Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We Will Never PAHAM Indian Malaysians

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). 

The other ISA detainees went their own way with former national coordinator, Thanenthiran forming his own party, Malaysia Makkal Sakhti Party, Vasanthakumar claiming to own the original HINDRAF registered as a company, Hindraf Enterprise while Gandibarao have yet to unveil his plans but made known clearly that he will not be joining Uthaya’s PAHAM. Another detainee, M Manoharan went straight onto his role as ADUN for DAP. 

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. 

He mentioned that PAHAM are likely to contest in 15 parliamentary and 35 state seats. As you would have guessed, most of the seats are those with significant Indian voters but not the majority. Chances of them winning the seats are slim unless either BN or Pakatan Rakyat gives way. I will not be surprised if PAHAM lose their deposits in all their duels if both coalitions are contesting. 

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. 

Indian Heroes in other parties in Pakatan Rakyat such as Manikavasagam, Gopalakrishnan and others Rakyat appears to be equally confused with Uthaya and Waytamoorthy’s constant attacks on Pakatan Rakyat. They are also afraid of losing their Indian support if they openly criticise Uthayakumar, hence keeping quiet is the best option for now.  

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. 

Indian Malaysians votes were crucial in Pakatan Rakyat’s win in Penang,
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.


Anonymous said...

How I wish I had an Indian friend just like you ;)

Rakesh Kumar said...

Wonderful sum up of what happened to Indian community and its leaders in Malaysia since the 08 election. I suppose once we stop treating ourselves as Indian Malaysians, and rather Malaysians who has certain ethnic background and culture that added colour to this country, things would move more positively.

Nobody is telling us to get rid of our culture, to disbelief the religion, or to slip the origin language off the tongue. There should be there to help this country become stronger globally in terms of relationship with the countries of origin. It's a great advantage.

At the same time, we should assimilate ourselves with the other fellow citizens of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds as they have on ours. Celebrate our differences, rather than pointing them out.

I am digressing. But my point is that is what I want to do. First thing first: stop believing in these community leaders. They are selfish self-promoters and exploiters. I have never believed in them, and nor would I encourage my children in the future to believe in these scheming venomous serpents coiling around the legs of the society, creeping slowly to sink its fangs and deliver the poison.

We can grow on our own, as many of those who have succeeded did.

King-Fx said...

What I can say about this HINDRAF chap? HAHAHAHAHAHA

al_husni said...

your views have merits bro..
i hv a lot of indian frends and some of them only cares about drinking, gambling and women..blame all the others for all the mishaps and fail to look at themselves..
still remembers when i was working as temporary teacher..had one indian student who always look tired in class..i was told she had family problem..when i asked her, she told me that most of the time when her father came back late at night...he would be drunk and broke..and he would let out the anger of losing to her mother...and the quarrel would go on and on...blaming each other for the condition of the family...she was bright but her family wanted her to stop school and work to support the family...how i pity her..

Anonymous said...

First time reading your piece.
The Estate where I work, majority Indians are pro BN. But this is in Johor, a BN bastion anyway.