Real reason for Hindraf-BN MoU failure

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This institutionalised racism is the most damaging legacy that BN rule has left the country. It is now so embedded in the civil service that it can hold politicians – even the prime minister himself – to ransom.

Lim Teck Ghee, FMT

To be able to trigger the social re-engineering to get Malaysia back on track, the country desperately needs a strong, forceful and principled PM to take charge.

Various explanations have been advanced as to why P Waythamoorthy resigned from his deputy minister position in the Najib administration and why the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Barisan Nasional and Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia never got off the ground.

Predictably the two parties to the agreement have sought to blame the other side for this debacle.

Waythamoorthy has pointed the finger squarely at the prime minister and his lack of leadership qualities and insincerity in implementing the MoU.

From the other side, statements from the prime minister’s Umno cabinet colleagues, Khairy Jamaluddin and Hishammuddin Hussein, have depicted Waythamoorthy as being selfish, ineffective in representing Indian issues and as “not a team player”.

Comments from both aligned and unaligned commentators have been more circumspect in assigning blame for the failure of what can be regarded as a landmark MoU between the ruling party and a dissident political force.

While some have lauded Waythamoorthy for quitting his position in government when he realized that the prime minister was not going to honour the pre-election commitments made to the Indians through the MoU, others have questioned Waythamoorthy’s impatience in giving up so quickly and easily.

A recent posting by Raja Petra Kamarudin summarises the concern of more than a few observers that “eight months is too early to bail out”.

According to Raja Petra, who has a consistent, even if sometimes controversial, record of raising the bar on political standards himself, Waythamoorthy should “publicise his MoU with Najib and list out which of the promises were supposed to have been delivered in six months, which he says were not delivered. Surely not everything had a six-month timeframe.”

Raja Petra has a point. But it should not only be Waythamoorthy and the Hindraf central committee that are answerable.

The government needs to table its own version of which parts of the MoU have been implemented during the period of Waythamoorthy’s tenure in the cabinet; which are being planned for implementation in the next few months; and the schedule for implementation of the full programme of Indian advancement leading up to the next general election.

After all, the prime minister in his delayed (and rather mild) response to Waythamoorthy’s resignation had noted that “I would like to stress that, in line with my dream to form a more approachable government that always gives help to those who need it, we will implement socio-economic development programmes for the Indian community, as well as the other races.”

So these details of which parts of the MoU have been implemented and which have not, should not be difficult to share with the public, even with Waythamoorthy’s departure.

For interested members of the public, the full MoU is available on Hindraf’s website but not in any other government website, including the Prime Minister’s Department to which Waythamoorthy was attached.

Real reason for MoU failure

In retrospect, it is clear that the MoU never stood a chance of succeeding even if Waythamoorthy decided to stay the course and not bail out prematurely as some have described it.

There were three strikes against Waythamoorthy and the MoU.

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