Should Anwar have met HRP/Hindraf?

If Hindraf goes on to field candidates in the aforementioned seats, the Indian vote will be split and the damage will be for PR. This might even cause the Selangor state to fall back to BN. One would assume the logical action would be to forge ties with Hindraf

By Mr. G

The PKR-DAP-PAS opposition alliance received a vast majority of the Indian votes in the last general election. Historically, more than 70% of the Indian votes have gone to BN but with the backdrop of the watershed Hindraf rally and Bersih protest, BN took a beating in 2008.

Some thought the numbers mobilised by Hindraf were in the region of 100,000 while the ruling government claimed it was far less. Other independent news blogs and online sites put the number in the range of 20,000-50,000 which is still quite a feat considering the rally was mainly attended by one ethnic minority of the country.

The main protest was in the capital KL but other parts of Malaysia saw smaller ones, especially at the Batu Caves. Soon after the event, photos of the protesters being fired on with water cannons and tear gas were circulated on the internet.

It’s safe to state that the damage inflicted to BN by the Indian voters was not due to PR’s ability to garner Indian supporters but largely due to the Indian electorate’s anger at the ruling BN government, primarily towards its coalition partner MIC for not doing enough for the Indian community while being in power for more than 50 years.

Many now believe that this anger has dissipated a little, perhaps partially as a result of MIC leader S Samy Vellu leaving his post, held for more than two decades.

Incidents of Hindu Temples being demolished or being relocated to unsuitable areas, a number of deaths in police custody cases (the case of Kugan for example), lack of business opportunities, lack of funding for Tamil schools poverty and the issue of statelessness have been some of the main problems which are yet to be completely resolved were some of the problems faced by the community.

Is PR truly the rakyat’s party or another version of BN?

The Indian electorate believed that the above issues will be resolved when PR took over Selangor and other states, unfortunately the promised change has been somewhat lacking. Temple demolishments are still taking place in PR controlled states.

There is also the recent controversy of the Midlands Tamil School, where land was allegedly sold to the tune of RM25million and in return a mere RM3million was awarded to the development of the school which was said to cost RM4.7million. On top of that, the school will not enjoy 70% of the possible revenue generated by its 1000 capacity hall.

The Kampong Buah Pala issue in Penang might yet come back to haunt DAP and PR in the coming elections.

The current prime minister has taken some symbolic steps in trying to appease the Indians by apologising to the community and declaring Thaipusam celebration a public holiday. He also included another Indian ministering his Cabinet. However some see this to be offering the position through the backdoor to an already bloated Cabinet. Many see these steps to be not enough.

’300,000 Stateless Malaysian Indians’

While MIC says the recent My Daftar programme which saw a few thousand stateless Indians given MyKad was a great success in proving that the ruling government is sincere in trying to help the community, Hindraf says that this is not enough as the real number of stateless Indians are in the region of hundreds of thousands.

The recent MyKad brawl involving MIC and PKR has now turned in to a blame game between PKR and MIC and sadly we are yet to see a resolution for the people affected. Hindraf has urged that a royal commission be set up to investigate this serious problem.

Is MIC relevant to the Indian community?

The by-election results in Hulu Selangor won by the BN/MIC candidate P Kamalanathan shows that some Indian votes are trickling back to BN however it must be noted that the percentage of votes was 52/48%, a mere 3.6% majority.

The question is can MIC emulate the same feat at other traditional strongholds in Selangor such as the Kota Raja seat which it lost by a whopping 20,000 votes. Can MIC also get back control of the Seri Andalas seat which was lost by 10200 votes?

The long standing Maika Holdings shares issue is another problem that could reflect badly on MIC. Even though some small progress can be seen taking place, many see this as too little to late.

The Hindraf factor certainly contributed to the above and many other results in the past election. However this time, Hindraf’s support will not be there. Hindraf leader Uthayakumar’s publicly questioning of PRs performance in the opposition states will definitely have an effect on the coming elections.

Hindraf might not be able to mobilise vast numbers seen during the 2008 Hindraf rally but the scenes of protesters being fired upon with tear gas in KL and Batu Caves is still fresh in the minds of the community. The scenes of jubilation where Uthayakumar was carried by his supporters in from Klang court to Tengku Kelana Klang will not be forgotten that easily.

Anwar’s no show a wasted opportunity?

On the 22 of April 2012, HRP/Hindraf invited the PR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim to a field in Klang (locally known as Chetty Padang), Selangor which fell to the opposition in the last general election.

An interesting note, the usual entertainment incentive factors that follows typical political gatherings to drum up Indian support were not seen here, there were no giving away of gifts/hampers, no exchange of flower garlands between leaders, no cutting of ribbons, no tents or even seats for the attendees. There were no stages set up, there were no fancy audio systems and local Indian celebrities and yet The HRP gathering saw an estimated 1000 strong crowd.

Anwar Ibrahim however declined to attend.

Hindraf once again invited Anwar Ibrahim and his PKR-DAP-PAS alliance leaders to explain their commitments to the community in the first 100 days in power on the May 20, 2012. Anwar Ibrahim did not show up for the second time. Hindraf went on to announce that Uthayakumar will contest in the next general election for the Kota Raja Parliamentary seat and the State seat of Sri Andalas. Further announcements will be made for the state seat of Ijok, Bukit Melawati, and Seri Setia and parliamentary seats of Kuala Selangor and Kelana Jaya.

Can an Anwar-Uthaya alliance be formed?

If Hindraf goes on to field candidates in the aforementioned seats, the Indian vote will be split and the damage will be for PR. This might even cause the Selangor state to fall back to BN. One would assume the logical action would be to forge ties with Hindraf. It seems like Uthaya and Hindraf are extending their arm towards PR for a handshake but with the conditions that the problems plaguing the Indian community should be addressed.

However, Anwar is hesitant. The stance he takes in this issue might very well decide which party will control Selangor. Will Anwar come forward? Will we see Hindraf standing along with Pakatan Rakyat? Only time will tell ….