Book chronicles life of Malaysia`s ethnic Indians

Kuala Lumpur: A book that chronicles Malaysia`s efforts to improve the conditions of its 2.1 million ethnic Indians in the last decade has been unveiled here.
Titled "National Development Plans & Indians in Malaysia," the book articulates the official policies for the uplift of the community during the government`s 8th, 9th and 10th plans between 1999 and 2010.

"I put together in the book issues related to poverty, education, skills training, civil service, employment and social issues," said the author of the book, Denison Jayasooria, also an ethnic Indian, here over the weekend.

"I think you can use this (book) as a benchmark to see whether the government has delivered on many of the things that it promised, such as equality of opportunities in education, poverty and others, especially for the Indian community," said Jayasooria before the launch of the book by former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said the Indian community constitutes the bottom 40 percent of the multi-racial Malaysian population.

The first two parts of the book, which is divided into four parts with 30 chapters, are written in Bahasa Malaysia and the rest in English.

Not all policy documents have been circulated publicly or published before, as they were written and presented at various closed-door official meetings and forums, he added.

Jayasooria was appointed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in August as secretary to the "Special Implementation Task Force" to identify and monitor the participation of the Indian community in government projects and programmes in the prime minister`s department.

Badawi said that the book was meant for not only the Indian community but for all races to better understand the government`s public policy, The Star reported Saturday.

A task force under the country`s Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam, also an ethnic Indian, is currently touring the country to study the situation of the community.

The minister said last week that the problems confronting the community would be resolved by mid-2011. People from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and various south Indian states form part of the Indian community. However, a bulk of them are Tamils.

Many of them came here to work in tea gardens, rail and road projects and settled down during the British era.

A section of the population today feels it has been marginalised and complains about lack of education and job opportunities. Some groups have also complained about their religious shrines being relocated.



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