Received the write-up below via e-mail from Hindraf. I’m reproducing it as is. However I’m adding bold emphasis to some salient points that deserve highlighting.
Just one comment to add though:
Hindraf is saying that Pakatan does not even have a national Indian leader to showcase. Well my friends, that’s your tragedy. ‘Indian’ is a taboo word, but they can replace it with what’s to them more acceptable, i.e. “hitam metalik”.
And DAP Aduns would prefer to record their children’s keturunan to be ‘Cina’ despite the father having an Indian name.
Plus even if Pakatan (i.e. DAP or PKR) did have an ethnic Indian leader of national stature, he would never agree to your description of himself being “a national [level] Indian leader”. Rather he’d confess himself be a Malaysian First leader equally for all Malaysians.
But if the candidate was Malay, like DAP Malay Great Hope Sakmongkol, DAP Malay “Opinion Leader” Hata Wahari or DAP Malay Young Talent Zairil Khir Johori, then the DAP man’s Malayness is sounded loudly to the clash of Chinese cymbals and gongs.
But no such drumroll for the Indian-ness of any candidate. In any case, you folks would already have known all this from Mano.
Behold, I managed to compile this photo gallery:
Got any wearing the pottu? Any taken in a Hindu setting? Sorry, I don’t recall coming across one. The Indian look tak lakulah untuk dijaja DAP. — Helen
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WHY NAJIB IS TRYING TO WOO THE INDIAN VOTE?
It has been rather obvious that PM Najib has in recent months been seen to be trying to woo the Malaysian Indian population with several high profile public relation exercises. He has been attending Indian religious and cultural festivals, mostly making celebrity-style entrances into these functions to impress the Indians.
Joining Hindus during Thaipusam at Batu Caves as well as the national level Ponggal celebration organized by MIC, PPP, MMSP, IPF and Indian NGOs in Klang recently, Najib has been doing his level best to win over the Indian voters.
He has been promising to build Tamil schools, increasing matriculation seats of Indian children from 559 to 1,500; regular photos are appearing in local mainstream dailies showing some elderly Indians obtaining Malaysian citizenship’s etc.
As PR leaders seem to be only concentrating on the Malay and Chinese population, and increasingly not paying any attention to the Indian woes, Najib is seen feverishly trying to win back the BN’s traditional loyal supporters. Why is this so? Does Najib know something that the PR leaders are ignorant about?
In the last general elections, PR was the main beneficiary of the overwhelming seismic shift of the Indian voters away from BN. From a 72.4% share of the Indian votes that went to BN in the 2004 general elections, that number had shrunk to a measly 8.3% in the 2008 general elections. Meaning almost 88% of the Indians voted for PR (the remaining being spoilt votes).
Hindraf had been credited for the awakening of the Indians voting mindset to shift their loyalties to the opposition. However, ever since coming to power, PR has been focusing primarily on the Malays and Chinese population in particular, probably because they form the two largest ethnic compositions in Malaysia.
The Indians were subtly pushed out of PR’s radar of vision.
This phenomenon did not bring any good to the Indian community as they had lost a meaningful representation in the Federal government in the form of MIC and worse still they did not control the agenda of the PR either.
Hindraf was conveniently left out of the PR state governments and was not consulted even once regarding Indian issues even though it has been more than 4 years now since almost 100k Hindraf-inspired Malaysian Indians took to the streets to express their grouses.
No doubt PR has numerous Indian representatives to showcase but the very fact that hardcore, bread and butter issues that the Indian community are suffering from like statelessness, Tamil school neglect, land issues concerning squatters, Tamil schools, temples, cremation and burial grounds as well as their poor economic welfare were not addressed was proof that PR did not have Indian representation.
At the most PR was dealing with these issues on a piecemeal basis, quite similar to what MIC had been doing for umpteen years before. The “hamper/schoolbag giving – photo shoot” mentality still very much prevails. None of these issues were debated with any gusto in parliament.
Convenient excuses like we are not in Putrajaya yet, Indians are a minority so don’t ask for anything, don’t be a racist, if you’re not happy with us go back to MIC lah etc were flung at the slightest of convenience to subdue the Indian woes and demands.
