GERAKAN has come out with statement that it wants to retake Penang from the control of the DAP.
Its president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai might be hallucinating but at least he has a vision.
Not to be undone, the MCA has stated that while it supports the unity government of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, it will nonetheless provide the checks and balances.
If the MCA is quiet, it may face the oblivion. Now, where is the MIC? This is the best time for the party to live up to its reputation as “May I Come”.
Nothing seems to be forthcoming from the party or its president Tan Sri S.A. Vickneswaran.
I understand the all the three political parties – once the triumvirate of non-Malay representation – are facing a bleak political future.
But surely, having played a significant role in Malaysian politics for the last few decades, the parties cannot disappear overnight.
There is such a thing as re-inventing or rejuvenating the parties under difficult political circumstances.
All these parties had their heyday but over the years, too much accommodation and subservience to UMNO in the Barisan Nasional (BN) has contributed to the downfall of the parties.
Declining non-Malay and Malay support rendered by UMNO to keep the parties afloat has contributed to the unpopularity of these political parties.
Eventually, MCA, Gerakan and MIC lost all semblance of non-Malay representation.
Only past glory left
If UMNO is strong and powerful, these parties can be kept alive to some extent. But such scenario is not there as UMNO has lost Malay support to Bersatu and PAS in the Perikatan Nasional (PN).
The MIC once dubbed as the sole representative of the Indians seems to have no indication of any political direction.
For all intents and purposes, the party has ceased to be the sole representative of the Indian community.
Even the party’s stand is not clear whether it wants to support the unity government or PN coalition.
During the days of the formation of the new unity government, the MIC was not undecided whether it was on the side of the PN or unity government.
It is pity that the MIC formed in the wake of pan-Indian nationalism in 1946 has lost its relevance in Malaysian politics.
Indians who supported the party in the earlier decades have now embraced parties such as the DAP and PKR.
Even the one Tapah parliamentary seat it won during the 15th General Election (GE15) was due to the support given by the Malays and the indigenous community.
I am not sure whether the party can be revived to the days of its earlier glory. The MIC stands the chance of dying a natural death if nothing is done.
At least the party – even if does not support the unity government – can function as an opposition party.
Even if it lacks electoral strength, it can take up a myriad of issues affecting the welfare and wellbeing of the Indian community.
Perhaps it could follow the example of the MCA in acting as checks and balances.
MIC need not be over-ambitious like Gerakan, but at least try to endear itself to the Indian community that it had abandoned many years ago.
Under the new and changed political circumstances, the MIC has the golden opportunity to put an end to subservient politics.
It will be the greatest irony of Malaysian politics that the MIC stands the chance of embracing the Indian community not as a party in the government but as an opposition. – Jan 25, 2023
Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.