Ramasamy counts his blessings, wants to repay Indian community for supporting his crowdfunding campaign

ON Nov 2, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered that I should pay a compensation of RM1.52 mil to renowned preacher Dr Zakir Naik in a defamation suit.

The amount had to be paid in 30 days from the date of the judgement. I have left it to my lawyers to file the appeal on the quantum as well as on the court requirement of an apology.

I am glad that I was able to raise the funds through crowdfunding. It took less than seven days to reach the target of RM1.52 mil. The amount will be handed over to my lawyers today.

Without the more than enthusiastic support of Indians and others, the fund would not have attained the target. I must sincerely thank the Indian community and others who donated generously to the “Ramasamy Solidarity Fund”.

The question is how can I repay their kindness and generosity? The support was not only overwhelming but quite unprecedented. It had invariably put to shame those who believed that Indians can never come together.

How Indians of all walks of life rose to the occasion is an interesting question. It needs to be explored in the near future.

The last mobilisation of the Indians was through the HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) movement in 2007 that led to the collapse of the five states to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the 2008 general elections.

Indians had a critical and decisive role in these elections. In fact, they could be considered as kingmakers in the 2008 general elections.

Lost case but win hearts

This time around was not the demolition of temples or any other acts that enraged or humiliated the Indian community. They rallied around the defamation case that I lost with a hefty penalty of RM1.52 mil.

Generally, Indians rallied to my cause not because I lost the defamation case but because they felt that they had to come to my rescue in the name of the community.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy (right)

Because I spoke and wrote in defending the community on so many matters in the past, there was a sense of togetherness with me for being the voice of the voiceless.

The fact that Indians are a numerically small community, economically weak in comparison with other races, and discriminated on racial and religious grounds mattered in their support of my cause.

Financially supporting my cause was in a way of getting back at their oppressors. They knew that my altercation with the plaintiff was not a personal matter but about defending the ethnic and religious rights of the community.

They felt that they had to come in to support me by making financial contributions. It was an opportunity that gave the Indians from all walks of life to empower themselves to support a worthy social cause.

Of course, contributing a few ringgit towards my case was less disruptive in comparison with others forms of solidarity.

Those who have claimed that Indians are heterogeneous group, difficult to organise and others might have to eat their words having seen Indians casting aside their differences to come together to support me financially.

For many, the crowdfunding provided an opportunity to empower themselves by supporting me. It did not matter that I lost the case but what mattered to the Indians was the fact that I stood for the community during difficult times.

At least this was the popular perception. Interestingly, there was a class dimension to this expression of solidarity.

Leaving DAP is a blessing

While the support emanated from all walks of life, the support from the working class was tremendous and conspicuous.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy left DAP on Aug 9 just before the Aug 12 six states elections

I suppose the working class being the direct victims of exploitation and cultural deprivation could identify with my predicament more than those in the middle and upper class categories.

Such a support from the India working class lends credence to the saying that it is not that consciousness that determines the being but the being that determines the consciousness.

The crowdfunding episode was more than just getting donations to relieve me of the burden of having to pay a hefty sum to the plaintiff. It was more about the episode bringing out the best in human beings to be united for a particular cause.

It was immaterial whether I was right or wrong but the fact that I stood to defend the community in times of need really mattered to them.

Yes, the community is divisive and fractious on certain issues but the fact that they could come together on a court decision speaks well of the future well-being of the community.

Some of my detractors thought that since I had left the DAP, there was no way I could raise the funds. I am sure they are disappointed that leaving the DAP had not visible effect on the raising of public funds.

On the contrary, leaving the party could have been a blessing in disguise. I am sorry to say that the so-called multi-racial political parties have no place for Indians anymore. – Nov 10, 2023


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

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

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