At the recent PR national convention, it became very evident that PR did not even have a national Indian leader to project. Priority attention was reserved for the Malays and Chinese. ’Aminurlrasyid’ and ‘Teoh Beng Hock’ were national issues as compared to ‘Kugan’.
It is this vacuum that Najib is instinctively moving into to take advantage of, just as how Anwar Ibrahim capitalized on the Indian votes that fell on his lap with the Hindraf uprising in the last general elections.
The most important question that one should ask is why is Najib even bothered at all to woo the Indian vote if it is indeed so insignificant?
For years now, the national census has been portraying a progressive decline of the overall percentage of the Indians in this country as compared with all the other races.
1911 – 10.23%
1921 – 15.10%
1931 – 15.12%
1947 – 10.81%
1957 – 11.09%
1970 – 9.04%
1980 – 8.39%
1991 – 7.83%
2000 – 7.68%
2010 – 7.33%
This statistic has been used very shrewdly by politicians to continue to subdue any demands from the Indian community.
However on obtaining the ‘Population Distribution and Basic Demographic Characteristics 2010’ book from the Department of Statistics and going through the numbers, a very interesting observation was made. If the statistics of the population based on age group from 20 and above (as it would show the voting eligibility age of 21 and above in year 2012) is used, the Indians is seen to comprise 7.82% of the total Malaysians.
If you were to remove the states of Kelantan, Pahang, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak and Trengganu, Indians who are age 21 and above would comprise 10.71% of the remaining states. The breakdown of these states are as follows:
Johor (stratum : Urban) 8.59%
Kedah (stratum: Urban) 10.89%
Negeri Sembilan (whole state) 15.55%
Negeri Sembilan (stratum: Urban) 18.03%
Perak (whole state) 12.69%
Perak (stratum: Urban) 15.07%
Penang (whole state) 10.45%
Penang (stratum: Urban) 11.13%
Selangor (whole state) 13.92%
Selangor (stratum: Urban) 14.07%
Kuala Lumpur 10.55%
Total number of Parliamentary seats in these states are 126.
Total number of Adun seats in these states are 311.
No doubt these values do not represent the exact figures of those who had registered to vote but it does however indeed give a reasonable clear overall picture of the potential impact of the Indian vote. In fact it is widely known that Indians comprise between 10-20% in 63 parliamentary and 130 Adun constituencies in Malaysia. Buntong has more than 40%, Kota Raja more than 30%, Kuala Selangor more than 23% etc.
The Indians are also noted to be a community that can get easily excitable. This excitement during elections fever can reverberate throughout the west coast of the peninsula.
In the last general elections, thousands of Indians wore green bandanas, carried PAS flags and were on the streets during elections day waving these flags in high spirits. This indeed gave a very strong moral support to PAS/PR. The coming general elections will see no such display as the Indians feel completely left out of the PR agenda.
There is also a strong Indian stateless Diaspora within Malaysia that some estimate number up to 450k. They do not fall into national census but they have close relatives that do. Their plight will carry a lot of weight in the outcome of the voting trend of the Indians.
Since independence the Malay votes have been shared almost equally between Umno and PAS give or take a few percent. In the last general elections the Malay popular vote that went to Umno was 35.5% and PAS/PKR 34.8%. That’s how close it has been.
This time around a big portion of the Chinese votes will be going to PR however their impact is going to be neutralized by the unfair tactics that BN will be employing namely postal votes. There are rumours that BN will be registering the Rela members as postal voters. There are also numerous accusations by the opposition that foreigners are being given citizenship in order to be registered as voters to neutralize PR areas.
Tainted electoral rolls, bias Election Commission, unfair mainstream media coverage, abuse of government machinery, election goodies, money politics are the many complaints by PR of BN. Rest assured, the upcoming general elections will be a no holds barred and some say dirtiest ever. Some chosen candidates may even not turn up at all on nomination day.
Sabah and Sarawak candidates will just follow the victors of peninsular Malaysia.
No doubt the Malays being the majority, PR cannot afford to neglect them, however though, as was seen in the 1999 general elections where Anwar’s reformasi campaign only concentrated on the Malays predominantly and yet was successful in the polls goes to show that no particular race in Malaysia can be afforded to be overlooked.
That certainly would include the Indians too. If at all PR fails to do as well as they did in 2008 in the next general elections, then in their post mortem analysis thereafter, they will know where they went wrong.