SANDAKAN, SABAH – Sandakan Indian Association (SIA) President, Taren Sunil Manoharan, has appealed to the Sabah Pakatan Harapan Government to consider appointing Malaysian Indians into local councils and advisory boards to give them a platform to air their views.
Taren Sunil said, the association is confident that the Pakatan Harapan Sabah Government under the leadership of YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal will be bringing much progress and development to our state.
“However, we also hope that the Sabah Government will consider having Indian representation in the various local councils or advisory bodies so that they can contribute their ideas and also raise pertinent issues especially those affecting the livelihood of the local Indian Community. The move will also reflect the multi-racial facet of our Malaysian society,” he added.
He said SIA would like to see Indians being given a chance to play a role in formulating blue-prints that would benefit society as whole. They could give accurate and in-depth information and feedback on local issues, especially those concerning the Indian community.
“Although our Indian community is relatively small in number here in Sabah, we do play a significant role in the economic development of the state. Many of us are businessmen, plantation managers, traders, restaurant owners (especially the ubiquitous Indian Muslim eateries) as well as professionals like doctors, lawyers, educators and engineers. In the Government sector, local Indians have worked with dedication as teachers, police personnel, doctors as well as in other fields,” he stressed.
Taren Sunil added that the Indian community, just like other communities, has their own challenges to face in their daily lives. He believes that if they were given a platform in some government-sanctioned body to air their ideas, views and problems, many issues would be easier to resolve, especially with help from a caring Government.
As an example, he cited that there are quite a number of Indians who have been in Sabah for decades but have still not been able to secure ‘permanent residence’ status here.
“SIA has time and again appealed to the relevant authorities for help but to no avail. We believe that if there is an Indian representative (in the Chief Minister’s Office for example) to give accurate feedback, the issue could be easier understood and maybe resolved to the satisfaction of all parties concerned,” said Taren Sunil.
“Indian restaurant owners also have their grouses with regard to the complicated and costly process of recruiting Indian cooks and workers from overseas. Here again we believe an Indian representative could be of great help to explain their predicament to the relevant authorities,” he added.