Hindus, Christians – The Tamil dilemma

 |Mar 27, 2017

When the Jews, and the Irish Catholics in both the US and Europe felt the pain of exclusion and discrimination, the last thing they did was to bully their own and to fall into the pit of hopelessness of despair and destitution.

It is no different with the Chinese who fled China after the revolution of 1946.

They too faced hostilities, exclusion and marginalisation.

None of these groups demanded government bail them out.

They either captured government through indispensable socio economic contributions or helped themselves to what little was available, ensuring their positions were inviolable, indispensable and supremely secure.

The real test it is said of a community’s strength and integrity is how it comes together and reacts to adversity.

Adversity they say is the greatest teacher of all.

The Indians in particular the Tamils of Malaysia have complained long and bitterly about being marginalised, excluded and discriminated against by successive governments in Malaysia.

The time has come to test their own efforts of their own resources to remedy the problems they face, socially, economically and politically.

The Chinese it is known having lobbied secured generous scholarships from the governments of New Zealand, the UK and Australia for their own.

Not all of the recipients of these scholarships were straight ‘A’s’ students.

The same too for some economically well-off Indians who were backed by the various, temples, churches and benevolent societies to which they belonged.

An exception is the Indians from the lower socio-economic classes.

A test of whether the Tamils really have faith in their own is to ask Tamil businesses, professionals, their temples, benevolent organisations to set up scholarship funds for the needy.

After all scholarships are available for the ‘straight A’ types from conventional sources.

The candidates who slip through the cracks because of their economic circumstances is where the Tamils should look for potential and to fund.

But who amongst the wealthy Tamils and their institutions is ready to step up to the plate and to chance it amongst their own first before badgering government?

If they can’t or won’t, then that will reveal the extent of the trust deficit long suspected to exist within the Tamils as amongst themselves.

Unless the Tamils are able to take the initiative, they can’t expect any other community, least of all government to take a punt on their future.

The Catholic church under the near divine rule of the late Dominic Vendargon, a Sri Lankan Jaffna Tamil and a very powerful man with his hands on the purse strings of a wealthy church did very little for the poorer Tamils, it is said.

The evidence on the streets appears to substantiate this claim.

It is after all the Tamils who failed to make the grade and those who barely made it inspite of their potential, ignored by his church that ended up as gangsters and drunks by the wayside.

Ramon Navaratnam criticises government at random.

He is influential at Sunway.

What do people like him do for the marginalised Tamils other than to criticise government?

It is a question Ramon alone can respond to in context.

Vendargon’s successors in office continue to take disproportionately from the poorer Indians who flock to the many Catholic and other Christian churches throughout the country every Sunday.

Yet the evidence of any meaningful proportionate return in assistance to these poorer Indians is almost non existent.

In spite of this glaring omission of ‘good Christian charity’ to those who contribute most to the churches, the clergy has the time and resources to attack government for its perceived failures.

They gather at rallies they help to fund like Bersih (run by another uncaring Indian in Ambiga) whilst ignoring the deprived, desperate masses in their midst.

A recent photograph captured at a Bersih rally showed a priest of the Mar Thoma Syrian Christian church wearing a Bersih T-shirt in an open demonstration of his and his church’s partisan support for an anti government riot funded by the failed Hillary Clinton Global Initiative promoting regime change.

As if the example in Syria and Libya of failed regime change initiatives in human lives is not enough for them to learn from.

Closer to home, these priests whilst spewing anti-government rhetoric have failed even the most basic tests of accountability.

The Syrian Christian church the priest in question belongs to appears not even to be properly registered in Malaysia (on a recent check of records).

The conclusion one must draw from such a discovery about such an important omission is that, the church could be claiming (which they do) the benefits of the tax status of an exempt religious organisation.

They do not publish for scrutiny audits on the use of their funds (like donating to Berish).

If that is the case they are an unlawful institution.

If that suspicion is true their funds must vest in the Registrar of Societies or the courts till they are properly registered.

The same applies to the many Hindu temples, benevolent societies and religious organisations.

Being unregistered means being unaccountable.

Churches who ignore their faithful and the law must be brought to account.

The Chinese it seems always fare well with the churches as the middle class Indians do.

The record shows the Catholic church’s contribution towards the poor and its scholarships to the undeserving since the 1960’s demonstrates a sea of mediocrity and ‘connections’ funded by the church to capitation colleges in India using the money of the faithful to uplift the undeserving middle classes whilst the poor have had to go begging.

This practice endures to this day.

The Catholics too contributed significant sums of money to Bersih.

The Registrar of Societies does not have much in the sense of constitutional power that it was able to draw upon that it was aware of.

The reason for this is because of the way in which the Societies Act of 1966 (and amendments) itself was drafted.

It is pathetically poor in that it fails to identify the scope and extent of the Registrar’s powers.

There is much ambiguity and confusion in the Act on this point.

A recent example of the Registrar’s actions beyond its powers comes from its intervention in the Royal Selangor Club farce.

Nowhere in the Act does the Registrar have any powers to make a quasi judicial decision about the fairness or conduct of a contentious meeting by a private organisation.

But make a decision and judgement it did.

Faced with such competing forces of incompetence it is no wonder that the Tamils at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are frustrated and find no prospect for relief from their plight.

Unless the Tamils are themselves willing to take the initiative and to put to good use the resources vested in them by the least of their members, they have no moral high ground with which to run accusations against a government that had to cater for a number of communities, the vast majority of who made it easier for government to assist them.

These other communities help themselves first and what is impossible to achieve on their own without a leg up from government, the record will show, government has always within reason intervened.

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Gopal Raj Kumar is a MO reader and contributor.