Monday, February 18, 2008

Election Watch 2008 (6)

Media Sattement by Ishwar Nahappan on joining DAP in Penang.

Posted by Raja Petra
Sunday, 10 February 2008

My father, Tan Sri Athi Nahappan died, 32 years ago. On April 4th 1976, one month before he died, he made a speech at a dinner in his honour by the Penang State MIC at Wisma Perseketuan.

Let me read you a paragraph from his speech.

(Quote) "The Government is now concerned with the eradication of poverty of all the races. This will be emphasized in our 3rd Malaysia Plan.

Poverty is to be found in every community. In solving poverty we should not think of Malay poverty, Chinese poverty or Indian poverty. There can only be one poverty and that is NATIONAL POVERTY which must be solved regardless of race. I am aware that the Prime Minister (Tun Hussein Onn) is determined to eliminate the poverty of the nation as a whole. The answer to poverty is the equal distribution of opportunities, income and wealth. The MIC is determined to work with the govt to ensure that this will happen." (End of Quote)

A few weeks ago Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said (Quote) "There are not just poor Indians, but also poor Chinese, Malays and other Bumiputras as well. This is why eradicating poverty among Malaysians, and I stress the word Malaysians, has been on our agenda and remains one of our priorities." (End of quote)

Ladies and gentleman, what Prime Minister Badawi said was first mentioned by my father 32 years ago. Obviously, nothing has changed and the Barisan government continues to make empty promises.

Events of recent months have clearly shown that the MIC leadership has dismally failed in their duty to ensure that the Indian community has had equal opportunities or equal distribution of wealth and income as outlined by my father in 1976. In fact, the MIC has totally neglected to address the desperate conditions faced by large sections of the Malaysian Indian community. This transcends every facet of human life and endeavor.

Whether it is in EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION, HOUSING, CORPORATE WEALTH or simply EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES, the Indian Community as a whole has fallen behind and missed out these last 28 years. Let me give you some facts.

*There are less than 3-4% Indians studying in the Govt Universities.

*Indians comprise less than 1% of those who were given the opportunity to study Nursing in the various Government
Nursing Colleges .

*Malaysian Indians have, over a fifteen year period, comprised less than 2.5% of the annual student intake of teacher
training colleges.

*Malaysian Indians have received less than 1% of all scholarships awarded by Govt and Govt-related bodies .

*Less than 1% of those training as officer cadets in Military Colleges are Indians.

*For the last 15 years, Indians have numbered less than 2% annually of those who underwent training as police officers.

*The situation in the Malaysian Civil Service is even more grim and appalling. One can walk into any Govt department and
you will be hard pressed to find an Indian or Chinese in the clerical and administrative sections. For example, in the
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in KL, out of 400 staff, there are only 2 Indians and 3 Chinese.

*The KTM , which was a traditional source of employment for the Indian Community , is recruiting less than 3% Indians on
an annual basis.

*As of 6th Feb'08 , the total market capitalization of the KLCI was 764 Bln ringgit. I estimate the Malaysian Indian Community
accounts for less than 1% of the listed Corporate wealth of the country .

In 1971, three foreign Indian banks then operating in Malaysia prior to Independence were merged as the United Asian Bank. A signatory to the merger documents was my late father. In 1973 the United Asian Bank started operations, with one of its management objectives, to provide capital and financial support to Indian entrepreneurial development . Another objective was to provide management training for Malaysian Indians. As a matter of interest, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was one of the bank's earliest management trainees.

Like many Malaysian banks during the 1980's , UAB got into problems from which it largely recovered . However, unlike the other banks, UAB was forced to merge with the Bank of Commerce in the early 90s.

There lies another story ----- THE UNSEEN HAND OF DAIM.

Another Malaysia Indian based bank at that time was Bank Buruh. That bank, too, was also forced to merge with Bank Simpanan Nasional. Malaysian Indians effectively lost the only 2 banks that they had control of. When approached by many members of the community to prevent this happening, including a special delegation, Dato Samy Vellu , the purported leader of the Indian Community, responded " MY HANDS ARE TIED . THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ".

As a result, the Indian Community as a whole have been without the support of an Indian based Financial Institution . Now we are informed that Dato Vel Pari the Managing Director of MAIKA Holdings and SAMY VELLU's son is selling off the only remaining financial institution which the community at least has some indirect interest. That is United Oriental Assurance.

The MIC and the Govt originally refused to admit and maintained a state of denial about the genuine issues raised by Hindraf. Now that the elections are about to be announced and the Govt , in particular the PM and DPM , have softened their positions and typically distributing their token largesse, including declaring a public holiday for Thaipusam. Prime Minister, we do not want a public holiday. What we want is jobs and equal opportunities. Malaysia has enough public holidays.

Even the great Samy Vellu now admits he needs to change the MP's and the faces of MIC . The deputy PM has even gone on to suggest that the MIC rebrand itself . Dear Dato Samy Velu, can I suggest that a more appropriate brand for the Malaysian Indian Congress be "The Malaysian Indian Conmen"?

