Day 19

Posted On August 9, 2007

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Most Malay states in the early days had a growing Indian population, many of whom were Muslim traders. Among them were men who moved easily between two cultures. It was not uncommon for an Indian trader to have “one wife in India and one in Perak” as mentioned in the Misa Melayu.
In the 19th century, Indians arrived to meet the demands for cheap labour in the British owned sugar and coffee plantations. The demand for Indian workers intensified when rubber was introduced in 1905. The colonial government became directly involved in the recruitment process. Many of them were Hindus from South India.
Partly because of the lack of resources to pay for their return to homeland, many stayed on. However, fewer career options subjected many to alienation and exploitation in the estates. As a result, a group of locally born poor Indians was overlooked and denied of their rights to identity and citizenship after the Independence.
When the manufacturing and service industries supplanted agriculture, many workers lost their jobs and their livelihood was severely affected. Nonetheless, the Indians who were already engaging in commercial activities, especially the Muslim Indians, prospered.
Indians are the smallest of the three main ethnic groups and controlled only about 1.5 per cent of the country’s wealth.


1. Praise God for
a. His love for the Indians.
b. Those who have laboured in the plantations and contributed to the economic growth.
c. Those who are committed to take care of the poor and needy, especially the orphans.
d. The missionaries in the early days who served among the Indians.
2. The government to properly address the plight of the stateless local born Indians who do not have access to education, health care, employment and housing.
3. The less privileged Indians not to be left out in government development projects.
4. The rich Indians to be willing to help the less privileged by creating opportunities for jobs (especially in the rural areas), skill-training and self-reliance.
5. Salt & light:
a. Christians to demonstrate God’s goodness in the communities, marketplace and public sector.
b. Tamil-speaking churches to stand firm and be actively involved in the community, bearing witness to God’s goodness.


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