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Jan 31, 2008

Gerakan forms task force on Indians

Election Special : Gerakan forms task force on Indians

Gerakan has formed a special task force on the Indian community which will be headed by party vice-president S Vijayaratnam.

In a statement today, the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party said there are four sub-committees to look into the various problems faced by the community.

The sub-committees are focusing on education, religion and cultural affairs, employment and entrepreneurship as well as social and family development.

As for education, Vijayaratnam said the committee has recommended the establishment of kindergartens in Tamil schools.

"This is based on the experience of the Maju-Diri organisation in Penang, which has successfully implemented the scheme in some Tamil schools in the state.

"We intend to expand this to other states through the cooperation of Gerakan elected representatives," he added.

Database on temples

On religion, Vijayaratnam said a database is being set-up on registered and unregistered temples nationwide.

"In this we will seek the assistance of other related associations, non-governmental organisations and other BN parties," he added.

Under employment, the vice-president said the committee is exploring ways and means of getting jobs for Indians in various sectors, including the civil service.

"We will also get Indians acquainted with SMEs, small businesses and help locate and obtain financial assistance and loans from banks, government sources, etc."

As for social issues, the committee is addressing problems such as alcoholism and domestic violence.

"Gerakan resource centre (Sedar) will also be involved. The committee will also look into sourcing funds to finance the various activities proposed," said Vijayaratnam.

Other members on the committee are vice-chairman and party vice-president Dr Teng Hock Nan, party deputy secretary-general Lum Wng Keong, central committee members Gooi Hoe Hin and A Kohilan Pillay, Youth central committee member G Krishnan, Wanita central committee member B Jayanthi and Penang state liaison committee member N Gobalakrishnan.

Vijayaratnam said more members will be appointed in future.

The plight of the Indian community in Malaysia made headlines following the Nov 25 massive street rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

While the government has accused the movement of being an extremist outfit, observers credit it for spawning a political awakening in the community and forcing the government to act on the community’s grouses and woes.

Five key leaders of Hindraf are currently being detained without trial under the Internal Security Act.


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