HINDRAF Not United
With the formation of Uthayakumar’s PAHAM (Parti Hak Asasi Manusia), Indian Malaysian votes are bound to be split further in terms of political allegiance. There are already substantial Indian Malaysians in MIC, PPP and Gerakan in BN, BN friendly IPF, MUIP, HINDRAF offshoot MMSP while also increasingly in PKR and DAP in Pakatan Rakyat and not to forget PR friendly PSM.
For a start, Uthayakumar failed to unite even his fellow ISA comrades. Each and every one of them went their own way after being released. How is he going to unite and get the support of the rest of Indian Malaysian is a huge question mark. Kg Buah Pala issue helped to boost Uthaya’s image, albeit for a while but just in time to launch his own party, PAHAM (Parti Hak Asasi Manusia).
Kg Buah Pala – Return Of The Indian Hero
Lying low after being released from ISA detention, Uthayakumar sprung into action on the Kg Buah Pala issue. He turned what was originally a land grabbing issue into a racial issue.
Taking a leaf from Lim Kit Siang’s book of ultimatums, Uthayakumar threatened Lim’s son, Guan Eng with various one week and two week ultimatums. Uthaya also reportedly promised to sleep in Kg Buah Pala in August, on the eve of the planned demolition of the village and fight. He asked villagers to prepare just a pillow and mat for him on the eve of demolition His ultimatum fizzled out soon after, and nothing much has been heard from him since and all of a sudden , Uthaya is now in UK for treatment for unique heart problem!
His brother Waytamoorthy, who is still holidaying in UK, continued his favourite pass time, continuous statements that do little to rattle Lim Guan Eng and the state government. The brothers did little to demonise the previous state government, alleged by many as the real culprit in alienating the village land to UMNO linked cooperative.
After several ultimatums, Uthayakumar went on to focus on launching PAHAM and also to release his book ala ‘Mandela’ written while in detention.
Grassroot support for Uthayakumar and PAHAM has been lukewarm with only 3,000 people turning up for his release from ISA as well as during the launch of his party. Some people present was also disappointed that the event was somewhat turned to a book launch and fund raiser.
People known to me, many of whom participated in the demonstration in Nov 2007, expressed their displeasure of Uthaya forming yet another Indian based party, saying their respect for Uthaya would still be upheld if he would have chose to continue to fight on a NGO platform. His action in forming his own party has left many opposition supporters disillusioned and not sure who and what should they support.
Indian Malaysians Are Still With the Opposition
I can’t agree with Merdeka Centre survey recently that revealed 74% Indian Malaysians supports Najib. This figure seems far fetched. It maybe due to small number of Indian Malaysians respondents interviewed. While Najib did somewhat improve the perception on BN in the eyes of Indian Malaysians, real increase in support for BN is somewhat minimal.
MIC, after all the superficial re-branding exercise, has been largely unsuccessful in attracting Indians back to BN. They may have managed to get some ex-members back but these are the same group that failed the Indian Malaysians before. Samy Vellu’s reluctance to step down will ensure that they will never regain the support they once had.
Only BNs policies, handouts and Human Resources Minister Dr Subramaniam perceived good performance at national stage had resulted in some support for MIC and BN.
IPF and PPP are in turmoil of their own doing while small number of Indians is with Gerakan where their contributions are largely insignificant. In general, Indian Malaysians are still influenced by Pakatan Rakyat and it would require a lot of convincing for them to return to BN fold.
If my friends (mostly Pakatan Rakyat supporters) observation is valid reflection of sentiments on the ground, Indian Malaysian are beginning to be disappointed with Pakatan Rakyat’s increasingly shaky administration where they seems to spend more time squabbling rather than focusing on people’s problems. If this continues, Pakatan Rakyat will lose support of Indian Malaysians sooner than later.
PAHAM – Multi-racial Party?
PAHAM claims to be a multi-racial party with focus on marginalized Indians and not aligned to BN or Pakatan Rakyat. How can this party work independently in the context of a multi-racial country is anyone’s guess. PAHAM may get the support of gullible, uneducated Indian Malaysians who were in awe of Uthayakumar’s heroics and rhetoric ala Tamil Movie superstars, but unlikely to get the support of middle class and educated Indians.
Claiming to be multi-racial is easy, but I would be very surprised if PAHAM managed to recruit a single non-Indian as a member. If they continue to pursue their extreme 18 point memorandum, they are unlikely even to get a single non-Indian vote.
This strategy of claiming to be a multi-racial while focusing on Indians and Hindus seems to be non-starter and only gullible Malaysians will believe them. Sad to say that there are many of them (gullible Malaysians), hence this party may eventually end up like other mosquito Indian parties with some fanatical supporters.
