This Parliamentary Roundtable on Indian youth gangsterism is most pertinent and timely, not only because the problem has become even more acute and serious in recent years but also because it has been two-decades in the making.
I remember that twenty years ago in April 1992, I had devoted my speech in the debate on the Royal Address in Parliament calling on the government to hear the cry of despair and hopelessness of the Malaysian Indians so as to address the fundamental problems confronting nation-building in Malaysia.
I had spoken of the growing sense of deprivation of the Malaysian Indians, who felt that the government had not been able to do much to improve the plight of the Malaysian Indian estate workers in particular and the Malaysian Indians in general.
For the increasingly displaced and alienated Indian estate workers, the alternative they faced in moving out of the estates was low-productivity jobs in the urban areas – which launched them on the vicious socio-economic cycle resulting in the very serious phenomenon of Indian youth gangsterism today, aggravated by poverty and long-standing socio-economic and educational marginalisation and discrimination.
The problem of Indian youth gangsterism has worsened in the past few years, underlined by the fact that the crime rate and the criminal involvement of Indian youths are completely out of proportion with their numbers and Indian percentage in the multi-racial Malaysian population.
We must aim at a two-prong major breakthrough to this problem, viz:
• Firstly, to convince all stakeholders and power-holders in the country that this is not just an Indian problem but a national problem; and
• Secondly, to break the back of the worsening problem of Indian youth gangsterism which needs a holistic approach involving socio-economic and educational dimensions.
Towards this objective, I would propose that the government set up a high-powered Commission of Inquiry, involving all sectors of Malaysian society, to highlight the causes and solutions to the problem as the first step to break the back of this worsening problem of Indian youth gangsterism in our country.
(Remarks by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor Lim Kit Siang at the Parliamentary Roundtable on Indian youth gangsterism held at Parliament House on Thursday, 18th October 2012)