Malaysiakini Letter

Hindraf should become political force

Truly Malaysian  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Hindraf voices out the state of the downtrodden grassroots Indian Malaysian by being the voice for the voiceless.

This, my fellow Malaysians, is the truth whether you like it or not because nothing can defeat the truth and the reality on the ground.

Lately, a bunch of Indian parties have mushroomed ie, Mindraf and MMSP. If we take a good look at them, it all boils down to race. Think about it.

The political reality in Malaysia is that the nation is not prepared to drop race-based politics though many may not agree with this view especially those still living in self denial within their closeted mind.

Well, if the opposition front is really is one united party, have they really moved in that direction? Then PAS should drop its Islamic state agenda and and open up the party to all races. If DAP is purportedly a multi-racial party similar to PKR then why don't both merge as one and form a strong political opposition with PAS to seek a Malaysian agenda?

Are those opposition ready to embrace and accept that they would need to amend the federal constitution to scrap Article 153 which provides for special privileges for the Malays and commit to the principle of equality among citizens as stated in Article 8?

Not a chance. Again the end justifies the means - not for you and me but for a farcical ideology that embraces ‘1Malaysia' where their political survival is at stake. Though the idea of Malaysians moving away from race-based politics have been much debated by all segments, perhaps the most accurate description is that we are crawling at a snail's pace towards it.

I ask myself why do Pakatan supporters condemn the slightest suggestion of the formation of another race-based political party when they themselves have failed to urge their leaders to discard their own race-based structure.

I really wonder if it is possible for Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim and Nik Aziz Nik Mat to all sit down and preside over one common noble party? Can you imagine that at their annual party meet, Kit Siang offers to stand as president and his candidacy is backed by Nik Aziz?

The ugly truth is theycan't and we shouldn't be fooling ourselves in hope that this is possible in Malaysia - at least at this juncture.

Now, let's talk about the Indians, pre and post-Hindraf. Pre-Hindraf, the Indians were the unsung heroes of BN as 80% would loyally vote for the ruling government no matter how badly they were treated..

Post-Hindraf, the Indians woke up from a 52-year slumber being absolutely awoken with the awareness of the regression of their segment of society due to discriminative nature of the government and their ‘mandors'.

Hindraf stood tall against all odds challenging the government again and again on their repressive methods and threw their support behind the Pakatan alliance. The spirit and vigour shown by Hindraf supporters for Pakatan was without fear or favor and they were largely united to seek a change for better governance.

Never in the history of Malaysian elections did the opposition get such a volume of voluntary canvassers to campaign on their behalf. A blind vote was given to Pakatan leaders just to teach Umno a lesson on what minority votes meant.

For once the Indians voted in bulk under the guidance of Hindraf and created the great impact on March 8, 2008.

Having seen the power of the bulk vote, there are ambitious ‘Indian leaders' who took advantage of the situation and are now appearing to champion the cause of Hindraf and the Indians. The reality is that these parties will die a natural death as they don't command the confidence of the Indian voters.

When I say bulk vote, I mean the downtrodden, lower-income group who form the bulk of the Indian voters.

In the current scenario, do the Indian leaders in Pakatan command the confidence of these Indian voters? Put all the opposition Indian MPs together and ask them to hold a meeting for the future of Indians - hardly 1,000 Indians would turn up to listen to them.

The Indians know they are not adequately represented within Pakatan. They are also uncomfortable with leaders within Pakatan because these leaders do not correctly understand their problems let alone resolve them. These voters need changes - not moral and political sermons.

If the Pakatan leaders continue to deny this reality, they are facing a great danger of losing Indian support. Umno is already working hard on how to win over this bulk vote. So what has Pakatan been doing to keep them or are they confident that the Indians will automatically vote for them in the next election?

After almost 1½ years after the last general elections , the Indians are already speaking up against the four Pakatan states for not doing enough for their Indian communities. When they speak out, they get a barrage of criticisms from commentators who accuse the Indians of being impatient and racist.

It would appear that Pakatan is actually committing the similar mistake of BN - neglecting the Indians. If and when one or two bold PKR leaders raise Indian concerns, they are accused of being racist and ungrateful and told that they could not have won without the Malay and Chinese support.

I, too, like many Malaysians wish to see Pakatan take over the helm of the country with the 13th general election. But they can't achieve that goal without the assistance and cooperation of the Indian voters. I urge Pakatan leaders not to live in self-denial and acknowledge their shortcomings.

The Indians do not expect much, just give them a fair and just deal in small businesses, state scholarships, licences and schooling. Be transparent in what you do for the community and stop behaving like another Umno.

Indian problems are not Indian problems per se but it's a national problem. Stop the Umno attitude of pushing Indian matters to Indian representatives. Most Indian representatives within PKR are unable to come down to the ground to understand Indian problems and therefore are unable to command their votes.

The current reality is that the bulk of Indian voters will only rally behind one of the Hindraf 5 leaders. This leader has shown his relentless attitude towards his captors and his commitment to remain behind bars for the sake of justice for his minority community is undeniable.

For once, the bulk of Indians are united and consolidated under the Hindraf's umbrella as they truly feel these leaders will champion their cause without all the melodrama of the other parties. It would be a strategy of resurgence. These voters need to be ushered into a set-up which they are comfortable with an altruist leader.

It would be in the best interest of Indian Malaysians if the most recognised face of Hindraf forms a political party to consolidate all Indian voters and join the Pakatan coalition as brother-in-arms and together work to get rid of BN at the 13th GE.

To all Pakatan leaders out there, if you are really eager to govern in the next term, I urge you to immediately plan to work with the inevitable emergence of Hindraf as a prospective political figure.

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