Political thuggery between Dr M and Samy

The recent back and forth political bickering between former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the MIC President Datuk Seri Samy Vellu is nothing short of political thuggery.

The high drama involves two equally unscrupulous men trying to paint a demonic caricature of the other, when both must simply learn to fade away gracefully.

I am sure my sentiments are shared by most Malaysians.

Samy Vellu and Mahathir have not lifted their dainty fingers to ease the socio-economic burden of poor Indians or Malays. Instead, both helped their cronies get richer and stifled dissent in their respective parties.

Mahathir, during his tenure as premier, fractured the political dynamics of the country. Samy Vellu played his flunky by shutting up the Indian community while jealously guarding his political empire.

Clearly Mahathir does not have much face value to tick off his once-upon-a-time BN lieutenant for the current woes faced by the Indian community. He certainly did nothing to stop Samy Vellu's bully boy tactics against a minority community which was already discriminated upon by the UMNO-led ruling government.

I would not be all that wrong if I said that the strongest impulse in Malaysia's politics is characterized by racial politics and sliding ethnic relations, which is threatening to divide the society even further.

One does not have to go far to figure out who propagated this tradition of racism. I quote Mahathir – "It's only when my own people hurl insults at me that I feel slighted" – this must be former Prime Minister's most telling remark.

It clearly sums up the man for who he is – a racist. In sharp contrast, Mahathir said the "slipper-garland" comment by a MIC member is like pouring water on a duck's back.

The octogenarian leader, clearly, has only considered himself as the Prime Minister for the Malays. Are Indians and the Chinese not his people when he was the premier?

Samy Vellu, to stave off the humiliation of rejection by the Indian community, claims that the people have not rejected him but the ruling BN coalition government. Mahathir, on the other hand, laments that he had overstayed his welcome and thus incurred the wrath of the people.

The current political reality in Malaysia is not a dusty road map. The simple truth is that Malaysians are fed-up with Barisan Nasional, its component parties and their leaders. The people are aware that the country's wealth has not been shared with the poor and marginalised groups but sucked dry by the elite and their cronies.

Therefore, the playground jibes and public spat which pits leaders of the component parties amongst themselves only succeeds in crystallizing the rift between them and may very well mark an end to their regime.

Charles Santiago

Member of Parliament, Klang