Taken For A Ride

Malaysian Indians taken for a ride

Today, The Star published an article claiming that the general elections is just around the corner.  No doubt that the signs are strong, but for me, the day after the last general elections is a day closer to the next polls.  The Prime Minister had also apologised to voters for the mistakes BN had done leading up to its sham performance in the 2008 general elections.  It was a good gesture; it shows his commitment to strive harder for the good of the people; but really, it was his predecessor’s dismal performance (or the absence of it), coupled with the extra large big-headedness that the BN, especially those in UMNO, had then, that led to the worst performance by the BN since 1969.  When Najib’s (now all-but-forgotten) predecessor took office, he made promises that he never kept.  Najib, who took over mid-term, has half a term to rectify the mistakes, and must remember to keep his promises.  No longer should voters be taken for a ride, as they were back in the 2004-2008 period.

A group that had been seeking for some kind of fairness is the Indian diaspora.  Based on the promises made by Najib’s not-to-be-named predecessor, 72.4% of them voted for the BN in 2004.  This number shrunk to merely 8.3% when promises were not delivered by 2008, translating into 88% of Indian voters voting for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) then.  The Pakatan Rakyat seemed the best avenue for minorities to express their grouses through, and hundreds of promises were made by the former to address the problems faced by the Indians – a good example being the Kampung Buah Pala fiasco in Pulau Pinang.

Moving farther from 2008, it is no secret that the DAP-controlled PR is spending more of its effort in winning more Chinese and Malay votes than keeping the promises they had made to the Indians in 2008.  Chinese votes in Johor’s urban Parliamentary areas have seen a significant rise since 2008: namely in Gelang Patah, Tebrau, Pulai, Batu Pahat, Kulai, and Bakri.  I will not go into the state assembly seats at this juncture.  The game is to reduce UMNO’s hold in its own bastion (Johor) in order to deny the BN a 2/3 majority, or even for the PR to gain a 2/3 majority this time around.  The PR has been systematically attacking government institutions like the judiciary, police and even the armed forces, to discredit the BN government.

In this new game to gain power in GE13, do you think the PR needs the Indians?

Being a Malay majority country, the Malay popular votes have split almost equally in the 2008 general elections: 35.5% for UMNO, and 34.8% for PAS.  Therefore, the win for Chinese votes is more than crucial for both BN and PR in order to obtain majority, albeit a simple one, to form the next government.  Therefore, all efforts by the PR are not being wasted on looking after issues that, to them, may be petty.  After all, the Indian diaspora only make up 7.33% of the whole population in 2010.  Even DAP is now wooing the Malays to join it and run as its candidates in the GE13.

Therefore, the Indians were taken for a ride in 2008, all in the name of power. Hence, you see temples being demolished without prior consultation (or so they claim), and the Indians being sidelined.  It was a case of double jeopardy for the Indians: they wanted to teach MIC a lesson, and had hoped to gain voice through the PR; only to lose representation in the Federal Government in the form of MIC, and left to rot by the PR.  The PR did not even address the Indian woes in its recent convention, paying more attention towards stale issues like Teoh Beng Hock (and its countless RCIs or demands for RCIs) and Aminurrasyid (the boy who was fatally shot by the police in a high-speed chase) lest the Malay and Chinese voters forget that the DAP, especially, is not forgotten.  The Indians simply do not control the PR agenda.

DAP even goes all out to promote itself as a multiracial party.  But let us take a look at the breakdown of the Malaysian demography: 50.4% are Malays, 23.7% are Chinese, 11% are Indigenous, 7.33% are Indians, and 7% others.  Let us now take a look at the breakdown of so-called multiracial DAP at central and states levels:

DAP Central Committee:  31 members (3 Indians, 2 Sikh, 2 Malays)

DAP Women Section: 11 members (1 Indian – Assistant Publicity Secretary)

DAPSY: 23 members (1 Sikh)

Johor: 15 members (1 Malay, 2 Indians)

Kedah: 15 members (1 Malay, 2 Indians)

WP KL: 14 members (1 Malay)

Melaka: 20 members (1 Indian)

Negeri 9: 15 members (5 Indians)

Pahang: 19 members (1 Malay, 1 Indian)

Penang:20 members (4 Indians, 1 Malay)

Perak:20 members (4 Indians)

Sabah:20 members (6 Bumis, 1 Malay)

Sarawak:19 members (2 Bumis, 1 Malay)

Selangor: 20 members (5 Indians, 1 Malay)

The above figure hardly reflects the multiracial composition of the DAP. Not even so-called Malay “Khairil Khir Johari” has a hint of Malay blood in him, while the Indians in DAP are split into camps conveniently ignored by its leadership.  As long as the Indians inside DAP are fighting amongst themselves, everything would be okay.  And Indian supporters of the PR who cry foul over PR’s absent-mindedness have been given excuses by the PR leaders such as “We are not in Putrajaya yet,” “Indians are a minority so don’t ask for anything,” Don’t be a racist,” “If you are not happy with us you can go back to MIC-lah,” and the most they would get from the PR leaders are the “hamper/schoolbag giving – photo shoot” events to show that the Indians are still being looked after by the PR.

Perhaps, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s constant mingle with the Indians, assistance given, and his apology for the failure of the BN in 2008, serves as a reminder to all voters, especially the Indians, that a good representation in the Federal Government, and promises delivered albeit with some defects by the devil you know, is still far better than the devil that you don’t know, makes countless promises, but keeps none.  For Najib, he not only needs to deliver as much as he can, but he must ensure that the whole BN machinery is as apologetic as he is.  Otherwise, his efforts would go to waste.  Remember, there still are people with the “I am the leader, I know what’s best for you” attitude inside the BN.

After all, a man should be respected and supported for the promises he keeps, not the ones he makes.