“I recently received an interesting article via my email from Mr. Shiva Kartikeyan, he forwarded to me an article, I think written by Mr. Prassanan Aathinarayanan, it was indeed an article worth reading………”
INDRAF 2.0: NO gaya, NO mutu, NO keunggulan!
The Opposition-backed Indian Rights Action Force (Indraf) 2.0 rally in KL recently was notable for one main reason…the lack of participation by Malaysian Indians, even though it was held in KL’s main Indian area of Brickfields or “Little India”. This embarrassment must have been felt by the Opposition politicians gathered in support and who did their usual BN bashing speeches to mark the rally.
The use of Tamil words by non-Indian speakers is quite common especially if the speaker wants to excite the crowd (a long-time Anwar trick), but that doesn’t guarantee a real support. This is probably why with much publicity and hoohaa about the gathering, only a crowd of about 1500, many of whom were elderly people turned up for the ‘mega rally’. Quite obviously noticeable were some young students who were paid and bussed in wearing pro Pakatan t-shirts seen roaming around in Brickfields, maybe they couldn’t be bothered about what is happening because, after all, they had made their attendance to make up the crowd and who cares whether they sit in or not.
Another thing that was quite obvious was the absence of some notable DAP Indian leaders like Senator Ramakrishnan, Charles Santiago and a former ISA detainee and ADUN, M. Manogaran. Now this opens the space for doubts if the Indian leaders in the Opposition parties themselves are united. With Haji Thasleem who joined DAP for a political platform after falling out with his former NIAT comrades, Kengadharan and Ganabathirau ditching their brother-in-arms P. Uthayakumar, how are they going to guarantee Indians will be better or more united behind them. This reason probably the reason Anwar chose to ‘honour’ them by spending only about 20 minutes at the gathering.
Worst still, in his attempt to be seen as a ‘cool’ person, ignoring the facts that Indians hold strong to sentiments, Anwar was seen dancing when Indraf’s, or more suitably the hijacked Hindraf’s, theme song was being played. Only one who is ignorant or unaware would dance and make a joke out of such a serious and emotional song. If Anwar thinks all Indian music is meant to make one dance or shake their body, the onus is on the two champions Kengadharan and Ganabathirau to alert him. Instead, these two conveniently joined Anwar in the dance.
Failing in style and support, the leaders who spoke then failed in substance too, clearly failing to address the 10 demands outlined by the Indraf leadership or commit to any Indian specific issues. Instead they predictably went on BN bashing mode. While Lim Kit Siang blamed BN for dirty politics, Anwar showed his class by calling Prime Minister Najib Razak a pandikutty (piglet).
Their often repeated point was mainly to harp on the issue of Bersih leader S. Ambiga being harassed and tried to show their support for her to win the sentiments of Indians. Although what Datuk Ambiga is being subjected to is to be condemned, support for her is hardly proof of the Opposition caring about the plight of Indians. Protecting Ambiga alone is not protecting the rights and life of every Indian in Malaysia.
They kept saying they will fight for the Indian community, but what have they actually done for the Indians after ruling 4 states for 4 years?
Lim Kit Siang asked if the Indians are ready for WAR but in the same breath labeled UMNO as a violent party. He called for “ubah”, but when the Indians helped to “ubah” the Government in 4 states in 2008, they have repaid that massive vote-swing by doing nothing concrete for the Indians over the last 4 years.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng then talked about 1 temple being built in Pulau Pinang. What he failed to mention was that the Federal Government allocated RM1 million to this same temple. In any event, what is ONE temple to the whole Indian community. This is the problem with Pakatan, they build 1 temple in Penang and 1 school in Selangor and then think they have done enough in 4 years.
Then, taking a cue from her father’s tactics, Nurul Izzah used a new word, “Urimei” (rights) to counter PM Najib Razak’s rallying cry of “Nambikei” (trust). The use of words is nothing but political semantics if not coupled by concrete action. She also brought up the Effingham school issue and tried to mislead the public once again even after her colleagues; Sivarasa and Thasleem have chickened out of debates with the MIC’s Saravanan after knowing they were wrong.
All this being said, even after rightly condemning the BN and MIC in particular for 50 years of misrule, even a poorly educated Indian can tell how things are even more difficult under Pakatan’s rule in 4 states in the past 4 years. Anwar Ibrahim said Indians will get a better place under Pakatan Rakyat. But for the last 4 years, are the Indians in these Pakatan states in a better place? What have they done?
Another issue the Opposition leaders harped on was the registering of stateless Indians. Anwar said Dr. Xavier Jeyakumar is organizing a documentation event. Only after 4 years did Dr. Xavier realise there are Indians in Selangor who are stateless. What was he doing 4 years ago? This very real issue is also in danger of becoming a political joke as the Opposition claims up to 300,000 Indians are stateless.
However, less than 500 people turned out for the event over the last weekend in Selangor out of which only very few are genuine people with documentation issues, the rest were PKR members. Those who came with red ICs had their ICs photocopied and told it will be taken to Parliament. They were then to tell their family members and relatives that BN is evil and not to vote for BN in the next election. In contrast to this, we saw how the BN government under Najib has taken concrete steps to address this problem and has managed to register over 5,000 applicants in its 4 years.
On another one of Anwar’s points about racial politics in the handing out of scholarships. He ignores the fact that since 2009-2011, an average of 10% of JPA scholarships were given out annually to Indians. It is sign of real desperation when one has to lie to garner support.
However, what worried me the most as a neutral observer of politics in this country is Anwar Ibrahim’s fantastical election pledges which have been made a number of times in the recent past. Anwar’s calculations that RM5 billion for free education taken from Petronas’ RM80 billion annual revenue will not bankrupt the country is simplistic at best.
He also claimed he will bring down the petrol price immediately after he becomes the PM. Since when did Malaysia, a non-member of Opec, have the power to force major oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran and other OPEC nations to increase oil production and bring down the petrol price? These pledges are not only nonsensical but are an insult to a Malaysian’s intelligence.
Finally, Pakatan’s record in the past 4 years of rule in 4 states speaks for itself. How many local council contracts have been awarded to Indians? How many schools or temples have been built or repaired in these states? How many jobs have they created for the Indian community?
One thing that is clear is that the BN has heeded the lessons of Indian’ anger after the last elections. It is however sad that the PR has chosen to squander the huge leap of faith by the Indian community. Perhaps realising this now, they are making these piecemeal gestures to try to win back the support which they sense has clearly returned to BN due to PM Najib’s efforts.