Reply to Calvinsankaran # 21
I think the problem is not pressure groups demanding their rights. PERKASA, HINDRAF, SUQUI are different entities but all are demanding their “rights” as guaranteed by the Constitution or their interpretation of it.
You still have not addressed the contradiction of having a “Malaysian view” and your fidelity to a specific racial group. In addition, it is difficult to see where you are coming from when you claim that minorities are demanding “unfair” and “unjust” concessions. Unfair and unjust in what context? [See below]
PERKASA is not strong because UMNO is weak. PERKASA is strong because UMNO allows it to be a pressure group and not UMNO youth. Suqui dares to make demands because it is riding on the sentiment of the Chinese vote which has shifted from the MCA to the DAP because the MCA failed in its obligation or so the Chinese community thinks.
Again with the contradictions. Either the NEP was a success or it is not. If the Malays have indeed improved by leaps and bounds then why is it the NEP is mocked by Mahathir himself either as crutches that needs to be done away with or as a special right that is threatened by the alternative front.
The scope of the NEP is beyond the scope of this reply. We could end up discussing a bloated civil service. Rent seeking culture etc.
I do not think we should talk of the Bumis in Sabah and Sarawak as if they ever enjoyed the NEP as their Malay compatriots. This too widens the scope of the discussion into the Orang Asli act and the problems they face as Bumiputras and their sidelining from mainstream development. All of which does not paint a very good picture of UMNO/BN.
You may think there is a difference between special rights and affirmative action but the reality is that special Malay rights are defined by affirmative action policies. Hindraf is merely wishes to extend the affirmative action policy to disenfranchised Indians.
The criticism Hindraf often faces is the “what were they on” variety but really if you look at the blueprint it is pretty specific. From your reply, I have no idea if you are talking about the 18-point demand or the blueprint. Now some maybe put off at the level of real politick in the demand – participation in GLCs etc. – but Hindraf is merely putting in details of how Indian participation should be injected within mainstream government institutions without the cover of political correctness.
I disagree that Hindraf does not care for the nation. As you concede, MIC did not exactly do a bang up job. The NEP needs to be refined. What Hindraf is doing is including extremely vocally Indian issues which have been ghettoized by the dominant political parties in this country.
If you support the racial formula of BN then you should support Hindraf by default because the racial formula depends on each political party taking care of the interests of the communities they represent.
As for your Anak Bangsa/Tamil Tiger detour, let us not go there. Such claims serve no purpose than to detract from the discussion at hand. If you want to name names than by all means go-ahead and then I will have to do my own research and present a coherent counter argument.
In what way does UMNO and PR acknowledge the bigger picture? I kind of find it funny that you only mentioned UMNO in a sentence about rival coalitions but I digress. BN is based on a racial formula. PR is based on a racial formula.
What Hindraf is attempting to do as an advocacy group/political party is ensure that the racial demographic they represent are fairly treated. For someone who has taken a strong stand against the DAP and AI, I find it amusing that you concede that like UMNO they have a bigger Malaysian perspective.
Again with the contradiction Calvin. First you claim that the MIC could not handle the Indian problem because they did not have the funds or political will or even that they were a political group as opposed to a social activist one, now you claim that the party was catering to plantation workers and not professionals and the middle class.
Calvin, most middle class Malaysians have a minor MIC leader in their families. That’s the problem right there.
You do get the contradiction, don’t you? Not catering to the middle class yet having part representation from the middle class.
Calvin, I do not dispute your narrative on the displacement of Indian estate workers. I am puzzled by your contradiction of the supposed plantation based agenda of the MIC and their middle class agenda. You claim that Samy Vellu the great orator (only to Indians I suppose) did not push hard enough for solutions to rectify the plantation displacement based problems of the Indian community but yet fail to see that the MIC was engaging in profiteering for lack of a better word.
MIC rebels when involved in petty party disputes let the cat out of the bag when they revealed that funds from the government were diverted to interests within the party. UMNO’s fault that is they let this happen and not that they did not give funds for the Indian community.
You keep claiming that the MIC lacked the funds and skills to handle this problem but yet they had the “funds and skills” to engage in a wide range of money making schemes and held ministerial posts.
In your response to Helen regarding the AIMST, you claimed that the fund came from the government and not from the public.
To be pedantic I could argue that government funds do come from the public but here’s the thing, why wasn’t there any initiative to address the problems of the displaced plantation workers? Why didn’t MIC begging from UMNO include a detailed plan to solve the problems of marginalized and displace workers.
Please do not go on about lack of skills. The MIC had many well-known personalities who wrote excellent papers on the problems of the Indian working class. There has been decade’s worth of research carried out by MIC Indians on the problems of marginalized Indians.
They were purposely ignored so that the plutocracy of MIC Indians could further their agenda at the expense of the average disenfranchised Indian.
