Raising Urban Poverty among People of Indian Origin in Malaysia must be addressed: Prof. K. S. Nathan

Published Date:   Sunday, May 29, 2016

A book launch and seminar held on 28th May, 2016, Saturday at Kamla Devi block, India International Centre, New Delhi, organized by GRFDT in association with Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) and National University of Malaysia. Speaking at the book launch, Prof. K. S. Nathan, co-editor of the book while highlighting the book, talked about the significance of Contemporary Malaysian Indian in the present context of Malaysian society. Malaysia is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country having 60% of immigrants from India and China. Indians immigrated to Malaysia during 1830s under the indentured system & therefore, share a large proportion among all Malaysian immigrants.  In this context, Prof. Nathan stated historical developments of Malaysian Indians focusing on caste, religion, culture, practices and socio-economic conditions. Highlighting the important aspects of the book, he raised some of the prominent issues such as discrimination, poverty, socio-economic problems faced by People of Indian Origin (PIO) in Malaysia. He also analyzed the problems such as lack of education, unemployment, poor dwelling conditions of health, and other civic facilities due to legal political gaps. In chapter 9 of the book, he drew attention towards the problem of citizenship of Malaysian Indians. Since long time, Indians immigrated to Malaysia are working as agricultural and plantation workers. Therefore, they still remain socio-economically downtrodden in the host-country. At present, there still exist many unskilled and semi-skilled Indian workers and laborers, who generally remain unaccounted in the census. He emphasized the significance of the documentation of the Indian laborers so as to provide them equal and just opportunities as equal citizens of Malaysia.

In addition to this, the civil society’s data and statistics also depict the negative growth rate among Malaysian Indians. Mainly, the urban poverty has become serious concern for the Malaysia today. In context of education, the low participation and retention of Malaysian Indians in schools persists due to various reasons such as poverty, unemployment, family issues and growing cases of child drug addiction etc. The book suggests the educational opportunities, facilities for trained teachers in schools, curriculum and courses in vernacular languages for the Malaysian Indians to provide them with inclusive development. Prof. Nathan highlighted the  emerging role of women entrepreneurs in the Malaysian economy. Though Indian Tamils have been sharing large percentage of the Indian Diaspora in Malaysia, there are other sub-ethnic groups like Malayalee, Telugu ethnicities residing over there since many decades.

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