BN doesn’t need Indian votes and The Opposition needs Indian votes to come to power

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Written by  Joe Fernandez

The Indian community is in the news again in the run-up to the forthcoming 13th General Election. They are caught between voting against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), as in 2008, and voting for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) at the forthcoming 13th GE.

The crux of the Indian plight in Malaysia is that the community has been effectively disenfranchised since independence in 1957, but this fact has yet to be acknowledged by all as being at the root of all evil for the community in Malaysia.

(Malaysiana: Indians in a plight – stateless, voiceless, poor and under siege by the state, Malays have a dilemma — in power since 1957 including colonizing Sabah and Sarawak but unable to ever better the Chinese — Chinese have a paradox — richer than others and getting richer but still 2nd class citizens).

Mother of all Evils – not even one Indian seat

The Indian community, despite having nearly one million of their numbers on the electoral rolls, doesn’t have even one state or parliamentary seat. Therein lies the mother of all evils.

Sabah in contrast with 800,000 voters has 60 state seats and 26 parliamentary seats including Labuan – still not enough given the size of the state vis a vis Malaya and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement but that – imbalance – is not the issue here and will have to be taken up separately.

Meanwhile, the 6,000-odd overwhelmingly Malay voters in Putrajaya have a seat in Parliament. In short, 6,000 have a voice in Parliament vs one million left voiceless.

Likewise, there are many other Putrajayas in Malaysia – none non-Malay needless to say — where the number of voters on the electoral rolls numbers anything between 5,000 and 15, 000.

It’s these Putrajayas, it has been reckoned, which will ensure that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) can win at least 112 parliamentary seats at the forthcoming General Election, the 13th, and with just 19 per cent or 1.89 million of the votes cast out of 10-million odd (2008 figure) and go on to form the Federal Government with a simple majority.

BN doesn’t need Indian votes

So, the BN in fact can afford to sit pretty and doesn’t need to bother with the Indian votes which would be a bonus if and when they come in.

Indian voters can be pawned off with crumbs and shameless excuses pending the Final Solution.

Umno after having neutralized, isolated and marginalized the Indians through disenfranchisement and other aspects of criminalization of the state apparatus is currently set to “eliminate and exterminate” the community – including thorough Islamisation and the Syariah Court – and ultimately wipe them off the face of the Earth as a community in Malaysia.

The stages, to recap: criminalization, demonization, dehumanization, neutralization, isolation, marginalisation, “elimination and, finally, extermination”. Already, the civil service has been “ethnically cleansed” of Indians to a great extent.

This is Umno’s Final Solution to deal with the “Indian problem in Malaysia” before turning its attention to the bigger “Chinese problem”. The latter involves, as a first step, persuading them to stop eating pork if possible and stop them talking incessantly about mother tongue education after pawning them off with excuses after excuses since 1957.

One thing at a time. The Malay-led Peninsular Malaysia-based national Opposition knows the score and is crying foul even before the 13th GE as seen in its backing for the Bersih movement which is screaming itself hoarse for free and fair elections.

Indians need free and fair elections the most

Bersih, however, is all about the Opposition coming to power despite an Indian face, and doesn’t see that it’s the Indians more than anybody else who need free and fair elections. So why should the Elections Commission care about the Indians?

Instead, there’s much hot air being ventilated on “inclusiveness” to bring the Indians into the mainstream so that they can get an identity – think stateless – and enjoy the fruits of development and materialism.

This will never happen in a million years.

One of the most pathetic excuses until of late was that the ruling party must not be seen among the Malays as giving in too much to the Indians.

How does giving in too much arise when even the little that the Indians have are being taken away from them as evident in the legal and medical professions, to cite two bastions of Indian dominance?

Nevertheless, the battle lines have been drawn in a new struggle by both sides of the political divide for Indian votes, especially those in the critical 67 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia where the community decides.

Both sides are taking and/or have taken their respective positions.

