The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) Perak branch is unhappy with the PAS-led Pakatan Rakyat Perak government over what it describes as “continuous marginalisation of Indians
ala Barisan Nasional.”
In its memorandum delivered to Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin’s office in Ipoh today, they criticised the state government for shirking on its 60 councillors in 15 local authorities promise.
A 15-member Hindraf delegation led by its coordinator A Vathe Murthi met Nizar’s special assistant in charge of Indian affairs M Nadaraja.
Their ire is directed at the reduced 48 Indian councillor appointments from a possible 338 which Vathe lambasted as “not proportionate to represent the interests of the already marginalised Perak Indian population.”
The Perak government did promise Hindraf and other state Indian groups 60 councillors.
The previous BN government had 41 Indian councillors across the state.
According to the Statistics Department, Perak houses some 300,000 Indians, or 13 percent of the state’s population, the country's second biggest after Selangor with 600,000.
He wants Nizar to revert back to the originally promised number.
Additional to that, Perak Hindraf is asking for affirmative policies to provide vast opportunities in all fields in both public and private sectors to marginalised Indians.
"It’s pointless to merely talk on correcting the wrongs done by the previous BN state government when one failed to prove it’s a government with a difference.
Nizar according to Perak Hindraf has to act firmly and fairly and meet its demands to prevent the movement resorting to other means to voice out their disapproval.
Vathe believes Pakatan Rakyat leaders should not forget the massive contribution of Makkal Sakti, one of Hindraf’s monikers.
A total 338 councillors were appointed by Perak on Monday.
Among them were 134 Chinese, 124 Malays, five representatives from special groups, such as Orang Asli and disabled people, and 27 from NGOs.
Besides Ipoh City Hall the other municipalities are Kuala Kangsar, Taiping, Manjung and Teluk Intan Hilir Perak, and the district councils of Grik, Kerian, Kinta Barat, Kinta Selatan, Lenggong, Pengkalan Hulu, Perak Tengah, Selama, Tanjung Malim and Tapah.
The other controversy present is the appointment of Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran as councillor in the city he represents in Parliament.
He is likely to be made deputy mayor, a move heavily criticised in Perak as driven by “greed and lust for power and control.”
“Kulasegaran should have given the post to another political worker,” lamented a politician from Pakatan Rakyat.
A certain number of Pakatan members are miffed by the large number of non-political appointments. They were made councillors at the expense of political members who toiled for Pakatan’s electoral success.
Among the non-political appointments were 18 engineers, 16 architects, 13 doctors, 11 lawyers, two professors, 12 honorary doctorates, 16 ex-teachers, 16 corporate managers, nine housing developers, 16 contractors, 65 businessmen, eight consultants, two supervisors, one former court president, eight datuks, one datuk laksamana and 18 NGO leaders.
Only 12 political workers were appointed, with the majority of political appointments going to political leaders.
The grassroots have rued that their political leaders have inherited ‘BN’s nepotism and cronyism’ in appointing their relatives and friends as councillors, while neglecting and ignoring them.
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