Thursday, October 8, 2009


Another interesting piece of words.

Article taken from Malaysia Today.

By Vijay Kumar Murugavell

I write this in response to Subramaniam Bharathy's article entitled "What Position Should the Indian Voters of Bagan Pinang Take?" published in Malaysia Today.

There is an idiom called "seeing through rose tinted glasses" which means seeing things as more positive than they really are. This is not good as the beholder is totally detached from reality. Seeing through "race tinted glasses" is also dangerous as it tends to afflict one with racial myopia or looking at every issue from a racial viewpoint.

The pitfalls of race based politicking:
I am not saying that racial discrimination does not exist. I mean to say no such thing. But playing up race based sentiments will only invite others to take up a counter challenge and guess what? The race based party with the biggest numbers usually wins. In Malaysia that biggest race based party is UMNO who, while imploring subservient component partys to toe the line, controls the BN ruling coalition.

They use convoluted or non-existent logic to please a certain segment who are defensive that their political dominance is threatened.

The soup was left in the laundry bag and it is beginning to stink. Many of the maladies the writer speaks of stems from BN getting re-elected continuously for the last half a century, sending a message that their policies are acceptable.

The majority of the Malaysian Indian community have given their vote to BN since independence until March 08,2008 when they joined a broad based revolt that denied the BN its cherished two-thirds majority in Parliament.

This was a joint effort by Malaysians of all creeds. So, for some segments of Hindraf to say that Hindraf played a key role is akin to a cocky rooster crowing at dawn then claiming that its crowing caused the sun to rise.

As to his statement "PKR, DAP, MIC, UMNO, just want our votes – that’s all", wake up and smell the coffee - ALL political partys, without exception, strive to increase their membership and obtain votes. Show me one that does not. Even NGOs like Hindraf strive to increase their numbers. That is part of the democratic process - get with the program.

Some Hindraf members were posturing that they may vote for BN next elections and other pronouncements that infer that they will decide who rules Penang State government after turning a controversial land issue in Kg Buah Pala into a racial one. Racist posturing only invites others to take up a similar stance.

Penang, with a population of 1.3 million, is made up of roughly 60% Chinese, 30% Malay and 10% Indians. Let's not also forget it's 80% urbanized.

How would Hindraf feel if 800,000 Penang Chinese who are fed up retaliate by saying: "To hell with you. WE will decide who rules Penang with or without your vote."
Even the mighty UMNO cannot rule in Penang without Gerakan's help.

Posture when you are in a position of strength, negotiate when you are not. Roosevelt said "carry a big stick and talk softly" NOT "carry a small twig and shout loudly".

Kampung Buah Pala, Hindraf and LGE:

I will not go into a ten page explanation regarding Kampung Buah Pala except to say that it is irrefutable that the previous BN government alienated the land for a miserable sum without consulting the residents.

Lim Guan Eng (LGE) may be many things but to call him a liar or evil is pushing the buck a bit too far. In the worst case, he was probably not well informed or inexperienced in running a state in some aspects. As to the assertations of LGE sending "Indian mandores" is a cheap shot. He sent two of his Deputy Chief Ministers to meet the villagers, one of whom happened to be Prof Ramasamy. At the height of the Hindraf protests, did PM Pak Lah send his Deputy Prime Minister to meet Hindraf on the streets? No. Instead, they were met with water cannons.

I was and am truly disappointed with Hindraf's stunt of threatening to burn LGE's effigy. A memorandum of protest would have sufficed. LGE would have gladly accepted the memorandum and explained his side of the story.

Hindraf aimed its vitriol at LGE from the beginning. Had they joined LGE in the beginning to pressure the previous state government to account for their actions and failing that compensation for the settlers, the outcome may have been very different.

Hindraf advisor K Maran said Hindraf campaigned against Barisan Nasional because the Indian community wanted a better and caring government to help them. However, he slammed the DAP government for purportedly not showing any difference from the previous one.

Malaysians mudah lupa (forget easily) including Hindraf. Let me take you down memory lane.

Please view this video: Guan Eng: Indians Rich? Please prove it (Dec 13th 2007)

Barely a month after the Hindraf Nov 25th rally, LGE stood up for you guys.

LGE is now the villain? How about the still unresolved Kugan case? Dare Hindraf burn effigies of the IGP and Health DG?

Pakatan Manifesto vs Hindraf's 18 point Manifesto:
Let's get something very clear. The Pakatan Manifesto is meant as a framework if Pakatan takes over the Federal Government - not at state level.

The Pakatan Manifesto promises to take care of all Malaysians based on NEED not BREED.

It does not promise special quotas for Malaysian Indians or any other ethnicity.

If we look at a cross section of Malaysians below the poverty line, the Malays are likely to make up the largest portion in absolute numbers followed by Indians in numbers disproportionate to their total population, then smaller numbers of Chinese and others in respect to their total population.

All should be given help regardless of their ethnicity. If the Malays and Indians make up most of this number, so be it.

