PETALING JAYA: Just days after Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers conceded that the opposition pact, which rode to victory in five states on the wave of Indian support in 2008, had failed the community, a legislator revealed that several motions beneficial to Indians had been dismissed by the Selangor State Legislative Assembly.
According to Kota Alam Shah state assemblyman M Manoharan, the assembly has dismissed seven motions which he had tabled in July.
He said if the motions had been passed and become law, not only would the Indians have benefited but all the poor in Selangor would have also found reprieve.
Explaining the motions, Manoharan said he had moved for a Felda-like scheme involving 2,000 acres of land to be set up for 200 hardcore Indian poor in Selangor.
He had also moved for a RM10 million fund to be set up to assist Indians in small and medium enterpries in the state.
“I also tabled a motion to set up an Indian affairs bureau under the purview of the menteri besar and asked for at least 10 acres of land for all Tamil and Chinese schools in the state,” he said.
The other three motions he had tabled were renaming Jalan Barat in Petaling Jaya to Jalan V David to commemorate the late unionist, a seven percent discount for all poor Malaysians who are purchasing homes from the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) and a “no demolition” order or shifting of temples erected in the state before 2008.
“But the only motion that was accepted by the assembly was the temple order.
“But that too they (Pakatan lawmakers) tweaked to read no demolition or shifting a temple without the approval of the executive council in charge,” said Manoharan, who added that he will again table the same motions in October sitting of the assembly.
Land and housing
Manoharan, who was upset with the dismissal of his bids, said it was “high-time Indians enjoyed the benefits denied to them since Independence”.
“About one-third of the entire Indian population in Malaysia lives in Selangor.
“If the motions had been passed and become law, they would not only help Indians but also all those who are poor in the state.
“I asked for the land so that we can teach the Indian community to cultivate it for agriculture or livestock.
“This would also empower our youths and deter them from joining criminal activities,” said Manoharan, who is from the DAP.
On the housing issue, he said owning a house was a basic necessity for everyone.
He added that PKNS was in a position to assist Indians and the low-income earner acquire homes.
“PKNS is an established property company and it makes money from its housing projects.
“Surely, it can help our low-income people by offering discount.
“Besides, the Menteri Besar (Khalid Ibrahim) is the chairman of the government-linked agency and he can monitor it directly,” said Manoharan.
Asked why the other Pakatan state assemblymen refused to support his motion, Manoharan said it could be due to fear of losing Malay votes.
However, he added that even the Malay assemblymen were aware that the Indians were left behind in many areas.
“Some lawmakers did come to me after the state assembly meeting and said my ideas were good.
“But when I asked why they didn’t support it then, they kept mum,” he said.
However, Manoharan stopped short of criticising the Pakatan state government, saying the assemblymen now enjoyed more freedom to table their motions unlike in the previous state government.
“The Indian representatives then would not even dare to table such motions.
“I must thank our current speaker (Teng Chang Khim) for allowing more freedom in the assembly.
“And I am going to table the motions again in the next state assembly sitting in October. I’m confident my fellow Pakatan assemblymen will support me,” said Manoharan.
Meanwhile, newly appointed Senator V Subramaniam, from MIC, supports Manoharan’s motions, saying the ideas “were good”.
Subramaniam, however, conceded that allocating 10 acres for Tamil schools in Selangor would be tough as some schools were located in densely populated areas like Petaling Jaya where land is scarce.
“However, the rest of the motions are good. The (state assembly’s) rejection shows that Pakatan is not sincere in helping the Indians despite riding high on the community’s votes in 2008,” said Subramaniam, who is better known as Barat Maniam.
Subramaniam, who is Petaling Jaya MIC’s division chief, said if BN wins Selangor in the next polls, MIC representatives will support the motion to improve the Indians’ lot in the state.
“The ideas are in line with the 1Malaysia concept. If we win in the next polls, we will look out for the welfare of all Malaysians.
“Besides, that is why we are elected into the post,” he said.
Last week, Indian DAP leaders conceded that the opposition pact had failed the community after having a closed-door meeting involving 50 DAP members, including lawmakers.
One DAP member said that Pakatan is doing “another BN” for Indians in Selangor, Penang and Kedah.
Among those present at the meeting were DAP national vice-chairman and Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran, Penang DAP deputy chairman and deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, Perak DAP deputy chairman and Tronoh assemblyman V Sivakumar, Perak DAP vice-chairman and Sungkai assemblyman A Sivanesan and former ISA detainee V Ganapathirau.
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