PETALING JAYA: PKR today provided a document to substantiate its allegation that there were about 300,000 stateless Malaysian Indians in the country.
Speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters today, Subang MP R Sivarasa provided a census report made in the 1970 by then chief statistician of Malaysia, R Chander.
“Chander is a renowned statistician not only in Malaysia but also in the region,” Sivarasa said.
Also present were PKR vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar, N Surendran, supreme council member Khalid Jaafar and Kapar MP S Manickavasagam.
Also at their side were several Indian families who were denied citizenship by the National Registration Department (NRD).
Sivarasa explained that Chander’s projection for the population increase for 1990 for the Malay and Chinese communities was accurate.
“Chander projected that the Malay population would increase from 8 million to 8.9 million in 1990. In 1991, the census showed the Malay population was about 8.5 million.”
Sivarasa added that the Chinese population was about 4.6 million in 1991, which was in the range of Chander’s projection of between 4.5 million and 5.4 million.
“Chander projected that Indians would be between 1.4 million and 1.6 million in 1990 but the census showed that there were only about 1.3 million Indians. What happened to the rest?”
He attributed the lower figures to the mechanism used when the census was done in 1991, saying that the government only counted those with blue identification card.
“It’s already 2012 and I believe Surendran’s 300,000 estimate is a conservative figure. It could be much more now,” Sivarasa said.
He said the government should look into the matter as a Malaysian problem, adding that the right to citizenship is guaranteed under the Article 14 and 16 of the Federal Constitution.
MIC hoodwinking Indian community
Meanwhile, Surendran said that the stateless Malaysian Indians were victims of a systematic effort by the authorities to deprive the latter of their basic rights.
“And there are two groups here. One is those carrying red MyKads and the rest who have no birth documents whatsoever,” Surendran said.
Criticising the MyDaftar programme, he said the programme was an attempt by the MIC to hoodwink the Indian community.
He produced a letter from the NRD addressed to MIC secretary-general S Murugesan where the former rejected an application of citizenship from one G Vasantha Lakshimi, under Article 19 of the Federal Constitution.
“Why did the MIC apply citizenship for Vasantha under Article 19? That legislation is for foreigners. Vasantha was born in Kuala Lumpur. So, has the government been treating her as a foreigner all this while? asked Surendran.
In a related matter, Nurul said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein must explain the matter with immediate urgency.
“And MIC must stop making this into a racial issue. This is a Malaysian problem and the bureaucracy is a hindrance to resolve this issue,” she said.
Last Thursday, Surendran led a protest at the Parliament gates urging the government to solve the stateless Indians issue urgently.
In a related development, Murugesan said that he will send his officer tomorrow to PKR headquarters to collect information from Surendran over the matter.
“This is not about partisan politics. Let’s work together to help the Indian community,” he said.