What was interesting has been his warning to Hindraf supporters not to “... let not anyone tell you that Hindraf is without leadership as a result of the police act ...” or to allow any political parties to hijack the movement’s struggle.
He said: “We will remain apolitical though we are politically sensitive. I know there will be political parties who will try to move in after the arrest of the five key leaders today. My message to our supporters is not to let them hijack our struggle.”
He must have seen what happened to Bersih where the climax of the Bersih march, having reached Istana Negara (King's palace), saw the entire rally waiting a fairly long while for a ‘certain person’ to turn up to hand over the petition to the Palace officials - a 'someone' who was not even among the supporters in the rally itself.
I wonder why Nik Aziz or Lim Kit Siang, or better still an NGO leader or a popular personality like Irene Fernandez couldn’t do that.
Yes, why not a more poignant personality like the brave young laddie who was struggling along the march on crutches - what a more glorious headline that would have made.
Instead, all the valiant efforts of the brave marchers of Bersih were corrupted by that hijacking. Instead of the Bersih march being a people’s rally, as exemplified by the struggle of that physically disadvantaged but brave young laddie, it ended up being the grandstanding platform of one single political personality.
As I blogged in Hindraf H-bomb blasted veneer off opposition multiracial mask:
Firstly, Malaysiakini reported that Anwar Ibrahim “… urged the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) to direct its grievances towards the ‘corrupt’ Umno-led Barisan Nasional government” but not Article 153 of the Constitution.
He also told Hindraf “to consider a more balanced and responsible approach to address its grievances”.
How would Hindraf be not balanced and not responsible in its approach of campaigning against Article 153? Please see Anwar Ibrahim, Article 153 & Hindraf and Is Anwar Ibrahim backtracking on his policy on NEP?
I wonder whether Anwar Ibrahim said those same words in India?
I also read just prior to the march some so-called activists and staunch supporters of the Bersih rally, criticizing the Hindraf march as ‘chauvinistic’.
Like Anwar, PAS also criticised Hindraf's assertion. PAS leaders should read this letter by Steve Oh to Malaysiakini titled PAS need not worry about Hindraf.
Oh said in defence of Hindraf: “Surely there must be a situation where it is legitimate for people of the same race, who are common victims of discrimination, to fight for a common cause or for their rights without having to justify their stand or be unfairly accused as racist. We must be careful not to confuse racial discrimination with racial identification.”
I have also read a letter in Malaysiakini by a staunch PKR stalwart, Nat Tan, urging Hindraf to join up with Bersih. Nothing wrong in this – in fact I support Nat's call, but I can fully understand why Hindraf leaders would be suspicious because really, where was Bersih, PKR and PAS when Hindraf was about to commence its historic march.
But I want to put on record here that Nat Tan stood out among PKR and other activists in his walking with Hindraf on 25 November. However, as a loyal Anwar aide he did spin his best to explain his boss' and another so-called activist's lack of sympathetic support for Hindraf. Nat has my admiration for his principles and integrity, but I don't buy his over generous excuses for those two.
But as Momentum M wrote in to Malaysiakini Vox Populi: "I read with interest the letter on PAS stand on Hindraf. I was also at the forum at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Dec 11 on the subject of Malaysia after Hindraf. It is amazing how many parties are now jumping on the Hindraf bandwagon on a hundred and one pretexts of giving advice instead of recognising that the Hindraf movement has in one brilliant stroke created a momentum that is changing our political landscape forever."
Yes, Momentum M, you aren’t the only one to notice the hypocritical about-turn of those who had earlier dissuaded, criticised and even condemned Hindraf prior to the H-shockwave the Hindu movement has created.
Momentum M also called on us to back Hindraf to the hilt without any reservation because he (or she) mockingly noted that "neither PAS or PKR has openly done so".
