It is strange that S Samy Vellu is defending the government’s actions against Hindraf on Al Jazeera. Why fear a group wanting to hand a petition to the British High Commission? Samy Vellu was lying through his teeth when he said that the British High Commission is closed on Sundays. Staff of the British High Commission were there on Sunday to accept the petition.
MIC has been a member of the coalition government for 50 years and under Samy Vellu’s leadership for almost 30 years. In those 30 years, Samy Vellu’s personal wealth and that of his cronies have increased. In these same 30 years, the Indians’ growth and wealth have diminished. Samy Vellu claims that he has often voiced his unhappiness towards certain government decisions.
The truth must be told. Voicing your opinion is not the same as delivering results to the Indian community. Samy Vellu, in his 30 years with MIC, spent more time and energy making sure no one challenges him. Whatever energy and time he had left was used to bring agreeable people to power within MIC. Today, MIC has become nothing more than a venue for the few to enrich themselves.
Let’s get something straight. When was the last time MIC was able to change government policies that marginalise the Indian community? He was not even able to stop the government from demolishing a 100-year-old temple. But here is a man who claims to voice his opinions whenever he is not happy.
Getting your opinion published in Tamil Nesan does not mean you have done your job. Indians in Malaysia need leaders who will defend the Indian community from further erosion caused by bumiputera policies. Instead, Samy Vellu has become a spokesperson for the government. It is a sad day when Samy Vellu is defending the government instead of the Indian community.
Now Samy Vellu is going to set up a toll-free hotline. He will personally answer calls from us, take detailed notes and present our case to Parliament. A hotline is more a false hope to buy time until elections are over. Most of us remember Maika Holdings and how Indians would prosper by investing their money there. We also remember how buying lottery tickets would provide funds for educational scholarship for our children.
Samy Vellu claims that MIC submits a report to the prime minister every six months. What is this report? How long has he been submitting this report? At least share with MIC members what this report had requested from the government or what problems of the Indian community had been addressed. The Indian community has the right to know. Without traceability, accountability and means to monitor progress, all we are left with are words.
Who will answer calls at the end of the MIC hotline? Who decides which issue is worth moving up the list? What will be the turnaround time for the resolution of problems? The devil must disclose the details and implement a way to measure its effectiveness. A report card is needed. Setting up a hotline may give us the illusion that our fearless leaders are doing something for us. But if we analyse carefully, setting up a hotline is not what we want. We want results.
The time has come to look beyond Samy Vellu and his cronies. Samy Vellu became MIC president in 1979. It has been 28 years. In MIC presidential election cycles, Samy Vellu claims that he is running because he has unfinished tasks to accomplish for Indian Malaysians. What kind of leader stays in power for 28 years and still has unfinished business?
Samy Vellu has marketed himself and the MIC as the only genuine representative of the Indian community. In essence, he and his cronies have given the community a false choice. MIC is a membership-based political party. The president is elected (lately, crowned) by members of the MIC. In this club, Samy Vellu has wielded an environment in which he becomes the undisputed president.
Samy Vellu is not answerable to the Indian community because to be president, all he has to do is to make sure members are in check. He only has to control MIC members, not the general Indian population. Anyone who disagrees with the Samy Vellu faces disciplinary action, up to and including membership termination. The Indian community should decide if MIC represents them in Malaysian politics. It is not for MIC to decide that it represents the Indian community in politics.
When others attempt to represent the Indian community in politics, MIC has always downplayed and marginalised them. Samy Vellu is the reason Indians lost ground in the last 28 years. After 28 years, the time has come for Indians to look elsewhere for leadership. There are many outside MIC who are more capable of leading a fight on behalf of the Indian community. Samy Vellu is not the only hope we have for the future. Samy Vellu may think he is, but his time has passed.
The only positive legacy Samy Vellu has is that he is the longest-serving MIC president. Beyond that, there is nothing positive about his leadership. The Indian community has to look beyond MIC because what is left of MIC’s leadership today is Samy Vellu. And after Samy Vellu, what is left of MIC’s leadership?
The time has come for MIC to be made irrelevant in our lives. The only way Indians can have a permanent political solution to their socioeconomic problems is to deny MIC the opportunity to represent them. For any coalition to take place, the Indian movement has to start from scratch and negotiate a better future. Otherwise, all we will get is the likes of Maika Holdings and hotlines.
If Malaysian Indians’ lives do improve in the next 10 years, credit should go to Hindraf and those who participated in the Nov 25 rally. Samy Vellu deserves none.