Letter to editor
TOO many Indian parties only means more noises but it will not help the Indian community as a whole.
For many years now, I have observed how the Indian community at large has been lagging behind the rest of the society. The fault line in Malaysian Indians lies in the fact that they lack good leaders who are able to genuinely go down to the ground to help them.
The Chinese are independent and pragmatic. They survive even in the toughest times; most are willing to look for opportunities – during the COVID pandemic, unemployment drove a number of Chinese professionals into becoming roadside food stall operators and even Grab delivery men instead of rotting away during the pandemic.
The Malays have achieved economic prosperity over the years due to government intervention but the cycle of poverty for the B40 Malays does not seem to be eradicated after nearly half a century of government intervention. It is time for the government to focus on other Malaysians who are equally poor.
While there are many successful Indians – mainly as professionals in the legal and medical fields –majority of the Malaysian Indians are still in a state of limbo. In West Malaysia, they are the most neglected lot.
Parties aplenty, but …
In the past, there was the major Indian party – MIC – which was supposed to take care of the Indian community, but its own leader, the late Tun S. Samy Vellu was hardly a man of good reputation even among the Chinese and the Malays.
The Indians, especially in smaller towns, might have held him in great esteem but I wonder how much had been done to build this community to the level that they can compete with the rest of society in the spheres of education and business.
One reason why the nine-term MP – the second longest serving MP after former Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah – lost his Sungai Siput constituency is because of the Indian uprising otherwise known as HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force). By then, MIC was like the other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties which no longer cared for their own communities.
Most of us were hoping that HINDRAF could do what MIC failed to do. However, amidst all the high hopes, HINDRAF itself was split. The two siblings fought each other and at the end of the day, Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy, the younger brother prevailed.
He was even made the national unity minister during Pakatan Harapan’s 22-month stint in Putrajaya under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
There was hardly any effort carried out by Waythamoorthy to encourage national unity. Like the current National Unity Minister (whose name has yet to make an impression on me personally), he was hardly on media radar until the 15th General Election (GE15) when he suddenly surfaced again.
I wonder how the HINDRAF party that he led even performed, but we know that even in the last general election, HINDRAF as a political party – like Dr Mahathir and Pejuang – failed to win any seat.
We were hopeful that more focus could be placed on the economic well-being of the Indian community when Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy was made Pennag’s deputy chief minister II. But in the process, he was seen more interested in politicking than solving the economic woes of the Indians in his own state.
All that most politicians will do is to shout whatever little that they have achieved, and make it appear as if they have done a lot for the community. Ramasamy is no different.
Instead, to be honest, I see both Kashturi Patto and Charles Santiago who despite being dropped from the last election, are still able to contribute more towards nation-building than Ramasamy who is trying to do something similar to MUDA (singing the opposition tune).
One can say that Ronnie Liu may have given up on DAP but to-date, he has never openly harped on the party’s rot. Same with PKR stalwart Chua Wee Tian, otherwise known to us as Tian Chua, and now social activist, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
Tian Chua is now focused on his consultancy work with the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) while Lee is a watchdog of DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hal).
As for Ramasamy, I see him as the equivalent of Wee Choo Keong, a former DAP leader who quitted the party. Both are bitter gourds who bring their sour relationship with the DAP on the social platform.
Independent Indian party viable?
The current political battlefield is seemingly pitting Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) which forms the federal government on one hand and Perikatan Nasional (PN) on the other.
For simplicity, I will just say it is PN vs PH. These are the two elephants in the battle, the rest are just the deer in between.
Another Indian political party, including one to be set up by one of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s comrades, is going to add to more political noise and confusion. I agree with Malaysiakini columnist, S. Thayaparan that the Indians have to be more independent than to depend on another political party.
While Ramasamy can try to cause a dent to people’s confidence in the Madani government, ultimately, it is about whether the people want PAS’ extremist view of Islam. For the East Malaysians, it is a question whether they will accept PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang after Hadi chided the Sarawakians as still wearing loincloths.
The Indians will once again find that they are being used by their politicians towards their own agenda. Will they be helped? I doubt it. Ramasamy might as well set up an NGO (non-governmental organisation) or come out with his own money to help the Indian community.
Meanwhile, I appeal to the Madani government and Anwar to provide more educational opportunities to young people in the Indian community. These are very bright people who can contribute towards our economic prosperity in the future. – Oct 10, 2023
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.