Thursday, December 28, 2023

Tamil ministerial row emblematic of tribal politics

Tamil ministerial row emblematic of tribal politics

YOURSAY | ‘If we keep indulging in history, it shows a community living in the past.’

COMMENT | Trenchant Tamilian tantrums target PM

MarioT: A good write-up of the history and contributions of the Indian community as a whole in this country.

However, if we keep indulging in history, it only goes to show a community living in the past and demanding their rights based on past performances.

We have reached a stage where we are slowly moving out of communal politics to one that represents everyone irrespective of whether he or she belongs to one's race.

If the aspirations of a Malaysian nation for all are to be achieved, one should move out of merely seeking representation in the government of a certain community and work with those appointed to ensure proper and fair distribution of wealth is carried out.

A good example of a long-serving Tamil minister in the cabinet who seemed to only build his wealth instead of helping his community stands as a vivid testimony that having your kind in the government does not guarantee immense security and wealth for the community.

Another member of the community who sat as the deputy chief minister in Penang for so long has no evidence to show he has helped to serve the community.

Thus, instead of harping on this issue, work with the present government to meet the set objectives.

There will be shortcomings, but they should not deter us from pointing them out for proper perspective and better implementation.

Kilimanjaro: No need to write such long-winded dramatics.

It is not as though the Indians, particularly the Tamils, are not aware of the problems and shortcomings explained by the writer.

Retired Malaysian ambassador M Santhananaban does not seem aware that the Indians' protest was the catalyst for the beginning of the end of BN.

It’s as if he is not aware of how the Indians abandoned the MIC and the MIC has never recovered since.

For more than 20 years, the Indians, like other Malaysians, have been hoping for a transformation in the country, and the hopes were pinned on Anwar.

The Indians feel very frustrated, not just because of the absence of a Tamil minister in the cabinet, but the broken promises of Anwar.

I also feel aghast at the apparent double standards why such questions are not placed before other communities, particularly the Malays because you won't dare.

People like to take potshots at Indians because they are vulnerable.

Frankly, in the past, I have argued along the same lines that a minister of any race could and should represent all races.

In Singapore, the late prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, would admit that the Chinese majority would frown upon a non-Chinese prime minister, but would you really and honestly compare all our Malay leaders with Lee, not just in his ability to manage a country devoid of resources, but a multiracial country with fairness.

To put it squarely, we are so far away from that.

The answer is not a Tamil minister in the cabinet and divergent Tamil NGOs and pressure groups that will highlight Indian issues.

Going by this, Tamils don’t need any political parties to represent them, and that includes abandoning PKR and the DAP.

They don’t need these parties as they drown the interests of Tamils rather than expanding them.

Indians then have to become beholden to these parties and get bullied by these parties.

Tamil ministers had let down the Tamils so badly that they have eroded the rights and interests of the Tamils.

I, for one, will never trust anyone who says that he or she will work with the government because none of the governments have been honest.

They come out with blueprints just to fool the Indians.

The joke about the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) is already making the rounds.

Apa pun boleh: If it is true that more than 90 percent of Indians supported Pakatan Harapan in the 15th general election, it is only fair to have a Tamilian in the cabinet as they form the bulk (80 percent) of the community.

Both PKR and DAP benefited the most from this Indian support as they were the kingmakers in many constituencies that made possible Harapan’s narrow victory over Perikatan Nasional.

The provision of having a Tamilian as a minister has always been the practice since independence and a tradition in the Umno/BN era as a mark of appreciation for their contributions and loyalty.

The Tamilians form the bulk of the Indian community, and they are also the ones who contributed the most and suffered the most in developing the country from the time they were brought in by the British to develop the country.

They laboured in slave-like conditions in clearing jungles and laying the plantation, rail and road infrastructure in our early development history.

Despite all this, they are the most disenfranchised and marginalised section of the community deprived of any meaningful development programmes since independence.

The only recognition given to them for their blood and toil was a ministerial rank in government.

It is difficult to fathom why Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim sees fit to deprive them of this basic regard accorded to them all through the Umno/BN era.

Is it some kind of liability to Anwar or degrading to have a Tamilian as a minister?

Whatever has made the prime minister do this, knowing well its sensitivity to the Indians and the pitfalls to Harapan, is it worth what he benefits out of denying them this token regard?

Cogito Ergo Sum: An excellent primer on the history and the role the Indian (Tamil) community played in Malaya’s genesis and subsequent development of Malaysia.

Santhananaban has pointed to a disturbing trend that started, to my mind, with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He made “corrosive tribalism” the mantra of the day and whose beat and rhythms are still reverberating today.

There are hardly any technocrats in Anwar’s cabinet.

Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo and the current Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad would be the only ones qualified to be called as such.

The emphasis must be on progress and development to get us out of this rut. The time to transcend race, religion, and culture is long past.

Yet, the repercussions of prejudice and bigotry are still being drummed up by the very leaders elected and appointed to navigate us through this dark storm.

Two swallows do not make summer. We are still in the winter of discontent.

Prominority: What the Tamils are asking is entirely credible if one looks at their perspective, being the significant majority of Indians.

It has been a practice since the time BN formed the government to appoint a Tamil as a cabinet minister.

I agree with Santhananaban that Tamils are trenchant but don’t insult the Tamils. Accept complaints and criticisms and do what is rational.

Anwar knows he has unwavering Indian support and will consider their complaints.

Anonymous_221043: A very insightful article by the learned former ambassador. The Indian leadership of the past failed.

The facts are all there to see. So obvious. Well done, Anwar, for selecting Gobind as digital minister. He has a proven track record.

Don't be influenced by vote bank politics.

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