Editor’s Note: Punjabis and Sikhs are Indians by virtue of them hailing from the state of Punjab in India. Sikhs are Punjabis but of Sikh religion whereas non-Sikh Punjabis are Hindus. However, there is a tendency for Punjabis in Malaysia not wanting to identify themselves as Indians because they don’t wish to be associated with the working-class Tamils.
I HAVE been criticised for raising the question of the lack of ministerial appointment for Indian Tamils in the country.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in announcing the cabinet on Tuesday (Dec 12) , failed to appoint a Tamil speaking Indian candidate. Even though human resources minister V. Sivakumar was dropped, there was no replacement.
Instead, Anwar sought to assuage the Indian community by appointing two additional Indian deputy ministers, namely PKR Sungai Buloh MP R. Ramanan and DAP Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran.
Kulasegaran’s appointment was a demotion because he was earlier a minister in the PH government (former human resources minister during the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government).
He should not have accepted this demotion, but he went ahead to gleefully accept it by thanking Anwar for having trust in him.
In fact, I requested Ramanan, Kulasegaran and the earlier appointed Senator Saraswathi Kandasamy to relinquish their posts in protest against the non-appointment of an Indian minister (of Tamil descent). Their resignation from the posts will endear them to the Indian community.
I suppose this was something not acceptable from these sycophants. I left DAP not so much because I was dropped as the candidate in the last state elections. This is something propagated by party insiders and those on the outside.
My resignation from the party had to do with how multi-racial politics was used by DAP for certain political ends.
Ascension to power and positions has meant that the party is devoid of meaningful struggle especially for the non-Malays in the country. The party is nothing but a big disappointment for the marginalised and discriminated Indian community.
This was the reason why I felt that staying in the party made no sense. This led my friends and me to start an Indian-based party called Urimai (United Rights of Malaysian Party).
After bidding farewell to DAP, I have been subject to attacks from the PH supporters. After I criticised Anwar for not appointing an Indian to a ministerial post, the criticisms against me continued unabated.
I have been called racist and extremist in not accepting DAP’s version of multi-racial politics. Multi-racial politics in the DAP and PKR essentially means not questioning their particular myopic versions of multi-racial or multi-cultural politics.
In other words, Indians in these political parties have to accept the particular ethnic dominance. For those Indians who subscribe to these ideologies, they are accepted and promoted. Indians who rock the boat are marginalised and isolated.
If DAP and PKR can admit seven Chinese ministers, why couldn’t these parties even nominate one Indian Tamil candidate? Why didn’t DAP or PKR protest against the non-appointment Indian candidates as ministers?
Indians no longer ’Anwar’s children’
Where is multi-racialism in these political parties?
It seems that Anwar doesn’t care about Indians apart from dancing to Tamil songs and quoting verses of Thirukural. He has nothing to offer the community that has contributed so much to the development of the country.
From now on, he should stop referring Indians as his children. PH is a big letdown to the Indian community. I am glad that I left DAP because the party means nothing to Indians. There is no pride or self-respect for Indians in the party.
Urimai is being formed to address the plight of voiceless Indians in the country – the segment that is poor, discriminated and marginalised – because of the dominance of racial politics and how they have been misled by the multi-racial political parties.
One famous thinker once described that a democratic and progressive society cannot be built if the ethnic and cultural concerns of particular communities are swept under the carpet of the hegemonic thinking of larger and more powerful groups.
This is the dilemma of Indians in the country. The formation of Urimai to address the problems of Indian and other voiceless communities will be vindicated by the march of history. – Dec 14, 2023
Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the Urimai (United Rights of Malaysian Party) Interim Council.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.