The way forward for Malaysian Indians? – Raghavan Nair

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Another Indian group joins in the deluge of parties in Pakatan, what seems to be a political gambit towards capturing the elusive Indian votes by Tun Mahathir.

“Pesta Ponggal Vanniar” held by the Indian Advisory Council Malaysia (IACM), saw none other than the ex-Prime Minister on his supposed plans for the Malaysian Indians if Pakatan comes into power. Yet it has been 3 years since the launch of IACM by Tun M himself, which promised to conjure up a workable plan for the Indian community as their founding priority, but not a shred has emerged so far.

And, again as the title suggests (Vanniar is a caste), yet another caste based system being deployed by Tun M to split and rule the Indians? First by having multiple parties fighting over Indian votes within Pakatan, then now caste based divide to further their cause. Whatever happened to HINDRAF who ceremoniously joined Tun M, to go on a nationwide roadshow?

The formula being deployed by Tun M is to be expected. One could take the a look at the legacy Tun M created when he was the boss in BN by creating multitude of Indian parties within BN, other then MIC to champion the cause for the Indians, which exist even till today. One of many legacy issues current PM had to endure.

At the event, the former premier said that he has not had many opportunities to address the Indian community. Even informed the crowd that he did not know what was ‘Ponggal’, after 22 years as a Prime Minister for all Malaysian. Yet, he had the cheek to say that given the opportunity to rule once more, he would do more for Indians.

What was the outcome of his rule for 22 years in Malaysia? A grave decline in Indian intake into Universities, further erosion in civil service employment or rather systematically reducing Indian representation in all Government posts. The only increase was in the negative spaces of criminality. Indians were courted for all the wrong reasons, being a gangster paid the bills and took them out of hardship.

There was no other way out of the shackles, which were ignored by none other then Tun Mahathir when he was the Prime Minister. If it was in the court of law, you are an accessory to a crime and you will be served due justice.

It was Najib who took steps to uplift Indians a little bit more seriously.

The infamous HINDRAF 5, were freed in April 2009 during the same time Najib stepped into office. After the historic HINDRAF’s massive rally in Kuala Lumpur in 2007, five of its leaders — P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, K Vasantha Kumar, V Ganabatirau and Kengadharan — were arrested under the now repealed ISA on Dec 14, 2007. Najib even reformed the practice of ISA and made sure the release took place as soon as possible.

Hindraf was then given the handshake and a welcome into the Government fold, with a Deputy Minister post in hand. Genuine or not, Najib took the first bold steps to change the course of history for Indians in Malaysia. Even now he has launched a 10-year plan called the Malaysian Indian Blueprint to progressively mainstream Indians into the country and its existing policies within this 10-year period.

Having ruled Malaysia, Mahathir’s racial influence trickled down from top to the lowest level and has remained saturated ever since. He swayed all important areas and institutions (e.g. education, government positions, business opportunities, judiciary, the police force, the AG’s chambers, the MACC, etc.) of the country towards race-linked differences, doing NO justice to the Indians.

Despite this man’s years of wrongdoing, it is preposterous that some Malaysians would actually root for him now. To Mahathir, the country has to remain his political fiefdom with people continuously falling for his baloney. Today, there can be no more talk of exclusivity but only inclusivity. If there are any affirmative action policies to implement then it should be based on needs rather than being ethnic based, suiting only one particular race.

I may seem bias, but given the facts, all other verbal diarrhea put forth by the Opposition has not resulted in any workable nor concrete plan to date for the Indian Community. First there was Gelang Patah Declaration, and then now it’s just a void of uncertainty within Pakatan Harapan.

*This is the personal opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Kuala Lumpur Post.