Playing the losing non-Malay race card

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“The question of racism has been abolished... that is what is more important to us than that little fight that he (former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad) is trying to create. I always stand by the ruling prime minister.”

- S Samy Vellu, former MIC chief

COMMENT | Former MIC chief S Samy Vellu admitted in a Malaysiakini interview that the MIC really did not have a voice in the Mahathir regime. And it may very well be that the current Umno potentate has done more for “Tamil education” in this country than the former Umno prime minster with “Indian heritage”, but the real question will always be, has all this money helped the “Indian” community in this country?

That is a question that only the Indian community can answer. However with regards to the general race discourse, as I outlined in last piece about the "Indian" problem and the rabbit hole of Malaysian politics - “Because politics in Malaysia is race-based and the alternative media (especially the English media) is defined by the crudest partisan expectations, issues like tokenism, appropriation and crypto-racism, is subsumed beneath a steady diet of Umno transgression and socio-political red herrings” - this idea that there is a difference in the discourse concerning race in the mainstream and alternative media is complete bull manure.

While MIC chief Dr S Subramaniam may be right about what the current Umno poohbah has done for his collection plate, he forgets that Prime Minister Najib Razak has also done far more for the Indian Muslim community than the former prime minister with Indian heritage when he accepted Kimma - The Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress - as associate members of Umno.

Like all good Indian Muslims and their relationship with their Malay Muslim brethren, the parameters of the union was well-defined. According to the grand Umno poohbah - “But they (Kimma) cannot be involved in Umno’s internal matters” - and since Umno internal matters bypass cabinet decisions (which has been proven time and again), I suppose Indian Muslims, when they are not running Umno in a de facto manner - which is the main gripe of Malay nationalist types and especially against former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad - they have to be content to be observers (at least publicly) like the MIC.

Anyone who is interested in what people think of the Indian community should lurk on social media forums and alternative news sites’ comments sections. As one Chinese academic and proponent of Chinese-language education said to me, he has not seen such overt racism and this coming from someone who has dealt with the Umno regime for years. If the race discourse in this country is dominated by the Malay/Chinese dialectic, it is because the opposition has not moved it from this safe zone. I mean does anyone really care how the Indian community votes...

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