KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Penang’s Deputy Chief Minister (II) P. Ramasamy today expressed disappointment with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet appointments, pointing to a lack of representation from leaders of the ethnic Indian community.
Taking to Facebook, the former MP said hopes that the new unity government would see the appointments of a few ethnic Indian ministers from PKR and DAP did not materialise apart from DAP’s V. Sivakumar who was appointed as the human resource minister.
“If Anwar could go the extent of awarding Cabinet positions to those lost in the GE15, surely he could have provided some recognition for Indian leaders.
“There have been no ministerial appointments from PKR, the party that has nearly 40 per cent of its membership from the Indian community,” he said.
Those who lost their seats in the 15th general election but were awarded Cabinet post were PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution who lost the Kulim-Bandar Baru seat but was appointed home minister, and Umno’s Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz who lost Kuala Selangor but appointed international trade and industry minister.
Anwar has yet to name any deputy ministers.
Ramasamy added that this was despite the Indian community shifting its political allegiance to then Pakatan Rakyat (PR) since the 2008 general election and had “flocked en masse” to throw their weight behind DAP and PKR.
He said voters now wish for an institution that will respect their equal rights in the country, adding that today there are more Indian MPs and state assemblymen in Pakatan Harapan (PH) than in any other political coalition.
He said while the Indian community here might be a minority, still “no serious minded political parties or coalitions are willing to ignore them at their own peril”, adding that more than 80 per cent of the community supports PH.
“Indians, given their unenviable position in the country, looked forward to the leadership of Anwar to steer the country from the present political, economic and social mess. They want the present racial and religious discrimination to be done away with gradually.
“This not a tall order, but something that citizens have the moral right to ask from a government that they think will take care of the rights of Malaysians irrespective of ethnic or religious differences,” he added.
Ramasamy said that the Indian community also does not expect the present unity government anchored by PH to improve their wellbeing overnight, and are prepared for a long ride in anticipation of a bright future for their children and grandchildren.
“Given their level of support to PH, Indians expect to be fairly rewarded for their intense loyalty and political commitment. The community wants their leaders to be awarded posts in the government as form of recognition of their community’s immense contribution to the country.
“If the new government is not prepared to recognise the Indians, then where do they go from here?” he asked.