TWICE former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave an interview last week to Thanthi TV, a television channel from South India.
In the interview, he castigated the Malaysian Indians of not being loyal to the country. He named the refusal to adopt the language, religion and customs of the Malays as the prime cause of Indian disloyalty to the country. He included the Chinese in this category of being disloyal.
A number of politicians from the government took umbrage at his remarks by accusing him as a racist who fails to understand the contributions of the non-Malays in the country.
In my reply to his blatant remarks about the lack of loyalty amongst Indians, I described him as the prime architect of racial and religious divisions in the country.
Dr Mahathir cannot reprimand Indians of being disloyal when he was primarily responsible for the ethnic, religious and social divisions. In other words, he lacks the credentials to talk about who is loyal and who is disloyal.
Within a day, Dr Mahathir replied me by saying with the heading ‘Ramasamy is a racist”. I am racist because I left the multi-racial political party DAP for the United Rights of Malaysian Party or Urimai.
Moreover, as a Malaysian, I should not have criticised the government for not appointing an Indian Tamil minister in the cabinet. I should accept the appointments as long they are Malaysians.
‘Forming Urimai doesn’t make me racist’
I am shocked beyond belief that Dr Mahathir who never had good words of the DAP in the past is suddenly trying to defend the party as multi-racial. In the past, he used the gullible DAP to bring down the government of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Yes, I resigned from DAP in August 2023 just before the six state elections. My reason was the party was anything but multi-racial. Rather multi-racialism was used by the party with token presence of Indian and Malay leaders to propagate its own political agenda that revolved around power, positions and appeasement politics.
Hence, I left the party not because it was multi-racial but on the contrary, it had nothing to do with multi-racialism.
I am in the process of registering Urimai (rights in Tamil). Although it is an Indian Tamil-based political party, its membership is open to all Malaysians who are concerned about the erosion of democratic human rights in the country.
In this sense, Urimai is not racial party but a party that will be formed to address the plight of Indian poor and the marginalised without losing sight of the rights of other ethnic groups.
Yes, I criticised Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for deliberately excluding the appointed of Indian Tamil ministers. What was so racial about asking for the appointment of Indian Tamil ministers?
If cabinet appointments are based on racial considerations, what is so wrong in asking for the appointments of Indian Tamil ministers to reflect the communal composition of the Indian community?
If Chinese and Malay ministers are appointed on ethnic considerations, why should Indian Tamils be satisfied with only “Malaysian ministers” irrespective of race and religion.
This is the reason why I asked for the resignation of the three Indian deputy ministers for not fighting for the appointment of Indian Tamil ministers.
At least when Dr Mahathir was the PM, he made sure that there were Indian Tamil ministers in the cabinet. Wonder why he never talked about “Malaysian ministers” then?
Dr Mahathir can call me names, racist or even Indian Tamil extremist. Essentially, it takes the mind of an extreme Malay nationalist or racist like him to call others racist.
I am very proud that he called me racist because of my determination to assist the poor and discriminated Indians, Chinese, Malays and the Orang Asli.
I am an Indian Tamil of Hindu faith. I was born and brought up in this country. I speak and write in the Malay language very well. Malay was the language that I used in my lectures when I was an academic at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
My three children went to national schools where the language of instruction was in Malay. They have done well in their careers.
We are loyal citizens of this country. I might not agree with the policies of the government in power but this has nothing to do with my loyalty to the nation.
Dr Mahathir by definition might think that I might not be loyal to the country. I am sorry he is not only very wrong in my case but in the cases of millions of Indians in the country. – Jan 16, 2024
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.
Main pic credit: 1Malaysia