“It’s true MIC and MCA have not be given due respect and recognition by UMNO”

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will meet the MIC leaders (national, state and division levels) at the party headquarters tomorrow (Aug 2) at 12 noon.

It is expected that Anwar will address the grievances of the MIC leadership among others as to why they were denied state seats in the coming state elections in six states.

Even though the MIC is a component of the BN in the unity government, attention was merely focused on UMNO. Apparently, MIC is upset that UMNO did not voice out support for both MIC and MCA to be allocated state seats to be contested.

It is understandable why UMNO is important for Anwar’s unity government in terms of getting Malay support but there is no reason to ignore the MIC or the MCA who have been loyal components of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

But it remains a fact that both parties – once the main representatives of the Indian and Chinese communities – have not be given the due respect and recognition.

Indian can be kingmakers

Yes, both the parties have lost their respective political support but surely their inclusion in the unity government might have given them a new lease of life.

MIC’s meeting with Anwar comes at a time when the opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition is trying to make inroads to gain the support of the non-Malays.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the guest-of-honour of the Indian Community Education Development and Future Masterplan programme on June 10, 2023 (Pic credit: Anwar’s Facebook)

A few MIC leaders might have gone over to the side of PN. There is fear that if Anwar does not address the grievances of the MIC, chances are that more Indian leaders might go over to the side of the PN.

Indian leaders might not be sympathetic to the ethnic and religious politics of PN but then if they are not respected and rewarded, what choice is there for them.

In determining the outcome of the state elections, Indians have a varying presence in a number of constituencies. Anwar knows very well that Indians might be kingmakers in constituencies that might be keenly contested.

The PH chairman might be thinking that an urgent meeting with the MIC leaders might avert the possibility of Indian support going over to PN.

MIC might not be the same party it was t20 years ago. It has lost considerable Indian support over the years. Its only crime was that it was ultra-loyal to UMNO. This cost the party the crucial Indian support. Yet UMNO has completely forgotten the MIC, especially the latter’s sacrifices.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

Anwar wants an urgent meeting with the MIC not because he thinks that party has strong support among the Indian. Rather, shunning the MIC might be perceived by Indians in general that the unity government is not being serious with the Indian community.

For historical reasons, it is difficult to extricate the MIC from the larger well-being of the Indian community. Anwar’s meeting with the MIC comes at a time of Indian general discontent with other PH component parties particularly in Penang and Selangor.

Anwar’s meeting with the MIC is not so much to address the grievances of the MIC but more towards correcting the false impressions of Indians towards the unity government. – Aug 1, 2023

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the former DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also the former deputy chief minister of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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