Let's now look at the 18 point manifesto the writer is talking about: (link has been discontinued, nevertheless, here's another link :

Excepts from Hindraf 18 point manifesto

Quote 1
End Racism, end Islamic extremism and end Malay privileges on the 50th year golden jubilee mega Independence celebrations of Malaysia on 31st August 2007.

Quote 2
20% of the Government's top-most level postings (Secretary Generals), Middle level Management (Directors) and management level (Managers) postings; and the same for the Private Sectors, and positions of District Officers, Foreign and Diplomatic Service positions, civil service positions are reserved for Indians for the next 15 years.

Quote 3
A minimum of 20 Opposition Members of Parliament are elected exclusively by the Indian Community.

Do you see a contradiction between 1 juxtaposed against 2 & 3? You cannot fight racism on a raced-based platform, whether you do it offensively of defensively.

When I first saw the 18 point manifesto, I saw many points of contention within the manifesto interspersed between universal values. Above is just an example. I picked many such contentious elements in the manifesto.

Do you also see how this cannot fit in with the Pakatan manifesto? I will just politely say that the 18 point manifesto proposed by Hindraf is "surreal".

In my humble opinion, Hindraf should do some soul searching and revise its manifesto to stick to propositions that are unique to the Indian community and not foray into areas of universal governance. Goal setting, whether for individuals or organizations, should incorporate the following elements: -
It must be realistic, achievable and have a time limit upon which it must be reviewed to remain current.

Pakatan State Government inefficiencies and the mainstream media:
With the exception of Kelantan, all other Pakatan State Governments are new; who, while trying to run their states, face relentless sabotage from the Federal Government in terms of funding and various other aspects. Many have taken bold initiatives in transparency unheard of previously.

There were cases where the State Government was blamed for issues under the ambit of the Federal Government simply because the complainant/s were ignorant on jurisdictions.

Sometimes, the temple demolitions that some made a brouhaha in the mainstream media turned out to be relocations that the State Governments already discussed with the respective temple committees and obtained their blessings but the mainstream media (MSM), being aligned to BN, gleefully ran provocative articles playing up ethnic sentiments. Consequently, when the truth was exposed they did not bother publishing an apology or retraction. The MSM just stopped informing on the follow up action being taken and looked for the next controversy to drum up.

Does this mean I am saying that PR State Governments are faultless and perfect? No way. They make mistakes just like you and I. In cases where the PR State Government did not perform their duty, it would be useful to send a memorandumto your elected representative.

If he/she fails to take action, ask for explanations. If the answers are not satisfactory, send a copy to the Menteri Besar. If you have exhausted all avenues and still have grievances, then no one will blame you for going to the press.

You must however have specific grievances, not vague ones like the writer quoted ie "lying DAP Chief Minister", "string of broken promises", "in PKR we have a bunch of wimps for MPs and Aduns" and so on and so forth. It just sounds like typical sensationalist headlines published by garbage pile tabloids.

If grievances are consistently not addressed satisfactorily, then go ahead and exercise your democratic right at the ballot box. Just as you do not like governments only paying attention to you during election time, it is also incumbent upon citizens to give feedback to governments on a regular basis. This is so they have an opportunity to correct themselves and not have you join the bandwagon and scream together with the chorus when elections are near about issues you have not bothered to understand.

You must educate yourself on the issues and repercussions of policies before you cast your ballot, not base your decision on emotion, rhetoric and hearsay. THIS IS YOUR DUTY AS A CITIZEN.

Bagan Pinang by-election:
The writer implores the Indian voters to boycott the abovementioned by-election as a sign of protest against both Pakatan and BN.

There are some 5,000 Postal votes involved which are of concern. In the US, the armed forces tend to vote Republican. Here they tend to vote BN.

This makes the by-election already lop-sided in favor of BN. There is a chance Pakatan may win. But it's dicey. If they can win by 1500 votes, I would be happy.

In 2004, BN won 75% of votes but in 2008 it went down to 59%. This is good but to counter the postal votes, more people must come out to vote. There are about 14,000 voters. I think it's possible but difficult. But I hope they can repeat the feat in the Kuala Terenganu by-election where they seized a BN incumbent seat. So far, in the last 8 by-elections, all were status quo except KT where seats changed. There is also the factor of Independent/s contesting who may act as "spoilers" who have no hope of retaining their deposit but directly benefit BN. A high voter turnout will favor PR. A low turnout will favor BN.

Repercussions of Indian voters boycotting the by-election:
I will just bluntly say that if the Indian voters (est 2000+) follow Subramaniam Barathy's rationale of boycotting the by-elections, they are handing victory on a silver platter to BN, the very same party that the writer is upset with as he quoted "Hishamuddin the Home Minister says it is alright to slight the Indians in the country by desecrating their religious symbol, the cow. The Federal Government has done nothing on the Indian issues".

The BN will then use the results of the by-election as a referendum that the Indians still prefer BN - because the boycott gave them a victory.

BN will also be very happy as such actions are likely to sour ties between Hindraf and Pakatan grassroots NATIONWIDE, which falls in very nicely with their divide and rule plans.

To do this would be to damage the very interests one is talking about protecting.

There is an idiom for idiots who do this. It is called "shooting yourself in the foot".

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