NGOs to run community affairs of Malaysian Indians: Report

Kuala Lumpur, July 9 (IANS) The Malaysian government has decided to disburse funds aimed at development of the Malaysian Indian community through non-governmental organisations and training institutions following the leadership tussle within the country’s largest ethnic Indian party, a media report said on Thursday.

The department of Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community (SEDIC) would disburse the funds through selected NGOs and training institutions, and not through individuals or political parties, The Malaysian Insider quoted SEDIC Director N.S. Rajendran as saying.

Among the 11 areas identified for funding are development of Tamil schools, issuing of identity cards to undocumented Indians, university admissions and promoting Indian participation in the public sector.

“The proposals will go through different stages of screening before they are approved by the prime minister,” Rajendran said.

The 68-year-old Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), long perceived to be upholder of the rights of Indian Malaysians, is facing the danger of disintegration following differences of opinion between former party president G. Palanivel and acting president S. Subramaniam.

The Registrar of Societies, a statutory body, in December last year ordered the MIC to re-elect its 23 Central Working Committee members and three vice-presidents. It directed the party to hold the internal elections within 90 days.

But Palanivel made new appointments without prior consultation with the existing committee members and his deputy, who called the move arbitrary. The statutory body also held the appointments null and void.

“I don’t think we should focus too much on the MIC’s problems because in doing so, we are diverting our attention from our community’s problems. When it comes to empowering the Indians, NGOs have proven to be more reliable than political parties like the MIC,” Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) principal fellow K.S. Nathan said.

He added that Malaysian Indians have pinned all their hopes on civil society to help them fight for their cause.

The MIC is a part of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition of Malaysia.

Ethnic Indians comprise a litle over 7 percent of Malaysia’s total population of nearly 30 million.



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