Pakatan Rakyat Now PAHAM
Uthayakumar’s threat and demands on the Kg Buah Pala issue has forced Pakatan Rakyat to distance themselves from him and certain extend, the farcical entity called HINDRAF. Pakatan Rakyat leaders who defended Hindraf right after the 2007 demonstration and arrest of the 5 HINDRAF leaders have kept quiet.
Anwar Ibrahim, who briefly became Indian Malaysian’s ‘Sivaji the Boss’, derived Indian Malaysians support mainly by taking advantage of mass support enjoyed by Hindraf and used the cries of ‘Makkal Sakhti’ when ending all his speeches. Anwar is nowhere to be seen now and never commented on HINDRAF ever since the elections. Except for occasional cries of injustice over the ISA detainees, HINDRAF has been largely forgotten after Pakatan Rakyat won big in 2008 and went on to form several state governments.
Lack of gratitude and recognition by Pakatan Rakyat leaders is probably what made Uthayakumar angry hence his decision to go all alone. Pakatan Rakyat leaders also understood (PAHAM) and realized that supporting HINDRAF or PAHAM can be counter productive and even disastrous for their own political survival.
A recent opinion piece appeared on PKR’s Suara Keadlian suggesting that HINDRAF is racist and extreme, something that never appeared in Suara Keadlian when Anwar ‘ Sivaji the Boss” Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat were courting Hindraf before the general elections. Talk about media spins and politics. Perhaps Suara Keadilan momentarily lost their voice (Suara) when Hindraf first emerged.
Indian Malaysian Leaders Failed Big Time
With many Indian based political parties, are the Indians better served and represented? The answer is clearly a big NO.
Perak, Selangor and to a certain extend Kedah where Indian Malaysians voted for PAS.
What did they get in return? No different from BN, some piece meal assistance and handouts. The difference is that BN has far more money and power.
No single Pakatan Rakyat state government has came out with some blue print on how to assist Indian Malaysians and except for some heroics here and there, defending the Indian Malaysians (eg Kugan’s death), Pakatan Rakyat’s Indian Leaders has been largely ineffective and some even became the laughing stock in the DUN and Dewan Rakyat. Some of them have successfully branded themselves as extreme Indian Malaysian heroes that they are sure to be booted out by the majority non-Indian voters in their constituency in the next elections.
BN based Indian parties has, as usual been largely been making up the numbers in the coalition. With or without them, there would not be much of a difference.
Self Realisation & Mindset Change Required
What they need is not political leadership or political party. There are plenty of opportunities in Malaysia. Of course, there are many obstacles when faced with government’s bureaucracy, but there also are ways to overcome those.
Indians can survive on their own if they can focus and invest on education (and continuous education) and not on jewelries. They also need to cut down on their excesses especially on ludicrous cultural belief and traditions, spending on all things Hindu, gambling and alcohol. This alone will reduce more than half of their problems.
In terms of leadership, what Indians really need is a leader like Mahathir who dares to criticise his own race, while being in power and afterwards. Have we ever heard HINDRAF or any Indian Malaysian leaders criticizing Indians for many problems that are actually their own doing? Never, if not who will support them!.
I haven’t heard any Indian leader who criticise Indians for spending hundreds a week buying lottery/ Magnum 4D but failed to buy a single English or Bahasa newspaper for the children to read.
Have we ever heard Indian leaders calling on Indians to stop building temples as there are far too many in existence? Recent case to this point is the launch of RM 3 Million glass/crystal temple in Johor Bahru. Imagine how many scholarships would RM 3 million financed and how many families would have benefited. But every other Indian leader criticized government’s allocation of JPA scholarships. Indians in general also likes to glorify something like the crystal temple while failing to realise that the money could have been well spent elsewhere.
I have also never heard any Indian Leaders demonizing Indians for their habit of borrowing for everything that’s done in the name of culture and tradition. Excessive amount of money is spent in the name of preserving culture and tradition, never mind if their children lacked the resources for their education.
Caste segregation, domestic violence, gangsterism, marginalization and violence against women are hardly discussed, what more criticised! These are still widespread and Government is blamed for issues like stateless Indians when this is a basic requirement well known and publicised for decades.
It’s not just the politicians that need to change. This is a society where race, caste, pride and ego is more important than children’s education or family financial well being and no one leader has tried hard to reverse this communal disorder.
Every leader that came only told the community to thump their chest and be proud about themselves, their culture, tradition, no matter how ridiculous and wasteful some of it was. They do this all the time to boost their ego and inadvertently let the community continue to believe in their flawed way of life for decades.
Unless Indian Malaysians, especially Hindus, critically analyse their own failings, even god can’t help them, what more politicians. This is proven by the fact that 13,000 temples in Malaysia seems not to be helpful, if the claims of decades of ethnic cleansing, marginalization and discrimination is in fact true.