Tiger YB Devamany was embroiled in a bit of controversy yesterday at parliament and this was what I posted in the eGroup:
Tiger YB Devamany is a member of this eGroup even though he has been a silent crouching tiger so far. Maybe he would like to shed some light on this article that appeared in Malaysiakini. Check out the Al Jazeera interview at:
You guys can see for yourself. For my part, if YB Deva is not flip flopping then I would like to congratulate him for being a true Tiger and for breaking ranks. He is showing that a parliament should not just be about toadying. Time to step aside Mr Semi Value?
MIC MP: Rally reflects govt's failure
Nov 26, 07
A Barisan Nasional MP departed from the norm today when he said the rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) reflected the Indian community’s disgruntlement towards certain government policies.
K Devamany (MIC-Cameron Highlands) added that the rally proved the failure of government policies which do not benefit the Indians.
The ruling politician made the remark after interjecting Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) who argued that the rally was a cry of desperation from the Indians.
"Some 50,000 people took to the streets yesterday. It shows the government's failure and it needs to be looked into carefully," said Devamany.
The MIC MP stressed this point again during a different question which saw Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharum providing statistics on the number of Indians in the military, police and other security forces.
Johari said there are 3, 292 Indians in the police force, which makes 3.5 percent of the 94,729 police personnel in the country.
"We have also advertised in the media like newspapers, radio and television stations to increase the percentage," he added.
High hopes, limited avenues
Dissatisfied with the explanation, Devamany said even though the government promised many things to the Indians under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the community's reaction through the rally demonstrated its frustration.
"Youths from the lower and middle class participated in the rally. This goes to show that they are given high hopes but limited avenues to achieve.
"What are the actions taken by the government to prove that it is serious in eliminating poverty in the Indian community?" he asked.
At that point, Lim stood up and told Devamany not to be a hypocrite by practising double standards.
He was referring to Devamany's interview with satellite station Al-Jazeera yesterday, in which he condemned the rally.
Met at the Parliament lobby later, Devamany claimed that he was ‘set up’ by Al Jazeera which deliberately cut him off halfway during the interview.
"Al Jazeera did not allow me to finish my interview. I was initially told that the crowd was unruly and violent. So I gave my opinion that violence must not be condoned.
However, I wanted to add that if the crowd came in peace, the police must be cautious in exercising force," he explained.
Devamany also stressed that the government must give priority to underprivileged Indians.
"More opportunities must be given in the civil service, education and SME in terms of training and funding," he said, adding that the rally was a "voice from below" which must not be brushed aside.
"It is high time that the government give consideration to the grievances of the Indians," he said.
Resign from MIC
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, commenting on Devamany's response in the Dewan Rakyat, questioned where the latter got the fact that 50,000 people participated in the rally.
"Has he been demonstrating with the others to know that there were 50,000 people there?" he asked, adding that parliamentary debates must be based on facts.
"If he says that the government has failed, what does he stand for in MIC?" he asked.
He said if Devamany feels that the government has failed, the only honourable way is for him to resign from MIC.
"I believe the MIC is 100 percent behind the government," he added.