Dr M’s Remorse Over the Indian Community Comes Awfully Late

Sakthi Perumal

Well, if it isn’t for our damsel in distress, trying all possible ways to manoeuvre his return to power. After trying out various gambits, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad now changes his political tactics by expressing remorse for all the detrimental damage he had inflicted upon the Indians for more than two decades of his administration. The wreck has been phenomenal, period.

Mahathir’s intentions come as a final resort to the upcoming elections, clearly pointing out his motives to do better for the Indians simply because he knows they would largely make up the final deciding votes. He fails to define how he would do better especially after all the years of oppression he has brought upon the Indians.

In 2016, Mahathir set up Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) in an attempt to woo Malay voters while shunning away all other races. With this, Mahathir’s primary objective was to create disharmony within UMNO. To do this, in PPBM he preached and promised special privileges for the Malays and Bumiputera, breaking apart the nation’s unity. This itself is a huge an irony to the promise he has made to do better for the Indians in his recent statement. He is in reality the principal reason to the racial divide and economic marginalisation that our country suffers today.

As he started to witness steady progression from the Government with the people, Mahathir became increasingly baffled by the fact that the Malay votes he dearly depended on was in fact vastly spread out between Barisan Nasional, Pakatan, PAS and his own, PPBM.

Now, Mahathir is in talks to partner with Hindraf leader P. Waythamoorthy as to increase the Indian representation within the PH coalition. After all, it is not new for Mahathir to exploit the Indians, this time as kingmakers to reach his political goals.

His reign of 22 years involved the displacement and manipulation of the very same rural and estate-based people he seeks to garner support via Hindraf. They were forced out of their own homes and inadequately substituted with poor living conditions leading to the many problems the Indian community is burdened with today. He deliberately failed to relocate basic necessities such as Tamil schools, hospitals and temples as part of their resettlement plan during the industrialization period.

In fact in 2007, Hindraf led by Waythamoorthy, went on to file a lawsuit against the Government of the United Kingdom as result of the violation of rights and injustice towards the Indians by Mahathir and his administration. And, today, Mahathir dodges his faults by suggesting that the allocations and resources he had made available for the Indians during his time reached elsewhere instead, how convenient. It further goes to prove that Mahathir never had and never will have the Indians in mind. Or else, he would have meticulously monitored the flow of allocations and resources that were in place for the Indians back then.

Tun Mahathir has only made it harder if not worse for the Indians in the country. On the other hand Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is diligently undoing the past atrocities carried out on the Indian community. One such example, under the purview of Malaysian Indian Blueprint, just a couple of days ago, PM Najib Tun Razak officially kick-started the ‘Program Perumahan Rakyat’ Ampar Tenang, with an allocation of RM60 million for the development of 400 homes for the Taman Permata residents. As former estate workers, Taman Permata residents originate from the Prang Besar, Galloway, Sedgley and Medengley estates where they were forced out of their own homes to make way for the development of Putrajaya after these estates were acquired by the Government under Mahathir.

Too little too late, Tun. You and Hindraf are political bygones standing as relics in the distant memory of Indians in Malaysia. We are moving on working hard to reach our dreams in this new Malaysia, hoping you both will never come to pass again.