You claim that you are not blind to Samy’s contribution but what can you offer beyond a few measly scholarships and blaming the Indian middle class (part of which was created by the machinations of the MIC to bolsters its power base and lord it over the Indian disenfranchised) to show that the MIC had a positive impact on the Indian community ?
While I agree with you that the Indian/Christian middle class share some responsibility over the current state of the Indian community and in no way did they attempt some semblance of cohesiveness like the Chinese community did with the MCA (using the DAP as a counter balance) you have not demonstrated how MIC representation in BN has done anything other than advance the agendas of certain individuals in stark contrast to the MCA and even UMNO.
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Reply to Conrad #19:
By Calvin Sankaran
Good argument and such argument leads to further good debate and enlightenment.
My view is the Malaysian via. I think the best solution without having endless debates and unnecessary racial pressure groups championing or rather demanding their “rights” (Perkasa, Hindraf, Suqui, etc) is that we need to expand the scope of the NEP to all poor irrespective of racial grouping. That’s the best and more sustainable solution. Otherwise when the majority is divided we will have the minorities extracting unjust and unfair concessions.
We need to understand that Perkasa is strong because UMNO is or rather was weak. Suqui dare to make demands because they saw BN was weak and needed the Chinese votes. The same is happening with Hindraf.
While it is true that there are more bumi poor than non bumis, that doesn’t mean the NEP was ineffective. It was and I have seen it with my own eyes. That the bumis have progressed by leaps and bounds is a testament to this. However there are still many who are still poor especially in the East coast, Sabah and Sarawak. A more updated and finetuned NEP will solve this issue once and for all.
I disagree that Hindraf is asking for affirmative action rather than special rights. For me affirmative action is non racial but special rights are race specific. If you read correctly, what they asking is not just for poor Indians but for the whole society. Some of these demands are so idiotic that I am not sure what they were on when they came up with it.
The problem is that Hindraf’s demand not just race based but makes no allowance for the position of Indians in Malaysia or how all these tied into a national perspective. It seems like Hindraf doesn’t care for the nation as long as their narrow racial demands are met.
They don’t talk about or realise or even care how all these will impact the race relations in the country.
There were leaders who even called for an armed insurgency to seize by force what “rightfully belong to Indians”. In fact one of the leaders belong to the Anak Bangsa party and occupy a very senior position. He shocked a lot of people when he openly floated this idea in an Indian forum in 2008 that was open for public. This joker who is an advisor to the Tamil Tigers firmly believes in the Sri Lankan Tamil’s way.
So I don’t think you can compare HRP’s demands to what is being advocated by UMNO or even PR since they do acknowledge the bigger Malaysian context.
I also disagree about Samy and MIC. I am not trying to defend them and they never appealed to me as they seemed to be catering for plantation workers and civil servants than middle class and professional Indians. However I have seen them close during my student days and when I was involved in social services to understand their perspective. I do have some relatives who are minor leaders.
However I am from Tamil school and I have listened to his talks over TV and radio and I must say he’s a very good speaker (in fact regarded as one of the best Tamil speaker in the world).
MIC was very much plantation based but they were never ever rich or flushed with funds. They did start some investment schemes for Indians ala ASB. They also started cooperatives and scholarships (Uthaya and many Indian professionals today are benefitted from this though they would not admit to it).
However there was a seismic shift in the 80s when the plantations gave way to developments and rubber to palm oil. This started a massive displacement of Indians to urban and semi urban areas. Many people have adapted but some (estimated 25% based on some research) failed to adjust and ended up on the margins of the Malaysian society. They lost their jobs, had no homes and the social support mechanism they has in the estates.
MIC failed to address the problem early enough and by the time they did, they did not have enough funds or skills. Remember MIC is plantation based and not a NGO so this hampered their efforts. I think Samy did not push hard enough to get governmental aid or might not have the vision to foresee the problem. It is easy to make the criticism in hindsight.
But in my view, the biggest culprit are the Indian middle and upper class. The Indian society has a huge gap in income. But not many of them even bothered to help. This is a total contrast to the Chinese. Many Chinese contributed to MCA and the Chinese schools despite being supporters of DAP.
I have seen how MIC failed to get rich Indians to contribute. Some of these rich folks were funded by MIC to do their studies but refuse to pay up their scholarships. Many Indian rich will simply refuse to help whether via MIC or other NGOs. I think this is the crucial difference. It is easy and convenient to blame MIC but the facts do not support it. As I said it I am no fan of MIC but they are not the sole contributor of the problem of Indian poor.
I am not a fan of Samy too but I have seen him work very hard for the community. He has been discredited after 2008 but I think it is unfair to blame him.
My view of his [contributions] is mixed. I don’t think as a leader for purely Indian issue, there has not been a better leader. He has worked very hard and done a lot of things. But he’s a leader for a different era and I was glad that he was shown the door so younger leaders can come through. But as the same time I am not blind to ignore his contributions.
Source: Hindraf Q & A