HINDRAF should become a political force

By R.Shan (Human Being)

This, is my fellow Malaysians is the truth whether you like it or not.

Let’s look at race diversity. The BN-led government has 14 coalition partners while PR has three coalition partners. What is this other than about race being represented by their own segment of people in Malaysia?

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

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

Well, if the opposition is really one united party, then have they really moved into that direction? PAS should then drop its Islamic state agenda and see all citizens as Malaysians and open up its party to all races. And if DAP is purportedly a multi-national party similar to Keadilan, then why don’t they both merge as one and form a strong political opposition with PAS to seek a Malaysian agenda?

Are they in unity in the opposition ready to embrace and accept that that they could amend the Federal Constitution to scrap Article 153 which provides special privileges for the Malays and commit to the principles of equality among citizens as stated in Article 8?

Not a chance. The end justifies the means when political survival is at stake. Though the idea of Malaysians moving away from race-based politics have been much debated by all segments, we are still crawling at a snail’s pace in the process.

I ask myself why do Pakatan supporters who moot the idea of moving away from race-based politics still criticize and condemn the slightest suggestion of formation of any other race-based political party when they themselves have failed to urge their own leaders to discard the race-based set-up and merge and amalgamate into ONE MALAYSIAN RACE party.

I really wonder if it is possible for LKS, DSAI and Nik Aziz to all sit and preside in that one common noble party? Can you imagine at their annual party AGM, LKS offers to stand as President and his candidacy is backed by Nik Aziz who is willing to make LKS his boss? The ugly truth is, they can’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 and became aware of the regression and repression of this segment of the society due to the 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 to the PAKATAN alliance. The spirit and vigor shown by the HINDRAF supporters for PAKATAN was without fear or favor and largely united to seek a change for better governance.

Never in the history of Malaysian elections did the opposition get such volumes of voluntary canvassers to campaign on their behalf. PAS leaders were impressed by how the HINDRAF Indian supporters, who had always looked at them with suspicion, embraced PAS and went out in their green PAS T-shirts and flags campaigning. A blind vote was given to Pakatan leaders just to teach UMNO a lesson on what minority votes (who were always vilified for their insignificance) 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 some ambitious “Indian leaders” who took advantage of the situation by appearing to champion the cause of Hindraf and Indians. The reality is that these parties would 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 Indian MPs together and ask them to hold a meeting for the future of Indians in the country and hardly 10 would turn up. 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 change; not moral and political sermons.

There is no point attacking the Indians of being racist and not seeing the larger national agenda of change when leaders within Pakatan themselves know pretty well that their setup is definitely still race-based.

If the Pakatan leaders continuously deny this reality, they are facing a great danger of losing the Indian support. UMNO is already working hard, cracking their heads on how to win over these BULK VOTES. So what has PAKATAN been doing to keep them or is it in the illusion that they will automatically vote for them in the next election?

After almost 1½ years after the GE, the Indians are speaking up against the four (4) Pakatan states for not doing enough for the Indian community. When they speak out, they get a barrage of criticisms from commenters who accuse the Indians of being impatient and racist.

What is surprising is that despite the onslaught by UMNO, MCA and Gerakan on Pakatan not doing enough for the Malays and Chinese in these states, the Chinese and Malays in these states do not complain. Why? The answer is simple – the Pakatan leaders make sure these races are taken care of.

It would appear that Pakatan is actually committing similar mistakes of BN – neglecting the Indians. If and when one or two bold Keadilan leaders raise concerns, they are accused of being racist and ungrateful – and that they could not have won without the Malay and Chinese support. Well, back to square one. It’s the attitude problem of Keadilan leaders which is gravely unhealthy – living in self denial.

I too, like many Malaysians, wish to see Pakatan take over the helm of the country in the 13th GE. But they can’t achieve that goal without the assistance and cooperation of the BULK Indian voters. I urge Pakatan leaders not to live in self-denial and to acknowledge their shortcomings. Do not commit the same mistake that UMNO did. The Indians do not expect much; just give them a fair and just deal in small businesses, state scholarships, licences, acquire school land sitting on private owners and convert it into a fully-aided school. 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 Keadilan are unable to come down to the ground to understand the Bulk Voters problem and therefore are unable to command their votes.

HINDRAF leadership has to make a firm and committed stand on whether they want their supporters to drift back to BN out of no choice or they wish to hold on to their voters.

The current reality is, the bulk of Indian voters will only rally behind one of the Hindraf 5 leaders. This leader, having 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. Hindraf’s exiled leader has repeatedly said he would not convert the organisation into a political party. Hindraf furthermore, is a banned movement. What other choice does HINDRAF has to ensure their supporters’ interests are taken care of?

Pakatan Leaders seem reluctant to openly invite them into their fold for reasons only they understand.

For once, the bulk of Indians are united and consolidated under HINDRAF’s umbrella as they truly feel their 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 setup where they are comfortable with an altruistic leader.

It would be in the best interests of the Malaysian Indians if the most recognized face of Hindraf forms a political party to consolidate all Indian voters and join the Pakatan coalition as a brother-at-arms and work in a concerted effort to get rid of BN in the 13th GE.

Needless to say, I am sure Pakatan leaders would be more comfortable with this form of arrangement to hold on to the Indian bulk voters. Even UMNO realized this fact and made a pact with MMSP. But too late did they realise they recruited the wrong guys.

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


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