Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Malaysia's Economic Pariahs?

Without any doubt the Indian Malaysians are today the most marginalised and deprived community in reasonably well off Malaysia. I blogged a wee bit on this in The Toddy Syndrome.

I have also lamented, in another posting Humpty Dumpty Bit Hands That Fed Him, that the MIC has done bugger all for the community it claims to represent.

All those fat cats in MIC have done thus far have been mainly to look after themselves, while their impoverished community fall by the wayside as Malaysia plods on, sometimes sprinting along, sometimes crawling along, but the Indians? … they have been left behind, mired in hopelessness and carrying the impossible load of despair.

Dr Mana, a Malaysiakini reader wrote in to reveal more of the MIC internal bullsh*t, as the battle between the president and his deputy wages on. What has been shocking about his revelation, wittingly or unwittingly, has been the sad fact that there is stark racism in MIC.

Well, the Indians in MIC be best warned on this before they next condemn UMNO.

In fact, the MIC has been cursed by many forms of racism. One is related to the obvious ethnic origin, like whether one is a Tamil (the principal group), Malayalees, Punjabis, Sri Lankans, Bengalis, etc. Dr Kana wrote:

“MIC should also not be seen as a party affiliated to only Tamil-speaking Indians or just for the Hindus. The new leadership should work towards making the party comfortable with all people of Indian origin irrespective of religion, be they Sikhs, Malayalees, Telugus, Ceylonese, Punjabis, Gujeratis, Sindhis, Pakistanis, Indian Muslims or other minorities. Garner their support and have their people represented in the party. Narrow politics based on sect, religion, linguistic differences or parochialism will not augur well for the MIC.”

In that statement, he revealed another form of bigotry, that of religious affiliation, whether an Indian is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, etc.

But the pits of Indian racism was exposed in an article by Malaysian veteran journalist Baradan Kuppusamy writing in Malaysiakini about the internal MIC manoeuvrings during its current party election campaign. He highlighted the case of MG Pandithan, the president of the Indian Progressive Front (IPF), who was formerly from the MIC.

Pandithan is a sworn enemy of Samy Vellu and, though seriously ill in hospital, continues to campaign against the MIC president. What has been sad about the whole sordid situation is the ugly business of the caste system that the Indians foolishly still subscribe to.

Pandithan is of the lowest caste. Once upon a time he would have been described as an ‘untouchable’ or the derogatory ‘pariah’. That term was euphemised by Mahatma Gandhi to ‘Harijan’ or ‘children of God’, based on the word ‘Hari’ being another appellation for Lord Vishnu.

But the caste itself rejected the term ‘Harijan’ as condescending and called themselves ‘Dalits’, meaning ‘The Oppressed’.

So Pandithan calls himself a Dalit and in fact chaired the first World Dalit Convention held in Kuala Lumpur in October 1998. Pandithan was then president of the World Dalit Association. He brought together Dalit leaders from all over the world, including India’s late bandit queen Phoolan Devi.

He says: “I am a Dalit ... we are the oppressed and the suppressed in the MIC and the community.”

Though he was ousted from MIC, his influence in the Indian community is obviously still significant because a stream of MIC brass had recently trooped in to visit him in hospital - separately of course.

They included his mortal enemy Samy Vellu, who had described him as a longkang politician, and Samy’s protégé Palanivel, and naturally the beneficiary of his anti-Samy Vellu campaigning, Subramaniam.

But the saddest part of all was while Pandithan was helping to get votes for Subramaniam, the latter was trying to put some distance between them. Baradan Kuppusamy attributed the seemingly strange reason to the MIC consciousness of caste. Upper caste MIC members would react badly if Subramaniam consorted with Pandithan, a Dalit. In fact, Subramaniam would lose votes.

Samy Vellu’s Tamil Nesan had exploited this Indian disgraceful discrimination by reporting that a Subramaniam victory would bring Pandithan in as Subramaniam’s successor as the next president of MIC. Baradan said Subramaniam was pissed off with that fabrication, but unfortunately for him (or maybe fortunately, because of his lack of courage) he lost some votes because of that.

Upper caste, my bloody foot. Those MIC leaders are no more than a bunch of pariahs, and I don’t mean that in a caste sense. They are just plain @rse-h*les.

But economically, how would we describe the status of the Indian Malaysians today? Have they, through pissed poor Indian leadership and government neglect, became Malaysia's de facto economic 'pariah'?


  1. You have absolutely no clue on the 'Indian' situation. That much is evident on what little you have written. Sometimes it's better to shut up than expose your ignorance on matters you will never quite comprehend till perhaps you have reached the age of your grandfather.

  2. Did I touch a raw nerve? Why don't you rebut Dr Mana and Baradan Kuppusamy, on whose article and letter my posting has been based on? I may not know much but can you say the same about them?

    C'mon, rather than show your anger, let's hear what you have to say about racism in MIC?

  3. One of my Indian friends told me this once: A Malay may fight a Chinese, and a Chinese may fight a Malay, yet within their own groups they will band together. An Indian however, will fight everyone including those of his own race, sometimes merely for the sake of fighting.

    Is this a common psyche for the Indians? I hope not.

  4. swallow, I blogged on this 1.5 years ago at BoelhTalk. Please have a look at

  5. Dear Friends, MIC is a Tamil based party, good ol'Uncle Sam(y Velu) told this openly and others will be given due attention. Can you tell me where the kaundens fit in? Being non-tamils but holding important positions in MIC?

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  7. Look at India now.

    Rape issue now has gone worldwide recognition.

    Something is really wrong with the system.

    Stop playing with the trees and music rolling down the mountains and never getting tired. many problems to solve la DEI!

  8. mike, thever, pariah all are the same caste.
    they rose from pariah to thevar so no harm and no problem
    whether high or low caste.