In the early 1970's when I was a student in London , Samy Vellu advised me, in a taxi drive from London Heathrow airport, the subject matter being a watch and his application to the ARIBA . I will hold that discussion in confidence but I would now like to advise him that YOU CAN CON SOME OF THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME BUT YOU CANNOT CON ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME . In the eyes of many, he has single handedly been responsible for the current plight of the Indian Community than any other person but even more insidious than that , he has largely destroyed their self respect and pride. Whilst over the past 30 years, the Indian diaspora all over the world has progressed and excelled in all aspects of human endeavour , the Indian community as a whole has regressed and is today in a worse state than it has ever been .


I have not taken the decision to support the DAP and Keadilan lightly . Prior to the elections in 1999 , totally disgusted with Dr Mahathir and everything he represented, I met Datin Sri Wan Azizah Ismail as well as Kit Siang and offered my support to both of them. At that time I was not prepared to openly support either party . However, I went on to spend some time with Kit Siang in the run up to polling day in Penang. I also spent a little time with Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj who stood against Samy Vellu . It was a David vs Goliath match. I leave you no guesses as to who Goliath was both in shape and mentality but unfortunately unlike the biblical story, David was beaten by Goliath.

In the general election of 2004, like dead men clutching at straws , so many of us put our trust in Pak Lah hoping and praying that with the departure of the dreaded Mahathir , Pak Lah would bring some fundamental change to the state of the nation and I did not offer any support to either Keadilan or DAP.

Alas, this was not to be as we have merely exchanged a wolf in sheep's clothing for a sheep in sheep's clothing, and the wool continues to be pulled over our eyes. And nothing has changed or will change with the current leadership as these failed policies will continue in different clothing.

Symptoms of these failed policies include ……

1. The Evil of Corruption:

The same endemic corruption that started and flourished with the advent of the Mahathir and Daim eras continues unabated with a life of its own and always with subsequent cover ups. We have the 6.75 Bln Ringgit naval boat fiasco unearthed by none other than the auditor general and the 4.60 Bln Ringgit Port Klang free Zone Ghost town.

2. The Evil ISA:

The continuance of this evil draconian act which was used by the British over 50 years ago against communist terrorists has been viciously brought to bear on 5 innocent men who have merely identified the plight of ordinary Malaysian Citizens.

3. The Evil Police Brutality:

The recent demonstrations by 2000 peaceful lawyers defending fundamental democratic rights and the constitution was met with such ferocity by the police, with overhead helicopters and water cannons being used against them.

Innocent Hindraf supporters were sprayed with chemical laced water. In this room we have a living example of police brutality. Memories are so short but it was Dato Anwar Ibrahim who was beaten up brutally by the IGP, who directly reported to Mahathir as Home Minister, who if we remember, tried initially to claim that the injuries were self-inflicted.

4. The Evil of Violence:

Pak Lah promised that the Barisan Nasional will improve the level of personal safety of every individual and it would enhance the efficiency of the police force. Individual Security has deteriorated to such a level that ordinary citizens fear to walk the streets alone even during midday or go into carparks of shopping centres. Till today the police have failed miserably in apprehending the perpetrators of the vicious sodomy and murder of a 9-year-old girl in Selayang, nor the murderer of 8-year-old Nurin Jazlin from Kampng Bahru .

Without proper employment opportunities, low self esteem Indian thugs roam the streets and it was just 4 weeks ago that an Indian lady with 2 young children had her neck decapitated for her gold necklace in Taman Sentosa near Klang. In Johor Bahru, the sister of a well known Singaporean author died as a result of her head being bashed in by armed robbers while bystanders were unable to do anything. Crimes like this are becoming so rampant that neighbourhood vigilante groups are growing.

And according to the Prime Minister, quote "The current police training academy cannot accommodate a surge in trainees, more centres need to be built first. The ratio of police to the population ideally should be 1:250 people but, in Subang, for example, the ratio is 1:3,000." (End of quote)

This is clearly a complete lack of planning. If the Prime Minister, who is also the Home Minister is not sleeping, who is?

5. The Evil of Communalism :

Communalism continues to be perpetrated by keris-wielding Barisan leaders who, bankrupt of real ideas or solutions, continue to play politics of the lowest order. MCA leaders are told to shut up, and they meekly sokong. Families have been devastated by the intrusion by officers to retrieve dead bodies of their kin in the name of religion. Communalism has spread to the very fabric of our schools , our colleges and universities. Even at the Primary school level, children of different races do not mix with each other and stick to their own communities. This is a sad situation and does not bode well for the future of our country.

6. The Evil of Overspending :

We have seen the reintroduction of 150 bln ringgit worth of mega projects. It remains to be seen who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of some of these mega projects but if history is anything to go by, then the spoils will be shared by the Putras of UMNO, MCA and MIC. These mega projects are taking place despite the ordinary man having to face harsh realities of rising prices of fuel , cooking oil , rice and basic subsistence commodities.

This evil that is destroying the state of this nation just cannot go on .

Edmund Burke , a famous 18th Century Irish political commentator said …" ALL THAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS THAT ORDINARY MEN DO NOTHING "

I decided to stop being an arm chair politician and do something. I am here today because I believe that our nation is on a slow but steady path to irreversible ruin. Our people, and the children of our people, will not prosper or have the chance to prosper as they rightfully deserve unless we all realize the urgency of the situation, and the necessity of each and everyone of us standing up to say NO MORE!

Thank you.

"Take Charge and Take Care"
Nesa - 012 311 2382 (mobile)