How to vote in the Kajang By-election


Malaysian-Indians, air your discontent in the Kajang by-election. Write “Indian Protest Vote” or “Undi Bantahan India” on the Ballot Paper. Give it a shot.

Suguman Narayanan Ph.D.

How Has the Two Major Political Coalitions Treated Indians in Malaysia So Far?
The Barisan Nasional (BN)
The Malaysian-Indian problem is not an alien subject to Malaysians. The community is plagued with social, economic, and educational problems. Crime is another major problem. Indian elites who can play societal role models disassociate themselves from the community. The educated middle class’ dilemma pertains to the degree of association. The problem persists. Many who tried to improve the community gave up. Then came the Hindraf-BN Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). A good number of Indians viewed the MOU as a new hope for the community. Eight months later, the MOU crashed! The BN failed to live up to promises it made in the MOU ending perhaps one of the shortest understandings between the community and the ruling government.

What about Pakatan Rakyat?
Many Malaysians are unaware that Hindraf approached Pakatan first. At that time, and for the longest time, Hindraf viewed BN as a party that has failed the Indian community. When Hindraf approached Pakatan, the coalition refused to sign the MOU that would have at least partially put an end to the myriad of socio-economic grievances brought up by the community. If as claimed by Pakatan Rakyat that it cares for Indians, why has it not accepted Hindraf’s MOU? Losing all hopes of dealing with Pakatan, Hindraf turned to BN at that juncture. Unlike Pakatan, BN signed the MOU, but failed to deliver its promises. With the failure to deliver promises stipulated in the MOU, BN has clearly indicated that it has neither the wish nor the will to even try to end the predicament. Similarly, Pakatan has not implemented concrete programs to elevate the lives of Indians nor alleviate their dismal condition in the states it ruled after the 2008 election and the 3 states after the 2013 election. Whatever happened to the Gelang Patah declaration? Naturally, Pakatan will probably claim that they lost the federal election and therefore the declaration cannot be implemented. But why wasn’t the declaration concretely and sincerely implemented in states ruled by Pakatan?

Dumped by Both
Are Indians still hopeful for one of the parties to save them? It is now crystal clear that the two major political coalitions have forsaken the Indian community. Hope has become hopeless. Are Indians in Malaysia so naïve to not be able to figure out that both coalitions have failed them?

Why Indians Should Not Vote for an Independent Candidate
It would now seem like the rational thing to do is to vote for an independent candidate. Not really! When Indian voters vote an independent candidate, there is no way to measure Indian dissatisfaction because there is no way to determine which ethnic group the voter belongs to. The ideal way to show a community’s dissatisfaction is to find a way to measure it.

What Must Indians Do in the Kajang Election?
The only way right now for the Indian community to get its voice heard is to show it in tangible means. One opportunity to express that is the Kajang by-election. Based on recent events mentioned above, the most sensible thing for Indians to do is to go out in full-swing to vote. However, Indians must show their discontent and frustration by voting for neither party. On the ballot paper every Indian voter must scribble, “Indian Protest Vote” or “Undi Bantahan India” or the equivalent of that in an Indian language.