Woes of Malaysian Indians: Anwar to tread the tightrope of stability and instability

PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim together with his deputy Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi met the MIC leaders yesterday (Aug 2).

The meeting was called after the relationship between the unity government and MIC was strained to some extent. MIC was unhappy that despite being the loyal component of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, the party was not allocated any seat at all in Aug 12’s six state elections.

Apparently, from the reports of the meeting, it appears that the MIC leaders agreed to support the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-BN candidates in the upcoming polls. Anwar has remarked that since he trusted MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran, he didn’t see why the Indians in the MIC cannot trust him.

The issue was not just about the lack of allocation of seats to the MIC candidates but why the unity government failed to appoint MIC leaders in government posts after the last general elections in November 2022.

Beyond that, eight months have lapsed since the formation of the unity government yet MIC leaders have not been rewarded with posts in the government or even those in the government-linked companies (GLC).

Given the strained relationship between UMNO and the MIC, it was hoped that Anwar would look into the matter to rectify things.

Rewards underway

Anwar has promised to look into the grievances of the MIC. It is expected that once the state elections are over, the MIC might be given some rewards in the forms of posts in the government or the GLCs or both.

MIC’s state and division leaders at the meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibarhim yesterday (Aug 2)

Anwar’s meeting with the MIC came at time of certain rumblings within the Indian community about how they have not been appreciated by PKR and the DAP.

Anwar might have succeeded in convincing the MIC Indians to vote for PH-BN coalition. However, it remains yet to be established whether Indians are fully convinced by the assurances given by Anwar.

Indians in the country have been ignored by the past governments led by BN and later Perikatan Nasional (PN).

They still harbour the hope that their dire situation might be turned around under the unity government headed by Anwar. The PH chairman who has been in office for eight months is saying all the right things but the implementation part is something slow and sluggish.

Indians in general understand that the political predicament of Anwar in dealing and managing the recalcitrant forces of race and religion. The unity government which is still in its infancy has to win in at least three of the six states to have some form of political stability.

A slight tilt towards the side of the non-Malays by Anwar might send the wrong message to the ever-vigilant opposition. Anwar is in the most unenviable position. He has to tread the tightrope of the political stability and disaster.

How Anwar delicately balances the difficult political situation without losing sight of the larger trajectory will be keenly watched. – Aug 3, 2023


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

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

Pics credit: MIC’s Facebook

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