Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Indian Malaysians Like Anwar

Like many others, I am quite baffled with Indian Malaysians obsession and support for Anwar Ibrahim as evidenced by the survey completed by Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research.

Indian Malaysians supports him as if he is their communal leader. Even the Malays and Chinese were outnumbered in terms of percentage of support for Anwar within their own community.

I tried to comprehend this baffling scenario and came up with several possible explanations. This may sound simplistic, outrageous but may well be true.


80% of Indian Malaysians are said to be Hindraf supporters, this is the around the same percentage of Indians who support Anwar. It is well known that Anwar, supports Hindraf’s struggle, although not explicitly. Many PKR and DAP members are also HINDRAF sympathizers.

Anwar is against UMNO and BN, so are Hindarf, so enemies became friends, Indians are more or less united behind Anwar.

What’s confusing is that Anwar has never (in my knowledge) agreed with the 18 point memorandum by Hindraf or agreed to address various issues raised by Hindraf, although he and many opposition party leaders shouted ‘Makkal Sakhti’ (Hindraf’s catch phrase) to excite the crowd during the election rallies. Neither did he sit in any Hindraf organized hunger strike.

Equally baffling is that Indians and Hindraf supporters also appeared to have conveniently forgotten that Anwar was a key UMNO figure for at least 16 of the ’51 years of discrimination, poverty, marginalization & ethnic cleansing’. They accused everyone from MIC, Samy Vellu to Mahathir for not helping Indians in the past but stayed silent in the case of Anwar.

PKR & Anwar’s Policies

From my conversations with several Indian Malaysians, none have a clear idea of what Anwar and PKR stands for except for the fact they Anwar has promised to do away with the current NEP and start a new policy that will be fair to all.

When I further stressed that DAP,PSM and even PAS have similar views, they seem confused, now not aware of what DAP and PSM stands for. When I highlighted that PKR lead Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor did not agree to a non-malay as the head of PKNS, they shrugged it off.

When I further added that Anwar, Lim Kit Siang, Abdul Hadi Awang signed the agreement on Sept 8 as proof that all three parties would uphold Malay rights. They (the Indians I spoke to) were further confused.

At the end I ended up confused as well not knowing why are they supporting Anwar & PKR! I may get similar responses from BN supporters, but that’s not the topic here.

So I went backwards and looked at what happened before and during March general elections to understand this (Indians support for Anwar) better and offer some mind boggling explanation. I realise that this may not be welcomed by PKRians, Anwaristas and Indian Malaysians in general but what the heck, this is my blog.


Indians, especially those originating from South India like heroism. They love cult personalities and worship them. Some even built temples for them. This is definitely related to Indian Malaysians love for movies, especially Tamil Movies, where heroism is still well and alive. While the world has gone on with sophisticated story telling and multi-starers, South Indian movies, especially Tamil and Telugu movies, are still hero oriented.

Perhaps Indian Malaysian wants someone in the same mould to worship as their their leader. Samy Vellu, Subra, Kayveas and the rest are outdated. Anwar is their hero for the moment.

I did a simply survey with some Malaysian Indians, asking them two simple questions ; Who is the President, Deputy President of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat, the answer, Anwar Ibrahim, when I said no, one adamantly told me to check my facts. President of Pakatan Rakyat!!. As for Deputy president, not a single soul gave me the correct answer…

Sivaji ‘The Boss’

For those who are not aware, ‘Sivaji The Boss’ was a record breaking Tamil Movies starring Tamil Super Star Rajnikant, playing a commoner fighting against a corrupt system and politicians. The movie was dubbed in all South Indian languages such as Telugu, Kanada and Malayalam and was a super hit too.

It was reported frequently that Indians supporters chanted ‘Sivaji, The Boss’ during Anwars campaign trail last and this year.
Anwar himself reportedly declared that he’s the Malaysian ‘Sivaji The Boss’ in rallies attended by substantial Indian Malaysians. There were various posters, stickers and T-Shirts distributed during the March elections with Anwar’s image superimposed to a ‘Sivaji The Boss’ movie poster.

This maybe another reason has probably endeared him to the Indians as I myself have heard the enthuasism expressed for Anwar from those who attended his rally. Most did not talk about any policy or manesfesto from his speeches but never failed to hide their excitement when Anwar say’s he’s “Sivaji The Boss”.

