“Remove institutional racism rather than branding Indians as kingmakers”

ARE Indians in Malaysia only kingmakers when the time comes for national polling even when the welfare and well-being of their community are hardly given any attention under normal circumstances?

As the 15th General Election (GE15) approaches, Indians are suddenly catapulted into importance – again.

They are deemed kingmakers, especially in constituencies where they might make a difference in terms of a particular candidate winning or losing.

In electoral constituencies where there is a clear divide between Malay and Chinese voters in terms of their political loyalties, Indian voters – even if they are numerically small – might become politically significant.

Indians no lesser than Malays, Chinese

I estimated recently that Indian voters have the potential to make a difference in terms of the outcome of elections in over 60 parliamentary and state constituencies.

They have the potential to decide the ultimate winners. The majority of Indian voters are supporters of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

Indian membership in DAP is about 20% while they make up about 30% of PKR members. Taken together, PH has more Indian members than the MIC which is supposedly the “mother” party of Malaysian Indians.

It serves no purpose to call Indians as kingmakers when they only receive due attention from politicians before the general elections.

Indians have been ignored, time to focus on the community. (Photo credit: Din Merican)


Indians must be respected and given due recognition at all times given that as Malaysian citizens, they are no less to the Malays or the Chinese.

It is obvious that PH might not have done much for Indians because of the absence of federal power. Its 22 months in Putrajaya was simply not enough to address the myriad of problems faced by the community.

Indians are ignored post election

Indians have contributed so much to the well-being and development of the country.

Indians might be kingmakers on the day they cast their votes but imagine once GE15 is over, they become forgotten until the next national poll five years later.

The biggest and the most fundamental obstacle that stands in the way of the development of the Indian community is the lack of level playing field. The lack of level playing field is rooted in the institutionalised racist system engendered by none other than UMNO over the last few decades.

The very fact that the Government dominated by Malay supremacists is dishing out few millions now and then is not going to assist the Indian community. Such a practice will merely reinforce their dependency on the government.

While Indians look forward for the victory of the PH in the coming elections, they want at the same time that the coalition dismantles the insidious nature of institutionalised racism in the country.

Being kingmakers during times of elections alone might not be beneficial to the Indians in the long run. – Oct 31, 2022

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.

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


Main photo credit: NKKhoo 

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