KKB by-election will be a litmus test of Indian support for PH

ANOTHER Indian-based party, the Malaysian Indian People’s Party, has decided to join the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.

This is after Urimai, the party founded by the influential Dr Ramasamy Palanisamy, had announced earlier that it will support PN.

It looks like the Indians are beginning to realise after 18 months of Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration that they are unable to rectify the lopsided racist policies of the past and stop the marginalisation of Indians since the 1970s.

The MIC has already diplomatically indicated that it is not going to support a non-BN candidate for the Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB) by-election.

At last, the Indians are now beginning to realise that they have been taken for a ride by sweet promises from PH whom they had supported wholeheartedly in multi-racial constituencies to ensure victory in 2022.

The Indians are now beginning to think smart and are flexible as they can now support any party or candidate who helps them. With the power of the deciding swing vote with them in KKB they have to ensure that they play their cards right.

I remember seeing Indians in restaurants exclaiming and cheering with jubilation when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim took the oath of office at the King’s palace.

The event was televised live on local television channels. Now 18 months later those whoops of joy are gone, and these people are dejected and disillusioned at the way the community has been conveniently forgotten and side-tracked.

Neither PAS nor Bersatu in the PN political set-up, despite their predominant focus on race and religion, worry the Indians much. Indians have accepted the reality in which the Malays and Islam will always be dominant.

Unlike the Chinese who have rejected the MCA and Gerakan and have straightjacketed themselves and burnt all the bridges by their total and unconditional support for DAP, the Indians have room to manoeuvre and they can support whichever party that helps them to be socio-economically progressive in a resourceful Malaysia.

PH needs to realise that the present generation of Indians, unlike the MIC-centred ones long ago, are not satisfied with the miserly budgetary allocations and also what they get from both the public and corporate sectors.

The Indians expect changes that address their needs. They have for long felt that their plight is due to the government’s undoing through its lopsided and discriminatory policies, and not due to their own shortcomings.

The younger generation of Indians were instrumental in triggering the Hindraf rally that opened an opportunity for the Opposition to break the monopoly of the 50-year Barisan Nasional rule.

The rally also led to MIC losing electoral power totally and almost eliminated its top leadership.

The Indians are now flexible, and the community is also in a state of flux. They will be more inclined to those who voice support for them or render any helpful schemes to uplift the community.

In coalition governments worldwide, smaller parties and communities are gaining power and clout due to their crucial support for the government.

The KKB by-election has come at the most opportune time for Indians to assess the political situation without prolonging their false hopes and expectations from the PH government.

Unless PH comes with a black-and-white guarantee that in the remaining tenure of the present government it will provide large budgetary allocations and assist various programmes in terms of education, employment, business and other initiatives, there is no way PH can capture Indian votes in the KKB polls.

The Indians’ frustrations and disappointments have reached a crescendo! Unless appeased or rectified, Indian votes will be lost forever from a community that had loyally supported BN and later PH. Pakatan must learn from the painful experience of MIC’s failure. – April 23, 2024


V. Thomas is a Focus Malaysia viewer.

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


Main pic credit: Berita Harian

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