South Indian Political History

Apart from heroism and ‘Sivaji the boss’ factor, another related factor is that majority of the Chief Ministers of south Indian states of Andra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil are from the cinema and they are worshipped by Indians in those states. Cinema personalities such as MGR, NTR, Karunanithi, Jayalalitha, Raj Kumar have cult following which were translated into votes when they entered politics.

Most of their movies potray the hero as lower class do gooder, helping the poor, fighting against corruption, the government etc. None are really an Oscar materials though. For the fans, whatever they do in real life does not matter, even though several of the above Chief Ministers were known to be corrupt. Their fanatical supporters see them as god and close one eye on all their wrong doings. Sounds familiar?

The cult personality worshipping cannot be more evident when at least 30 people who committed suicide when Tamil Nadu actor turned Chief Minister, MGR passed away in 1987.

Like them, Rajinikanth, who potrayed ‘Sivaji, The Boss’, although never been active in politics has huge fans base, who keep on, from time to time, urging him to dabble in politics. He is so popular than if he steps into politics now, he can be the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu without a sweat.

With Malaysian Indians’ affinity for South Indian movies and Anwar’s supporters ever closely associating him to ‘Sivaji, the boss’, Indians see Anwar as one of them.

Punch Dialogue & Rhetorics

Indian heroes are well known for their rhetorics or ‘Punch Dialoque although in real life they may not necessarily practice what they preach in the screen.

Fans literally clap and whistle when their favorite heroes let go a catchy line.
Perhaps they see the same with Anwar, whose strong oratory skills mesmerizes the crowd and he had been known to throws some quotes here and there

Here are some examples ;

My way is a unique way

If I say it once, it’s equivalent to having said it a 100 times

God commands. I obey

I’ll do what I say. I’ll also do what I don’t say

Only pigs come in herds. The lion always comes alone.

When I’ll come, how I’ll come, nobody knows. But when I need to come, I’ll be there.

You’ll be happier if you marry the one who loves you instead of the one you love.

Even if I come late, I’ll be the latest.

You’ll gain nothing without hard work. And even if you do, it won’t last for long

Finished. Finished. What’s done is done.

Yesterday I was a coolie. Today, I’m an actor. Tomorrow...

Some people say I’ll become like this I’ll become come like that. But only God knows how I’ll end up tomorrow.

Hey, wait a minute. This is not Anwar. Those are actual one liners loosely translated from the real “Sivaji the Boss”.

But they do sound familiar right…


Rakesh Kumar said...

I agree. Its in our blood. End of the day Malaysian Indians who support him will get nothing, but Anwar need to know something: Hero worshiping is dangerous to the “heroes” too. There will come a time when angry and hurt supporters will confront him, whether it’s the promises he failed to deliver or he had simply have “slip of tongue” moment (you know, the ones that Rajini and others committed and had to apologise later).

Anonymous said...

Heroism, is that a strictly Indian preference?
I guess sometimes some ppl in their despair wish for a Hero/Messiah to solve all their problems.
Anwar's script sounds like a Tamil movie, and he is a great orator with great charisma.
In my view, most of the ppl who support Hindraf dun really understand but have been led on by the educated leaders who are pretending to fight for more rights for Indians.
Has it ever occured to you that the legal profession is dominated by Indians? Should the other ethnic groups fight for equality?
Also, I do feel that sometimes the Indians are where they are 'cos of their leaders, who promoted Tamil schools and grabbed everything for themselves. But the leaders prob thought even if you gave the ppl the money they would just "waste" it?
That's why I believe education is the best way to help the disadvantaged.

Singh Is Kinng said...

Hi Mr Bala,

Stumble upon you many times at other blogsites. I just published something similar about 24 hours ago, but the approach is I'd say humourous. Do have a peep.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...


KME said...

Hi Balan,

Good analysis.

I have no real facts as to why Anwar is being supported and "idolized" by Malaysian Indians. So wish to explore the followings as well:

1. Semi Vellu factor - rejected by the Indian community. Overstayed, dictatorial and greedy. Did not do much, except for enriching himself and his inner circle.

2. Anwar's charismatic personality. He has what it take to be "an excellent politician" even during his Uni days. Smooth talker. Smooth articulator. Knows when and how to "touch the Indians' hearts", inspite of not being sincere. Do these people truly believe Anwar when he shout "Makkal Sakhti"? Do these people truly believe that he would do away with the NEP if he comes to power.

