NGOs want Indian as Malacca CM

A coalition of 36 Indian NGOs feel that the time has come for the country to show its appreciation for the contributions of the Indian community.

(Free Malaysia Today) – A coalition of 36 Indian NGOs have urged both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to consider appointing an Indian as chief minister of Malacca after the next general election.

On its part, the People’s Welfare and Rights Coalition (Power) president S Gobi Krishnan said the coalition would submit memorandums to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim stating their claim.

“We find this request timely and most suitable as an appreciation to the Indian community in Malaysia,” he said, adding that to date no states had been helmed by an Indian chief minister.

He also said appointment of an Indian chief minister would also be a way for the two political parties to show their gratitude and fairness to the 1.8 million Indians in the country.

Gobi pointed out that Malacca had a rich heritage and history related to Indians evident from the many Indian settlements in this state.

“For example, the Sri Subramaniam Thuropathai Amman temple is one of the oldest in the country which dates back to about 200 years and the presence of the Indian Chitty sub-race,” he added.

Indians make up 10% out of the 788,706 population in the state. It has the highest concentration of Indians in terms of percentage compared to any other state in the country.

He said the idea of appointing an Indian chief minister in Malacca is not new as it was mooted by former MIC president John Thivy in the 1950s.

However, the request was not successful then, taking into account various considerations.

“We believe the time is right for such an appointment now. We have gained independence for over 54 years, as such this is possible at this moment,” said Gobi.

As Malacca is part of the Straits Settlement in Malaysia, other than Penang, this appointment is in line with the state constitution and can be done legally, he argued.

Recognising the Indians

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Party (HRP) said the request by the NGOs has some merit especially with the prime minister’s 1Malaysia slogan.

Central executive committee member S Thiagarajan said that the proposal is a long standing one but “Umno is still deaf to the issue.”

According to him, in 1956 the Penang Tamil Representative Council proposed to the Reid Commission for election of a Resident Commissioner in Penang and Malacca respectively.

The council then also proposed that the chief minister’s post in these two states be on a rotational system between Malays, Chinese and Indians.

“However, Umno has been reluctant to practise such a system,” he added. “I can daringly say that the Indian community is a major contributor for the nation’s development.”