I refer to recent media reports where Anwar has gone on record stating that Pakatan will review its recently released Manifesto Rakyat to include five additional pledges to the Indian electorate.
Anwar needs to be given a pat on his back for the courage to admit this large error of omission after so much argument on principle – principle of need based versus race based and principle of policies that transcend race. In this latest outcome those principles did not seem to matter. This entire episode only underlines the fact that much of these decisions really do not so derive from matters of principle as they do from basic political expediency. Otherwise we would not be seeing so speedy a reversal after meeting up with first headwinds.
These latest Pakatan Manifesto pledges do not add up to even a fraction of the proposals in Hindraf’s 5 year Blueprint for the upliftment of the Indian poor. In that sense the pledges are not comprehensive and they will not solve the problems of the Indian poor and marginalized in any permanent way. The inclusion of these specific pledges seem to be more driven by forcefitting into Pakatan’s general plan what is thought of as enough to get in the votes. That is quite a different vision than Hindraf’s.
What Hindraf seeks is a comprehensive program for the permanent resolution of the socio economic woes of the Indians in the country. One that will once and for all settle a longstanding problem and get the Indian poor on a better footing to participate more productively in the life of the nation. The pledges do not come anywhere near these objectives.
The way we see it, these additional pledges in the Pakatan Manifesto serve the purpose for Pakatan to mollify the Indian electorate. As far as Hindraf is concerned it makes very little difference to Hindraf’s position in these elections. And we have made this very clear from the outset of our discussion. Endorse our 5 Year Blue print in a binding way and our total support is yours, there just to be taken.
Why we insist on a binding endorsement is borne out by recent occurrences in Malaysian politics. Take the episode of the 1999 elections, where Mahathir made verbal promises to the Chinese Suqiu organization before the elections on their 17 point demands and then totally reneged on those promises right after the elections . Suqiu, found themselves under threat and could not do anything in response in that episode.
Or take the more recent 2009 Kampung Buah Pala promises made by DAP to make Kampung Buah Pala into an Indian heritage village and then how the villagers were left completely high and dry after the elections. Or take what is happening now in Selangor where the State government is arguing in court that election pledges cannot be binding, in the case against them for the failure to keep election pledges. That makes our case for a binding endorsement.
In summary, Hindraf is waiting for Pakatan to come forth and endorse our 5-year Blueprint in a binding manner for Hindraf to throw all its support behind them. If in their wisdom, Pakatan continues to be intransigent, then they will be responsible should all of this work out adversely for Pakatan and for the people of Malaysia.
The writer N. Ganesan is Hindraf national adviser
Underline and bold emphasis by this blogger. The Hannah Yeoh screenshot is added to the copy also by this blogger, in relation to ‘principles’ — read ‘Game of ping-pong, enjoy!’