MICA president Sivakumar also questions why the critics are silent on the issue of foreigners taking over business opportunities meant for Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Indian Commerce Association (MICA) took Umno Youth to task today for questioning the 46% stake held by Malindo Air chief executive officer Chandran Rama Murthy and his wife in the airline.

“The recent comments by Umno Youth is unwarranted. The rights of other races too are protected under the law,” said MICA president P Sivakumar.

He also questioned why the Umno Youth wing was silent over the issue of foreigners operating businesses by using licences and approvals meant for locals.

“The Pakistanis and Bangladeshis can open businesses even in night markets by marrying local women,” added Sivakumar, who is also Johor Indian Business Association chief.

“A 100% equity is held by Chinese investors in Bandar Iskandar region. Why are they not making noise?”

Last week, Umno Youth assistant secretary Mohamad Sahfri Ab Aziz said that the stakes in Malindo were different now then when the initial agreement for the airline was signed.

The dispute over the stake was first raised by right wing Malay group, Perkasa.

Media reports indicated that Chandran became a majority shareholder in the airline after bumiputera company National Aerospace and Defence Industries (Nadi) drastically reduced its stake in Malindo from 50% to 5%.

Malindo began as a joint venture between Nadi and Indonesia’s Lion Group.

Sivakumar also took the government to task for its failure to create a conducive environment for all Malaysians to prosper.

“All issues are looked from a racial lense. Where is the common national identity that is supposed to be for all Malaysians?”

He also said that no party should raise a fuss with the airline since it had met all the stipulated licensing requirements that was stated by the Malaysian Aviation Commission.

In the bigger perspective, he said that Umno should be sympathetic towards the Indian community.

“They should be encouraging, not discouraging. The Indians don’t control anything.”