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Sept 13, 2000

Help before it's too late

Once again the sad truth about the Indian dilemma resurfaces. This time, it is about more Indians in crime as reported by Federal Police CID deputy director Ramli Yusof in The Sun (Sept 10).

Firstly we would like to commend S Samy Vellu for graciously admitting that the BN government is not doing enough to address this problem. Once again, we call upon the government to address all and any social problems irrespective of which ethnic group it affects the most.

The alarming statistics revealed by the CID deputy director should be taken as a strong and serious signal to the BN government that it is no illusion that the Malaysian Indians are degenerating into the African Americans of Malaysia and if left unchecked would be a serious national liability by the year 2020.

Ramli said, in 1996 the police arrested 69 Indian gangsters followed by 130 in 1997,162 in 1998 and 179 last year. Within three years there is a 100 percent increase in Indian gangsters.

Between January and Aug 31 this year, another 111 were arrested. Ramli said that all the 651 were detained under the Emergency Ordinance (This is another abuse of police powers as every man is presumed innocent until proven guilty and yet again the police not only seem to have taken the easy way out but also what appears to be "Summary Justice" or may be "cost-effective Justice").

Of the number, Ramli says 269 were involved in robberies, 57 in murder cases while the remaining were caught for other serious crimes such as kidnapping and extortion. Out of 651 arrested, 594 involve basically offences which are committed for monetary benefit and only 57 committed physical injuries.

Ramli also said that Indian gangsters represented the highest at 186 at the Simpang Renggam Prison under the Emergency Ordinance, followed by the Chinese (162), Malays (60) and other races (10). This is particularly alarming as the Indians form only 10 percent of the population in Malaysia.

Ramli was also reported to have said that financial problems, lack of education, bad influence and influence from Tamil movies portraying criminals as heroes were among the main causes of the crimes committed, particularly with youths who had moved from the rural areas to the city.

The BN government has never respected the Education Act 1967 which makes the provision of basic education for primary Tamil School students, compulsory. It makes a mockery of the law when the BN government on the one hand makes schooling compulsory at least up to Standard Six, but refuses to fully aid 98 percent of these Tamil schools, thus leaving them in the lurch and ending up as the breeding grounds for what is today the Indian gangster problem.

Taxpayers' money would be put to better use when granted to Tamil schools instead of spending them on the Simpang Renggam Prison. The parents of these Tamil school students are themselves in the poor or hardcore poor category and, after 43 years of independence, are not even getting a minimum wage. Their homes more often have one bedroom or none at all, quarters which do not provide a conducive learning environment at all.

When their estates have to make way for industrialisation, these youths are forced to migrate to the cities and towns. There is no affirmative action by the BN government to either train these youths in some skills or provide them with loans to venture into small businesses.

Armed with no proper education and no skills, they fall prey to, and eventually become, Indian gangsters. When caught, they spend years behind bars and this does not make it any easier for their children who take off from where their fathers stop. So the saga is a continuing saga and poverty leads to poverty.

P Uthayakumar
Secretary-general (protem)
Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia