have been upped to nearly 50 percent.

These measures were well received by most Malay Indians, although the level of suspicion remained high, especially over the continued incarceration of the five HINDRAF lawyers under the Internal Security Act.

But whatever little goodwill that has come its way has been erased with the ban on HINDRAF and the Malaysian Government's readiness to use the "big stick" against HINDRAF supporters, who only till a few years ago were the biggest supporters of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and the ruling Barisan Nasional.

"Any tough action now is not going to endear Indians to the Government. Some of the grievances that the Indians are facing must be addressed immediately and the Government should reopen dialogue with the community," said Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.

The question now is how the Government intends to reconnect with the community after such a hasty, unwise and ill thought out move?

Relying solely on MIC chief Samy Vellu will be insufficient because he has already "spoken up" for the community for nearly 30 years and the themes he still articulates are all well known, tried and have failed to lift the Indian poor.

Will HINDRAF supporters give up their struggle for the Tamil underclass and call it a day or will a hardcore section go underground and abroad and continue the struggle?

Although HINDRAF had anticipated the ban, its leaders are still in shock and undecided over their next move.

HINDRAF chairman P. Waythamoorthy, who is in London, called for "no action" for now to assess the reaction to the ban.

ANI

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