Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Bagan Pinang : Take off your race-tinted glasses

by Vijay Kumar Murugavell

I write this in response to Subramaniam Bharathy's article entitled What Position Should the Indian Voters of Bagan Pinang Take?
published on Malaysia Today linking makkal.org link here http://www.makkal.org/content/what-position-should-indian-voters-bagan-pinang-take

There is an idiom called "seeing through rose tinted glasses" which means seeing things as more positive than they really are,
this is not good as the beholder is totally detached from reality. On the other hand seeing through "race tinted glasses" is also dangerous
as it tends to afflict one with racial myopia or looking at every issue from a racial viewpoint.

The pitfalls of race based politicking :
I am not saying that racial discrimination does not exist, I mean to say no such thing but playing up race based sentiments will only
invite others to take up a counter challenge and guess what ? The race based party with the biggest numbers usually wins, in Malaysia
that biggest race based party is UMNO who while imploring subservient component party's to toe the line controls the BN ruling coalition.
They use convoluted or non-existent logic to please a certain segment who are defensive that their political dominance is threatened.
The soup was left in the laundry bag and it is beginning to stink.many of the maladies the writer speaks of stems from BN getting
re-lected continuously for the last half a century, sending a message that their policies are acceptable.

The majority of the Malaysian Indian community gave their vote to BN since independence until March 08,2008 when they joined
a broad based revolt that denied the BN its cherished two-thirds majority in parliament.
This was a joint effort by Malaysians of all creeds, so for some segments of Hindraf to say that Hindraf played a key role is akin to
a cocky rooster crowing at dawn then claiming that its crowing caused the sun to rise.
As to his statement "PKR, DAP, MIC, UMNO, just want our votes – that’s all", wake up and smell the coffee -ALL political party's without exception strive
to increase their membership and obtain votes, show me one that does not, Even NGO's like Hindraf strive to increase their numbers
that is part of the democratic process - get with the program.
Some Hindraf members were posturing that they may vote for BN next elections and other pronouncements that infer that they will decide who rules Penang State government after turning a controversial land issue in Kg Buah Pala into a racial one.Racist posturing only invites others to take up a similar stance.

Penang with a population of 1.3million is made up of roughly 60% Chinese, 30% Malay and 10% Indians, lets not also forget its 80% urbanized.
How would Hindraf feel if 800,000 Penang Chinese who are fed up retaliate by saying :
"To hell with you WE will decide who rules Penang with or without your vote"
Even the mighty UMNO cannot rule in Penang without Gerakan's help.
Posture when you are in the position of strength, negotiate when you are not.
Roosevelt said " carry a big stick and talk softly NOT "carry a small twig and shout loudly"

Kampung Buah Pala, Hindraf and LGE :
I will not go into a ten page explanation regarding Kampung Buah Pala except to say that it is irrefutable that the previous BN
government alienated the land for a miserable sum without consulting the residents.
Lim Guan Eng (LGE) may be many things but to call him a liar or evil is pushing the buck a bit too far, in the worst case he was probably
not well informed or inexperienced in running a state in some aspects.As to the assertations of LGE sending "Indian mandores" is a cheap shot, he sent two of his Deputy Chief Ministers to meet the villagers one of whom happened to be Prof Ramasamy.At the height of Hindraf protests did for PM Pak Lah send his Deputy Prime Minister to meet Hindraf on the streets ? No, instead they were met with water cannons.

I was am truly disappointed with Hindraf's stunt of threatening to burn LGE's effigy, a memorandum of protest would have sufficed, LGE would have gladly accepted the memorandum and explained his side of the story.
Hindraf aimed its vitriol at LGE from the beginning, had they joined LGE in the beginning to pressure the previous state government to account for their
actions and failing that compensation for the settlers the outcome may have been very different.

Hindraf advisor K Maran said Hindraf campaigned against Barisan Nasional because the Indian community wanted a better caring government to help them.
However, he slammed the DAP government for purportedly not showing any difference from the previous one.

Malaysian's mudah lupa (forget easily) including Hindraf. let me take you down memory lane.

Please view this video :Guan Eng: Indians Rich? Please prove it (Dec 13th 2007) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLt3QARQ1HA
barely a month after the Hindraf Nov 25th rally, LGE stood up for you guys.
LGE is now the villain ? How about the still unresolved Kugan case ? Dare Hindraf burn effigies of the IGP and Health DG ?

Pakatan Manifesto vs Hindraf 18 point Manifesto :
Lets get something very clear, the Pakatan Manifesto is meant as a framework if Pakatan takes over the Federal Government not at state level,
Pakatan Manifesto promises to take care of all Malaysians based on NEED not BREED.
It does not promise special quota's for Malaysian Indians or any other ethnicity.
If we look at a cross section of Malaysians below the poverty line, the Malays are likely to make up the largest portion in absolute numbers
followed by Indians in numbers disproportionate to their total population, then smaller numbers of Chinese and others in respect to their total population.
All should be given help regardless of their ethnicity, if the Malays and Indians make up most of this number so be it.

