COMMENT | MIC appears to be signalling that it will be a part of the Muafakat Nasional alliance between Umno and PAS. Its success is said to have been proven through the recently concluded Tanjung Piai by-election.
Umno has called upon MIC and MCA to back the Umno-PAS Muafakat Nasional political consensus.
Obviously, MIC would not offend Umno for political interest.
However, MIC should not be over-excited with the voters rejection of Harapan in the recent by-election and treat it as a “blank cheque” for it to move into the fold of Muafakat Nasional.
Give a deep thought before deciding to join Muafakat Nasional which is dominated by Malays and Muslims.
Is Muafakat Nasional a sincere formal coalition, “technical committee”, multiracial window-dressing or just a political gimmick?
A wrong move by MIC can be disastrous as PAS has always played the race and religious card.
With conflicting ideologies, MIC president SA Vigneswaran (above) feels there is no urgent need to rush into a new political coalition, though he strongly backs the opposition solidarity and cooperation as a team in spirit.
Firstly, MIC has to be strategic in taking the right step.
MIC is in limbo as it needs to form some sort of alliance to get Malay votes. MIC is still struggling to command tangible support and is fighting tooth and nail to remain politically relevant, and PAS could help Barisan Nasional attract more hardcore Malay votes.
But, one cannot assume that PAS' support will necessarily go to MIC.
With that in mind, MIC probably has to be smart at camouflaging sensitive issues that contradict their political ideals to gain political mileage.
In order to prolong its political relevance, MIC sorely needs Malay votes, which overwhelmingly voted for UMNO and PAS. For MIC to continue to be a strong vehicle for the Indian community, it has no choice but to cooperate with PAS.
On the other side of the coin, the Indian community may distance itself from the party because it is perceived to be collaborating with PAS. So, Vigneswaran has a big task - he needs to assure that PAS is not dangerous.
By-election results are not an accurate representation of what will take place in a general election. PAS and Umno may eventually become dominant and force other races to surrender to them.
In actual fact, MIC has been politically cooperating with PAS even before Umno signed the Muafakat Nasional charter with PAS.
The time was ripe for MIC now to strengthen its position on its own without depending on others. It should focus on the economic agenda for Indians.
MIC represents the Indian community, and the ruling coalition has no party doing so. It can no longer be a “just follow” party” with no intrinsic political ideology or growth driven strategy. It should not be perceived as a helpless appendage of PAS and Umno.
M VIVEK served as an aide to several former MIC deputy ministers.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.