The Opposition needs Indian votes to come to power.

The BN doesn’t need Indian votes to stay in power but would definitely need them to win back its coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The Final Solution proverbial Sword of Damocles

Besides, even if it can’t woo back the Indians, the BN wants to ensure the community does not vote for the Opposition. It may do this by placing a “moratorium” on the Final Solution and using this as the proverbial Sword of Damocles.

Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, demonstrating that old habits die hard, and to reiterate, is into even more hype than usual, cosmetics, gimmicks and propaganda in his bid to woo Indian votes as a bonus.

We don’t hear this time the usual Umno line that nothing can be given to the Indians lest the Malays complain, whatever that means, and lest the ruling coalition lose their (Malay) votes. But it was okay in the past to deny the Indians and even take away from them what little that they had accumulated through centuries of hard work.

So, generous allocations are being announced this time by Najib for the Indian community but with very little indication that such funds have indeed been released.

The 90 per cent Malay majority civil service, indoctrinated by the racist Biro Tata Negara set up by Mahathir Mohamad when he was Prime Minister, will never release any funds to the Indian community, and if at all, in bits and pieces and grudgingly to MIC leaders only.

In any case, it’s a case of too little too late.

BN’s old song was Indian votes don’t matter

Umno’s tragedy is that it didn’t realise how important Indian votes were until the 2008 General Elections when 85 per cent of the Indian votes and most of the 67 parliamentary seats and related state seats fell to the Opposition. This was confirmed by MIC President S. Samy Vellu in a recent interview.

Samy’s excuse was that he tried his best to bring up Indian issues before the Federal Cabinet but was routinely brushed aside — “Indian votes don’t matter” – and convinced that he could not do anything for his disenfranchised countrymen, he focused on the next best objective: at least getting his share of the crumbs from the Umno table.

He did distribute some of these crumbs to the people around him. There was not enough to go around and so he faced numerous challenges to his crown all under the guise of working for the betterment of the Indian community.

MIC getting carried away by its propaganda on “returning” Indians

Post-Samy MIC, in publicly consoling themselves, keeps self-servingly repeating that Indians are returning to the BN. Their latest figures put Indian support for BN at 65 per cent but obviously such a high figure is a figment of their imagination.

If 65 per cent, the BN in that case should have no problems in wresting back many of the 67 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia where Indians decide and which fell to the Opposition.

The party attributes the return of the Indians to the community being convinced by Najib’s leadership especially after he asked them for their nambikei (trust in Tamil) and vishwas (trust in Punjabi) in him.

Najib’s Indian vocabulary either ran out after that or he doesn’t know or care that other Indians exist as well in the country. These include Malayalees, Sinhalese, Telugus, Gujeratis, Sindhis, Bengalis, Pathans and Gurkhas, among others. These smaller groups, unlike the Tamils, are almost wholly urban.

Votes from smaller communities can make a big difference

All things being equal, the major communities being equally united and divided, a manageable 1, 500 to 3, 500 votes in a seat from one of these smaller communities can spell the respectable difference between victory and defeat in a cliff-hanger.

The Tamils, like the Malays and Chinese, may be too large in numbers to unite under one platform.

However, the Chinese proved this theory wrong by uniting under the Dap in 2008 and show no signs of splintering again, it’s still 50 : 50 whether the Tamils will follow suit as in 2008, while the Malays will definitely prove the theory right as in 2008 when they will continue to remain with four political parties i.e. Umno, PKR, Pas and Dap.

Again, the Indians and Tamils in particular, are not in sufficient numbers to play the numbers game unlike the Chinese and Malays. The Malays can in fact split three ways and still stay in the political reckoning across both sides of the political divide.

Indian champions such as the newly-formed Indian Rights Action Force or INDRAF are left to wrestle “heroically” with Indian issues – a lonely cry in the political wilderness and facing any number of traitors willing to sell their souls to the devil himself for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.

Malaysia Chronicle