The Indian dilemma under Pakatan Harapan

The recent matriculation intake has created an uproar among the Indian community when only 700 Indian students were announced qualified for the programme’s intake compare to previous 2,200 seats.

The upheaval continued further after an explanatory statement reportedly released by the ministry of education which said last year’s intake which had 2,200 Indian students and 1,000 Chinese students ‘was a one-off’.

The report also quoted the Education Minister Mazlee Malik as saying that meritocracy-based intake policy for 90% bumiputra and 10% non-bumiputra would be maintained this year.

Hence, former education Minister Mahdzir Khalid and his former deputy P.Kamalanathan  refuted Maszlee’s claim that the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government had only made a “one-off” offer to 2,200 Indian students to undertake matriculation courses last year.

Mahdzir also dismissed Maszlee’s claim that the previous government had offered an increased number of seats to Indian students last year to fill up the bumiputra quota vacancies.

The Umno lawmaker pointed out that the previous BN government was committed to fulfilling the 10-year Malaysian Indian Community Action Plan launched on April 23, 2017, to increase enrollment of Indian students into public universities, colleges and polytechnic institutions by at least 7%.

Meanwhile, Kamalanathan said he was stunned by the reasoning given and called for clarification from the Education Ministry.

He said the numbers announced last year was part of the ministry’s policy to see more Chinese and Indian students qualify for the programme.

The MIC man also said this was the first step in providing an initiative for bright Indian and Chinese students to gain entry into the elite public institutions of higher learning.

Besides the duo, there were also criticism from Pakatan Harapan (PH) Indian leaders.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II, P. Ramasamy also took Mazlee to task by questioning if the Pribumi lawmaker is aware of what is happening to the admission imbroglio of the matriculation.

Ramasamy, a DAP lawmaker slammed Mazlee in his Facebook posting that he understands the minister’s initial “infatuation” with the weight of schoolbags and the colour of shoes, but expects him to provide leadership to address some of the perplexing problems of education, such as the controversial problem of admission.

Indians, the third largest ethnic group in Malaysia, who once were said to be BN’s fixed deposit voters took a paradigm shift in GE14 and voted for PH hoping for a change.

In the pre-GE14 campaign, PH’s chairman Mahathir Mohamed promised the sky and moon to Indians. Mahathir, in a few campaigns, openly said that he was partly guilty of neglecting the community during his first tenure as prime minister and apologised.

Mahathir was also backed by Hindraf’s supremo P. Waytha Moorthy who is now appointed as a senator and given the National Unity and Social Wellbeing Minister portfolio in Prime Minister’s Department.

Waytha who went by ‘Zero vote for BN and MIC’ campaign criticised the former ruling party and alleged that the coalition was maneuvering the country with racist policies and begged Indians to vote PH for a better future.

Besides Waytha, each and every Indian politician in PH, went on attack mode bashing MIC claiming that the Indian based party in BN has failed the community. Everyone promised a better future for Indians if PH comes into power under Mahathir.  

A permanent solution for the Indian woes were promised.  

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the Indian community decided to go after this ‘Unknown Angel’.

What happened after GE14 is history. Whatever was promised are not to be seen yet after almost a year.

Although there are four Indian ministers and a deputy, when comes to Indian issues, there will be only pin drop silence. Worst still, in this matriculation issue. Although there were reports claiming all Indian leaders in PH met recently in Putrajaya to discuss this issue, nothing concrete is out yet.  

The only statement was from Mahathir who said they are going to discuss this matter and will come up with an amicable solution.

If Mahathir really feels sorry for the Indian community, he should keep his promises in his manifesto and show a special interest towards the Indian Malaysian community as he has promised.

He should focus on rectifying the damage that took place during his 22-year tenure which was admitted by him during his election campaigns.

Just to remind Mahathir, these are among the few he promised was to waive the red identify cards and grant citizenship, provide equal opportunities for scholarships and university seats, provide equal job and promotion opportunities and the list goes on.

This education issue is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot promised to the Indians but are being overlooked by Mahathir putting the community in a dilemma if voting him back was the right thing they did.

Mahathir should not take the Indians for granted. The Rantau by-election saw a swing of Indian voters. The same could happen in GE15.

If this Indian dilemma continues, welcome back BN in GE15.

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