Lets look at the 18 point manifesto the writer is talking about http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/24064/84/
Excepts from Hindraf 18 point manifesto

Quote 1
End Racism, end Islamic extremism and end Malay privileges on the 50th year golden jubilee mega Independence celebrations of Malaysia on 31st August 2007.
Quote 2
20% of the Government top most level postings (Secretaries Generals), Middle level Management (Directors) and management level (Managers) postings, and the same for the Private Sectors, and positions of District Officers; Foreign and Diplomatic Service positions, civil service positions are reserved for Indians for the next 15 years.
Quote 3
A minimum of 20 Opposition members of Parliament are elected exclusively by the Indian Community

Do you see a contradiction between 1 juxtaposed against 2 & 3 ? You cannot fight racism on a raced based platform, whether you do it offensively of defensively
When I first saw the 18 point manifesto I saw many points of contention within the manifesto interspersed between universal values,
above is just an example, I picked many such contentious elements in the manifesto.
Do you also see how this cannot fit in with the Pakatan manifesto ? I will just politely say that the 18 point manifesto proposed by Hindraf is "surreal".
In my humble opinion Hindraf should do some soul searching and revise its manifesto to stick to propositions that are unique to the Indian community
and not foray into areas of universal governance.Goal setting whether for individuals or organizations should incorporate the following elements: -
It must be realistic, achievable and have a time limit upon which it must be reviewed to remain current.

Pakatan State Government inefficiencies and the mainstream media :
With the exception of Kelantan all other Pakatan State governments are new, who while trying to run their states face relentless sabotage
from the Federal Government in terms of funding and various other aspects.many have taken bold initiatives in transparency unheard of previously.
There were cases where the state government was blamed for issues under the ambit of the federal government simply because the complainant/s
were ignorant on jurisdictions.
Sometimes the temple demolitions that some made a brouhaha in the mainstream media turned out to be relocations that the state governments
already discussed with the respective temple committee's and obtained their blessings, but the mainstream media (MSM) being aligned to BN gleefully
ran provocative articles playing up ethnic sentiments and consequently when the truth was exposed they did not bother publishing an apology
or retraction, the MSM just stopped informing on the follow up action being taken and looked for the next controversy to drum up.
Does this mean I am saying that PR state governments are faultless and perfect ? No way, they make mistakes just like you and me.
In cases where the PR State government did not perform their duty it would be useful to send a memorandum to your elected representative.
If he/she fails to take action ask for explanations , if the answers are not satisfactory send a copy to the Menteri Besar, if you have exhausted
all avenues and still have grievances then no one will blame you for going to the press.
You must however have specific grievances,not vague ones like the writer quoted ie "lying DAP Chief Minister " ,"string of broken promises ",In PKR we have a bunch of wimps for MPs and Aduns"so on and so forth, it just sounds like typical sensationalist headlines published by garbage pile tabloids.

If grievances are consistently not addressed satisfactorily, then go ahead and exercise your democratic right at the ballot box, just as you
do not like governments only paying attention to you during election time, it is also incumbent upon citizens to give feedback to governments
on a regular basis so they have an opportunity to correct themselves not join the bandwagon and scream together with the chorus when elections are near, about issues you have not bothered to understand.You must educate yourself on the issues and repercussions of policies before you cast your ballot, not base you decision on emotion, rhetoric and hearsay.THIS IS YOUR DUTY AS A CITIZEN.

Bagan Pinang by-election
The writer implores the Indian voters to boycott the abovementioned by-elections as a sign of protest against both Pakatan and BN.
There are some 5,000 Postal votes involved are of concern, in US armed forces tend to vote Republican, here they tend to vote BN.
This makes the by-election already lop-sided in favor of BN.There is a chance pakatan may win Its dicey, if they can win by 1500 votes -I would be happy,
In 2004 BN won 75% of votes in 2008 it went down to 59%,
This is good but to counter the postal votes, more people must come out to vote, there are about 14,000 voters, I think its possible but difficult, but I hope they can repeat the feat in Kuala Terenganu by election where they seized a BN incumbent seat.So far in the last 8 by elections all were status quo except KT where seats changed .There is also the factor of Independent/s contesting who may act as "spoilers " who have no hope of retaining their deposit but directly benefit BN.A high voter turnout will favor PR, a low turnout will favor BN.

Repercussions of Indian voters boycotting the by-election :
I will just bluntly say that if the Indian voters (est 2000+) follow Subramaniam Barathy's rationale of boycotting the by-elections, they are handing victory on a silver platter to BN, the very same party that the writer is upset with as he quoted "Hishamuddin the Home Minister says it is alright to slight the Indians in the country by desecrating their religious symbol, the cow. The Federal Government has done nothing on the Indian issues"
The BN will then use the results of the by-election as a referendum that the Indians still prefer the BN, because the boycott gave them a victory.
BN will also be very happy as such actions are likely to sour ties between Hindraf and Pakatan grassroots NATIONWIDE, which falls in very nicelywith their divide and rule plans.
To do this would be to damage the very interests one is talking about protecting.

There is an idiom for idiots who do this, it is called "shooting yourself in the foot"