INDEPENDENT politician Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy has proposed that Indian Malaysians should form a political party unallied to the competing coalitions Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) that are vying to govern the country.
He says the new party should only give their electoral support to the coalition that agrees to a manifesto that addresses Indian concerns.
Ramasamy contends that PH’s multi-racialism is a delusive charade that would shortchange Indians when push comes to shove.
He says PN is increasingly aware Indian votes could swing critical seats in its favour but an Indian party would have to be affiliated to PN for the latter to demonstrate solicitude for Indian concerns.
On paper, Ramasamy’s propositions are good. But in practice, they are not feasible.
For an Indian political party to demonstrate it means to flex its muscles, it has to enjoy the support of the vast majority of Malaysia’s 1.7 million Indians.
Such a scenario is not likely.
Even when the MIC enjoyed majority support from among the Indians and could claim six seats in Parliament, it had to depend on Malay votes in semi-urban constituencies to win them.
Indian votes in the highly urban seats went to the opposition DAP and when PKR emerged in the late 1990s and after, they plumped for that party.
The Indian vote bank is not monolithic: Indians are too politically fractious to vote as a bloc.
Ramasamy says he understands that some movers and shakers among the Indians are about to form a new party for to represent the community.
This party may have the sympathy of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. If that is true, it will support PH, an eventuality Ramasamy envisions would bog down the new party in the corporate entity’s otiose multi-racialism.
Anwar would like to help Indians but he is afraid that being overly solicitous about Indian concerns would endanger his party – PKR’s support – among the Malays.
His priority is to increase support for the unity government he leads from among the Malays. He thinks that increasing investment flows would regenerate a stagnant economy.
He is betting that a revived economy will lift all boats, including Indian ones. – Oct 6, 2023
Terence Netto is a journalist with 50 years in an occupation that demands resistance to fleeting impressions.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.