Indian M'sians do not need a party to represent them - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, September 10, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
COMMENT | Indian Malaysians do
not need a political party to look after their ‘interests’. I am not
saying this in some politically correct Kool-Aid way, but rather the
with the grim judgement of history backing my statement.
While the MCA may have made strategic mistakes in the way how they
handled the Umno/Malay hegemon, an argument could be made that they
managed to balance the expectations of Chinese Malaysians against the
ketuanan ethos, laying the foundation for the community’s independence
from the discriminatory ‘malaise’ system.
What do I mean by independence? I made two points in one of my earlier articles about MCA’s decline:
1. What is really destroying MCA is not DAP propaganda, but the
acceptance by a large voting demographic of the Chinese community that
no representation in the government is better than MCA representation.
2. Corruption, systemic discrimination, the erosion of religious
freedoms and the dysfunction of public institutions have become
important issues cutting across class lines, but more importantly, act
as a common ground for a certain section of the voting public looking
for an alternative – any alternative – to Umno-BN.
The first point is not new to Indian Malaysians. MIC was more of a
force of subjugation for the community rather than the unintended
emancipatory role that MCA played. The reality is that the Indian community is neither a potent economic
or electoral force when it comes to determining the political process
in this country.
While the original Hindraf movement managed to galvanise the
Malaysian political scene, much to the consternation and protestation of
the mainstream political class, it fizzled out for numerous reasons,
and become a mockery of its original intentions.
In mainstream Malaysian politics, Indian representatives are reminded
not to make noise because they are beholden to Chinese and Malay votes
to sustain their political careers. Since I do not want to prolong old
feuds, I won’t cite the numerous times, political operatives have made
this clear in numerous tweets and speeches.
But if this is indeed the case, what is the point of having an Indian political party? Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythamoorthy’s (photo below) announcement of a new Indian political party
could not come at a worse time. Not to mention what a dumb idea it is
for the minister in charge of national unity and social wellbeing to
lead a race-based party with no purpose except the dodgy agenda of
uplifting the Indian community.
Can you imagine the fireworks between Pakatan Harapan Indian
political operatives and this newly formed Indian party? Isn't there
enough infighting between the various political fiefdoms in the Harapan
establishment without having the Indian issue become a flashpoint for
While the current Harapan grand poohbah claims that it is time for the Malays to face some hard truths, the same could be said for anyone attempting to profit from MIC's political demise.
But you know what really bugs me? Whenever these Indian political
operatives claim to want to set up parties and organisations to look
after the interests of the Indian Malaysians, it is the community which
is vilified online.
You really think that after decades of MIC and various groups
claiming to represent them, the disenfranchised among the Indian
community have not learned that mainstream establishment politics have
no interest in their welfare?
They understand that racial and religious politics, either from the
then-opposition or the former Umno establishment, are part of the
systemic discrimination they face. So when political operatives talk about the ‘Indian community’, what
they’re really talking about – or what they should be talking about – is
a specific subgroup (maybe even a specific sub-ethnic group) who are
Human Rights Party’s P Uthayakumar (photo) has made this
point many times before, and this whole idea of ‘Indian representation’
is a political red herring designed to further the interests of specific
groups along racial lines.
I have written about this here – “Besides
in the realpolitik sense when people talk about Indians, who they are
really talking about is the disenfranchised in the Indian community. The
urban educated class, most probably opposition-leaning, have very
little interest in the community beyond the usual confluence of religion
and other festivities. Furthermore, as a community, there are divisions
along religious lines – Christian and Hindu – and of course, sub-ethnic
groups, which sometimes translate into political affiliations.”
How can you help the disenfranchised of the Indian community? Anyone
who makes the claim that we should “help everybody” and not look at the
race, are the biggest buffoons in this racialised political setting and
should be ignored.
As long as Bersatu and its enablers are around, the ‘Bangsa Malaysia’
Kool-Aid should not be used as an excuse not to have specific racial
programmes targeted at disenfranchised minority groups.
I once wrote about how MIC could have helped the disenfranchised of the Indian community: “As
the smallest faction in the power-sharing community, MIC could have
done so much for the disenfranchised in the Indian community who were
their base. The fact that the Indian community is scattered all over the
country was an advantage. “The MIC could have strategically tailored their welfare
programmes to individual states, and come up with a coherent strategy to
solves issues facing the Indian community in a holistic manner, because the base is small.”
If establishment political operatives really want to help the
disenfranchised among the Indian community, this is not such an immense
hurdle to overcome. There are many committed grassroots-level groups
operating on the premise that the disenfranchised are emancipated
through education and technical skills. This is the key.
All this talk of creating another political party is just another way to create BN redux. It reinforces the idea that the only comfortable narrative is that of each race being represented in the political process.
Disenfranchised minorities know this for the lie that it is.