This is all but a Malaysian Tamils Blueprint

350 poor and hardcore poor Sikh families in Kinta Valley alone - RANJIT SINGH MALHI

Opinion  | Malaysia | 10 June 2017 | Asia Samachar |
Malaysian Indian Blueprint released by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in April 2017

The Malaysian Indian Blueprint is to all intents and purposes a “Malaysian Tamils Blueprint” as it focuses on improving the socio-economic status of the bottom 40% of the Indian community (a vast majority being Tamils) and upgrading Tamil education.

The blueprint talks about improving Indian vernacular education but no mention is made at all about Punjabi education which badly needs greater government funding. For the record, there is no mention at all of the Sikhs in the blueprint.

The words “Punjabis” and “Sikhism” are mentioned once in the blueprint. There is not even a single photograph focusing on the Sikhs or their institutions. What you have is a photograph on page 12 with a few Sikhs in the background together with hundreds of other Indians at a particular event.

SEE ALSO: Malaysia Indian Blueprint pushes Sikhs back to pre-2008

Ironically, the blueprint seeks greater inclusiveness of the Indian community (a minority within the Malaysian community) but is itself guilty of completely sidelining the Malaysian Sikh community.

One must “walk the talk” to promote trust and a sense of belonging. One must also not forget that the Sikh community contributed significantly towards nation building, particularly in maintaining law and order which greatly facilitated Malaysia’s economic development.

The Sikhs formed the backbone of the police and paramilitary forces of Malaya at least until 1914, and were numerically second only to the Malays before World War II. There are poor Sikh households that badly need support and assistance.

For example, according to Sardar Dheer Singh (a prominent activist) there are more than 350 poor and hardcore poor Sikh families in the Kinta District, Perak alone. I trust the Special Unit for Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community (SEDIC) will do the needful for the Sikh community which is part of the “Malaysian Indian” community.

Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi, who runs a management consultancy, completed his PhD in 2015 on the history of Sikhs in Malaya. He is passionate about writing history as “it is”.

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.


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