He/she continued: "If the immediate objective for the next 12 months is to mount an effective challenge to BN, the obvious thing to do is to support this momentum instead of frittering away this advantage. Politics is all to do with momentum and timing. In my 40 years observing Malaysian politics (including standing for elections), I have never seen the impact of an event such as the Hindraf phenomenon on the electorate."
Indeed, and this is the subject of this post
As a general group (excluding the community’s small group of well-educated and/or well-heeled elite) the Indian Malaysians have in recent times gained the dubious reputation of being the ethnic group involved in a very high percentage (said to be 30%?) of crimes – and really, that should have already alerted us to their terrible social-economic problems and disadvantages.
Additionally their so-called representatives, chief among whom has been the MIC, have been shamefully pathetic and are hardly exemplary models of community leadership. The converse has been true where those Indian political leaders in the Barisan Nasional have frequently provided comic relief to the terrible Malaysian political landscape that is plagued with racism.
The Indian Malaysians represent approximately 10% of our population yet own only 1.2% equity, of which 1% is said to belong to only one man, billionaire Ananda Krishnan. And how much of the 0.2% left are owned by MIC leaders?
All in all, the Indians are hardly an influential group but known to be ‘obedient’ to their MIC Brahmin-ic ‘betters’ ..... or so they were thought to be!
Most of those pollies who now lust for the Hindraf H-power had originally sneered at the movement's plans to march to the British High Commission, or even laughed at what they thought was the typical Indian joke of any action, expecting the usual comic relief to follow.
Prior to the rally, some made patronising comments, probably accompanied by a curl at the corner of their mouths or even a smirk, while others dismissed Hindraf's campaign rally as chauvinistic in nature and not to be supported.
Chauvinistic? Please do read Steve Oh's letter to Malaysiakini again (mentioned above).
But the Indians have through the years lost so much that, in desperation and pitiful plight at the very rock bottom of Malaysian society, there was only one way to move ..... upwards ... or at least forward in a magnificent Hindraf rally. They acted because they have lost their fear of, and traditional obedience to, authority.
No slick high profile Renaissance leader to galvanise them - all mainly dads and mums - the numbers in the Hindraf rally on that momentuous day of 25 November 2007 totalled around 30,000, with some even suggesting it was up to 50,000 people.
All they asked for was ... don't leave them by the economic or educational wayside, stop wiping out their religio-cultural base and respect their rights to worship their Hindu religion in 100-year old temples, temples that were erected way before the existence of the political entity of Malaysa/Malaysia, and respect for their equal status as citizens in our community.
Would there be anything wrong in such reasonable demands, whereas to disagree with such demands would in fact be unreasonable.
But back to the numbers in the rally - let’s be conservative – let's say it was just 30,000. And how many were there in a well organised Bersih with high profile personalities?
40,000, most of whom were PAS members fatwa-ed into participation by Nik Aziz. While it was a multi-ethnic rally, let’s not pretend it wasn’t mainly Malays.
40,000 from a possible 65% of the population compared to 30,000 from a possible 10%.
Relatively speaking, the Hindraf rally had an equivalent strength of nearly 200,000 strong, five times greater than the much vaunted, better organised, high profile-led Bersih. Hindraf produced a nuclear fusion that has Malaysian politics still reeling. The energy of the Indian Malaysians demonstrated on that day in November 2007 has been staggering ...
... which has been why Waythamoorthy is damn worried that some political parties may plot now to ‘hijack’ and harness the amazing power of the Hindraf movement.
MIC is worried, PPP is drooling (which has been probably why Kayveas badmouthed MIC) and other parties are lusting after the Hindraf potential.
The Malaysian political environment is still buzzing, yes reverberating with Hindraf news and going-ons of its personalities - we just can't have enough of them. They are the new folk heroes, signalling what can be possible, what can be Boleh!
The ‘traditional clowns’ have become the new much-sought-after ‘towering champions’.
(1) Malaysia's Economic Pariahs?
(2) The Toddy Syndrome