Opinion: Dear MIC/Hindraf, stop playing the community out – Editorial

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A few days ago, Hindraf leader and former deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, P Waythamoorthy announced that he plans to register his party and formally request to join Pakatan Harapan.

This would bring to total number of parties claiming to carry the Hindraf struggle to four- after DAP, PKR and MMSP.

The about-turn is not entirely unexpected. Hindraf started out as a staunchly anti-Umno body, then sided with the then Pakatan Rakyat, then went on their struggle alone, before eventually doing the unthinkable and joining the Barisan Nasional, only to exit it and return to their default starting position.

Pakatan’s cautiousness clearly shows in their muted response to this, quite understandably.

The only party excited enough to reply was MIC, whose Youth Wing Information Chief issued a response, which, among others, stated their preparedness to take on Waytha and his party in the next General Elections.

The statement, issued through its Information Chief, also claims MIC has done plenty for the Indian community, and cites the upcoming My Mega Daftar program as an example of this.

But while MIC has done plenty to redeem itself since its two successive electoral failures, it remains to be seen if this is enough.

Take My Mega Daftar , for instance. While MIC touts this program to register stateless Indians as a benchmark of its contribution, the opposite can equally hold true.

While UMNO has to a large extent, successfully brought the Malay community out of agriculture and into mainstream development, MIC, its partner in Government, does not seem to be able to solve something as simple as getting an IC for every Indian born in this country even after 50 years.

Another issue plaguing the Indian community is gangsterism and crime. Just last week, 52 school kids in Klang, mostly Indians, were arrested on suspicion of being involved in criminal gangs.

Indians make up a disproportionately large statistic of criminal cases in Malaysia. Part of the problem is believed to be education. But with such limited and fragmented resources, is it wise to further politicize Tamil schools?

Even as it struggles to reform, sadly, the reforms within MIC seem to be sluggish and it continues to resort to its familiar system of hierarchy and legacy, once dubbed by its DAP rival and de facto Opposition Indian leader, Professor P Ramasamy as a “mandore” system.

On the other hand, the Opposition seems to be doing no better. Apart from the regular flip flop of Hindraf, the Indian factions of PKR and DAP, partners in the Selangor government does not seem to be able to build from the platform afforded to them by the state government nearly as well as their Chinese and Malay counterparts.

While Pakatan’s Chinese elements has successfully showcased their ability to raise funds and support Chinese schools and fight for the rights of good students left out by scholarship funds and the government, the Indians have little to show other than a few small projects in Tamil schools and a handful of cultural programs.

Often, to do this, MCA/Gerakan and DAP/PKR would work together to solve problems and for the common good.This same sort of cooperation can be seen today within the Malay community, for example, the cooperation between UMNO-PAS on the Palestine and Rohingya issues.

Sadly, the Indian politicians continue to suffer from ‘crab in a basket’ syndrome. Malaysian Indian politics is often heated, argumentative and churlish, and until that is rectified, the community will continue to suffer.

It is high time the politicians stopped accusing each other of playing the community out, and realize that over politicking can kill the community more than having no political power.

And it is high time the Indian community themselves rose up and demanded better of their politicians.