3. The Hindraf may be fighting for a just cause - being discriminated and marginalized.

4. Human beings easily forgets - as what Dr M said (Melayu mudah lupa). Remember he was part of the aggressors (when he was in the government) - discriminating marginalizing, intimadating, threatening and cajoling others. But now he's forgiven as he's good in offering sweets - not only to the Indians, but Chinese alike.

Trust me. Should he comes to power, nothing much would change. Corruption, abuse of power, accumulating wealth (illegally), discriminating and marginalizing others, and everything that the present and past leadership are being despised for - would remain. The only difference is: either less or more.

Anonymous said...

salam Balan,

cute :)
liked ur comments in JMD, decide to drop by and yes, like what i read here. will read the rest

HeroTamil said...


I luv Rajni's and Vikram's Movies!!

tunku said...

you're absolutely right my friend.
my advice to our indian brothers and sisters, not to falls into this moron's trap. as you said he was in the government for 16 years or so, what had he done? ZERO.
he did nothing for non malays, sabahans,sarawakians and now suddenly he is their hero. he had manipulated non malays well.

Anonymous said...

You are right! I pity all those Hindraf supporters. If these supporters can highlight the Indian struggle and wrongdoings of British more than 50 years ago, how they fail to look back on what Anwar did just 16 years ago when he was with the govt? Even worst most of the supporters are well educated. I think the time for them to realise is not long from now. You can publish many articles to give awareness to these people but they wont change unless they get a bang on their head.

Anonymous said...

Another interesting post Balan. I'm begining to like your blog even more. The statistic given were quite shocking and does post a question - How significance is MIC today in malaysian politic? If the percentage of the Indians votes for Najib is construed as MIC's votes, then MIC is now nothing more like PPP - small and insignificant.

Anonymous said...

dear tun. becoz of anwar today m'sians have chance to see better things and can teach BN a lesson, u may be rich but how about many poor out there.

Cucu Tok Selampit said...

Dear Bro,

I'm not racist but I think because of his blood. His father and his his grandparent is an Indian Muslim. Therefore, due to Sivaji's factor, Malaysian Indian admire him.

Good article though.

Anonymous said...

Balan, apa pun saya turut bersimpati terhadap kaum India yang benar2 memerlukan pertolongan. Tidak dinafikan setiap kaum ada golongan yang miskin. Sama ada Melayu, Cina, India atau lain-lain kaum memang ada yang miskin. Apa yang Jed cakap pun sangat benar. Hanya melalui pelajaran dan pendidikan akan membawa keluar masyarakat dari kepompong kemiskinan. Apa pun kerajaan perlu berkerja lebih keras dalam memastikan setiap individu tidak kira kaum mendapat pembelaan yang sewajarnya. Tidak perlu dihapuskan apa yang telah dipersetujui sekian lama. Apa yang perlu dibuat ialah setiap pemimpin perlu mengambil serius setiap masalah yang timbul tanpa membezakan kaum. Jika Melayu susah tolong Melayu, jika Cina susah tolong Cina, jika India susah tolong India, jika Iban susah tolong Iban...dan lain-lainnya. Lagi satu, individu yang sudah berjaya perlulah memainkan peranan dalam menyumbang kepada masyarakat. Bila dah berjaya jangan pula menjadi penyumbang dengan cara memburuk-burukkan kerajaan, sebaliknya lebih elok jika menyumbang agar perpaduan antara kaum dapat diperkukuhkan. Sekolah kebangsaan adalah satu cara yang sangat baik untuk ke arah itu. Tapi malangnya percaturan politik menyebabkan usaha ini langsung tidak mendapat perhatian dari Melayu, Cina dan India. Malang sekali bagi Malaysia yang sudah berusia 51 tahun merdeka.


satD said...

Good stuff.....

that man would probably sell his mother for you back..he will cross you....lidah bercabang.....

havent seen the movie yet , any good?

balan said...

Dear Anon December 19, 2008 8:57 AM

I am a commonner, lived in 8 estates, was hardcore poor. I just want everyone to think for themselves and not simply become a follower. Education and continous learning will help the community. Focus on that, not on someone who shouts Makkal Sakhti.

anaklangkawi said...

Great Article.

An analysis which can be a reference by MIC on how to gain support from Indians..

I sometimes dont understand why Indians like him so much. Perhaps MIC should have a new Sivaji in MIC. Perhaps..

. said...

Analisis yang menarik.

Saya sudah masukkan blog tuan dalam blogroll saya

Kembara Politik said...

I love this piece! Really!