Uthayakumar (left) said Hindraf sent its 18 demands to the government on Aug 12, 2007, but unfortunately till today, none of them have been implemented.
He said he welcomed the BN government’s sincerity in wanting to meet Hindraf as the 13th general election looms, “but we have been waiting for action or implementation on our demands, which has not forthcoming, although five years and three months have passed”.
"Hindraf wants a permanent solution to the Indian problems and not a one-off temporary payment to resolve the community problems," Uthayakumar told Malaysiakini when contacted today.
Therefore, if the Najib government implemented five of its demands by Jan 1, 2013, only then would Uthayakumar talk to Najib.
The five demands are:
- All 523 Tamil schools nationwide be made fully-aided government schools and land titles must to be issued to the schools by Jan 1, 2013. In addition, kindergartens are also to be set up in the schools, as most of the Indian children are illiterate as a result of their parents not being able to send them for early education.
- There are 150,000 stateless Indian children who do not have their birth certificates, and an estimated 300,000 parents who do not have identity cards and birth certificates and therefore, stateless. Hindraf wants these groups to be issued their birth certificate and MyKad.
- 10,000 places to be set aside for Indians in Giatmara (government-run youth centres), for the youth in the community to acquire skills.
- 10,000 places to be set aside for Indians in Universiti Teknologi Mara.
- 10,000 Indians to be granted land in various federal land schemes such as Felda, Felcra, and Risda to give them an opportunity to earn a living.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz told the media that Najib was willing to meet with Hindraf to discuss the Indian community’s issues.
"We feel even if it's the most extreme group like Hindraf, we will meet them as it is an inclusive approach," Nazri said.
The move follows Hindraf leaders’ meeting with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim at Parliament House last week to discuss the possibility of an electoral pact.
In March this year, Hindraf rallied in front of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in Putrajaya, complaining that Najib had ignored the group’s demands to rectify decades-old problems plaguing the Indian community.
'Najib must show political will'
Asked whether giving a Jan 1 deadline could be too short for Najib to meet the demands, Uthayakumar said the prime minister should have the political will to resolve the problems faced by the Indian community.
Using the registration of illegal foreign workers within 39 days as an example, he said the government registered more than two million foreigners within that time.
“Hence, this should not be a problem for the government, such as giving birth certificates and ICs to the stateless Indians and to meet the other demands - if the government has political will,” Uthayakumar said.
He said the recently-concluded United States presidential election saw Barack Obama, despite being from the minority African-American community, re-elected as president.
However, even after 50 years of independence, Indians in Malaysia continue to be marginalised.
“I have done a survey and there are no Indians employed by the government now, even office boys. This has resulted in the community continue to remain in poverty,” he said.
Uthyakumar also asked that all race-based policies in Malaysia be stopped and for everybody to be given equal opportunity.
While Najib has asked Indians for nambikei (trust) in him, Uthayakumar believes that the government should first deliver urimai (rights) to the Indian Malaysians.