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By Samuel Rutland

Anwar, Kit Siang losing a historic opportunity

I read with interest the article written by Dr Kua Kia Soong in Malaysiakini yesterday. I agree with Kua that Pakatan leaders are missing a historic prospect.

Take today's The Star Online report. Apparently, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak spoke on the Tamil edition of Bernama TV's Hello Malaysia programme on Astro Channel 502. He is unquestionably taking efforts to reach the Indian grassroots.

Najib has been undertaking this ever since assuming office and many were wondering whether his methods would gain result. Some made fun of his recent Ponggal gathering that drew 100,000 Indians. It was a joke as everyone knew MIC paid those who attended RM50 each. Najib too knew this, but he persisted.

In the Bernama talk show, Najib positively sent the message to the Indian grassroots, who make up 70 percent of the voters in 67 key Parliament seats, that he was reaching out to the movement that brought BN down, the Hindraf movement. He acknowledged that BN lost big time as result of losing the marginal Indian votes.

Najib also acknowledged that the Indians were kingmakers. Well if you folks think he said this just to entertain the Indian electorate, then you are mistaken. He linked the kingmakers to the Hindraf movement. That is the key plug that I suppose most of those in Pakatan Rakyat would miss out.

Najib went on to say that he was engaging with the Hindraf movement actively and has advised it that extreme ways would not pay, and that the Hindraf movement was acceptable to an amicable conclusion to the years of failure of MIC, which again Najib was clever to acknowledge.

So looks like the prime minister has done his part and is continuously doing his part. The psyche of the grassroots Indian community needs to be understood. They are not warmongers.

Hindraf set the tone and the warpath from 2005 and the community slowly accepted that "someone needed to bell the cat" and Hindraf was their hope. They threw their support behind Hindraf and thus the "neo revolution" of 2007. Hindraf became a household name.

The opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang took advantage of this uprising, but they were not bright enough to acknowledge the true faces behind the Hindraf uprising. Anwar knowingly acknowledged a planted police agent as the true Hindraf leader.

The true faces P Uthayakumar and P Waythamoorthy were conveniently sidelined. Pakatan Rakyat thought acknowledging and taking take the brothers on board would court them trouble. They conveniently developed the denial syndrome that BN adopted in 2006-2007. They refused to acknowledge the true leaders of Hindraf.

Anwar openly criticised Hindraf as an extremist movement overseas, and locally to select groups. Then, he went on to say that he does not know which Hindraf to deal with as Hindraf has been broken into five pieces - according to him.

But every ordinary Indian on the street would know who is leading Hindraf. Ask a child in the estate who the leader of Hindraf is and she would loudly say it is Waythamoorthy. The denial syndrome of Anwar and his Pakatan allies have made them believe their own lies.

Najib is doing his part. He sent his delegation to talk to Hindraf and convince them that he is a reformist and would love to work with Hindraf. Hindraf, on its part, demanded that the ban on it be lifted and it was done. Then the organisation was legalised and talks with Hindraf took place formally on the 17th day of Waythamoorthy's hunger strike.

Najib seems to understand the psyche of Indians. Hunger strike is the highest weapon of the Indian culture against injustices. Mahatma Gandhi used this as his sathya graha to fight the British and every Indian understands this as a true weapon of dharma which is the highest order of justice and truth.

Najib has been advised by someone intelligent to take the "risk" of dealing with Hindraf at the right moment. And he did exactly that. The Indian community was so proud that their leader, who was undertaking a fast for 17 days, took the trouble, though he was weak, to meet Najib.

History was created when Hindraf openly engaged with its one time oppressors. They spoke for an hour and Najib offered more talks and this is progressing. As I said, Najib is a smart politician, taking good advice.

Anwar, on the other hand, seems to believe his own lies and the lies of his weakened Indian leaders that they do not need Hindraf to deliver the Indian votes. Since the hunger strike, there has been a sudden drop of Indians at Pakatan ceramah rpogrammes and yet they continued to believe their own lies.

And then, suddenly, Anwar decided to adopt four minor points from the Hindraf Five-Year Blueprint. Kit Siang stunned the Indians with his Gelang Patah Declaration by plagiarising the Hindraf blueprint as the instant noodle solution to Indian woes. He listened to his Indian leaders and made an unintelligent cut-and-paste from the Hindraf blueprint.

It is unfortunate that seasoned politicians are repeating the mistakes of BN - the denial syndrome and believing their own lies. They have demonised Hindraf as extremist, just as Umno did in 2007. Hindraf is termed irrelevant, a mistake Umno had made.

Hindraf has empowered the Indians. The Indians want a conclusion to their problems. They are not warmongers and do not believe in rhetoric and political stunts.

Hindraf is well aware of the true needs of the Indian grassroots, who will be the kingmakers in 70 crucial Parliament seats. The underclass understand the Hindraf struggle and their commitment to finding a permanent solution to their problems.

With the denial syndrome of Anwar and Kit Siang, and they believing in their own lies, Pakatan is likely to lose Selangor and Kedah, while their hope of Putrajaya will remain their imagination forever. Unfortunately, PAS will be the biggest loser.