‘Winnable candidate’: One who plays to the lowest common denominator

March 28, 2013 at 7:18 am 41 comments

By i hate n’sync

Dear Conrad,

If there is a slant in the definition of the disenfranchised or marginalised, then fix the slant, not introduce another slant. One bad quota should not be replaced with another bad quota. It only invites further trouble down the wrong road when the true indicators and deciding factors are ignored.

I disagree with your narrative that attributed the decline of the civil service to race homogenization. It is the ‘bonsification’ – [word] thanks Hishamuddin Rais – of the civil servants, enslaved through a mentality of patronage (ability to serve the politicians’ agenda rather than to serve the needs of the nation) that decimated the once highly regarded civil service.

To rub salt to the wound, the Chinese gave up on the civil service and now they gripe over its lack of representativeness. The weaknesses of the civil service is not because of its Malay majority, but because of the overwhelming power of the executive which eroded its integrity. The quality of the civil service suffered because better Malaysians (Malay, Chinese or Indian) have better offers and opportunities in a developing economy. The intake quota did not destroy the civil service, the unmerited advancements based on docility and compliance and connections is what killed it.

The way out for the revitalisation of the civil service is not by bringing in more Chinese or Indians. It is by starting a culture that weeds out non-performance, rewards intelligence and values innovation.

PR copied the BN formula of racial politics to gain nationwide foothold, and I absolutely agree that neither party is showing a way out of communal politics. Despite whatever DAP, PKR or PAS says, none of the parties have a base in multiculturalism.

DAP is rooted in a brand of socialism which straddles secularism, nationalism and capitalism. Till this day I am still amused to see how DAP is being Christianized inside out as it was once the bastion of pure secularism against Islamization.

PKR is rooted in a brand of democracy rooted in liberalism and populist rights and freedom rhetoric. It has no central core to speak of, so it a diverse group that is struggling to define itself.

PAS is trying to roll back its conservatism and rebrand its Islamic credentials to appeal to a broader multicultural base. ]

BN’s power-sharing formula is a reference for the elite bargaining system, not a formula for the masses. The masses live by another BN coda of multiculturalism, of give and take for co-existence. I heard some people are now saying that we need no give and take because there is only one universal truth and standard that will take all of us to the shining city upon the hill.

The Sino-Malay discourse is dominant because like the Black and Whites in the USA, they are the dominant historical voices. In the USA, the Latinos are coming up because they are forming new demographic forces. The Indians are not out-growing the rest, and the Bumiputeras are being absorbed into the Malay sub-narrative.

It is a class struggle because racism is used to shackle the minds of the people and to appeal to their base instinct of otherness (us vs. them). The class struggle here is evident as communalism and is the tool which the elites have used to keep the masses in check. The elite bargaining system is nothing but pure manipulation to invest communal leaders with an imaginary voice to barter their collective ethnic rights.

I don’t want to dismiss the rights of the Malays, Chinese or Indians or Dayaks or Christians or Bahais or whatever denominations have chosen to grab the spotlight for 15 minutes. Every Malaysian share the same rights and responsibilities. Unequal treatment, systemic or deliberate, must be addressed properly.

I am not questioning Uthaya’s right to speak for the marginalised Indians, far from it. I am questioning how being the voice or conscience of the nation could do any good if he or she cannot galvanize broad-based support to his or her cause.

I don’t even question Perkasa’s Ibrahim’s rights to champion Malay interests. But you must be consistent, if you accept Uthaya, you must accept the katak. You might argue that Perkasa has got no case, since the Malays are so fantastically taken care of. Official statistics again will show you the overwhelming problems faced by the Malay community, from social ills to household debts to corporate equities. So what’s left? Are you saying that the Chinese chauvinists should have no champions too?

The problem with an approach through aggrandized prosecution persecution and victimhood renders the community into a state of self-induced paralysis. They are damned if they take advantage of the crutch and they are damned if they don’t. We are seeing it among our Malay brethern, and you are now recommending the same treatment and medication for the Indians?

Tun Razak started out as a PM trying to represent all disenfranchised Malaysians, but his short reign (and that of Tun Ismail’s) have seen successive UMNOputeras meld the narrative into a Malay supremacy plunder and ethnic bias.

If Uthaya is elected, do you think he won’t be pressured to return the favours and call in the cards to fulfil at least some of the pledges? The same goes to PR and their incoherent manifesto. It reads like a kaleidoscope of contradictory images, but those who found parts they like probably didn’t realize one scenario cannot possible contain a totally opposite one.

This applies to your position on voting for the candidate, not the party. With the current system of party politics, the structure may require the candidate to be in favour of the party faithful who can advance his or her career.

The truth is that in a party system, patronage from the top dogs does more wonders than grassroot support. KJ is an example. However, without mavericks, political parties will die with ossification.

Vote the better candidate of the two, and political parties will have the incentive to field better candidates. The better party is the one with better people.

If a candidate cannot cut its his way through party politics and expect to advance by toeing the party line, we should continue to look out for the better candidate who can, even if they are across the political divide.

Winning a parliamentary or state seat based on local factors (i.e. advantageous national mood or sentiment, scandal-ridden opponent, appeal to women voters or minority voters in the constituency) is no guarantee of gladiator material in a party system. First among peers require the ability to not just convince the masses, but also your damn colleagues who are out to pull you down at every chance they have got.

If PSM could survive the pole position battles within PR, it means it could not wield enough popular support to make a difference on the bargaining table. As such it should remain the mosquito party that it is.

The robust inter-party games (as opposed to intra-party games) in PR represents an alpha dog contest. DAP supports the weaker PKR to check PAS, but when it suits them at state level, they would support the minority PAS to check the powers of PKR. This is the same game played in BN.

Now, we should always go for the most important unit that matters in a situation. Voters have no control over party affairs where leadership positions are decided by members. However, voters can choose to pick the better candidate in a perfect world with equal information. Even in an imperfect world, the “better” candidate wins (be it through packaging or manufacturing).

If the Presidents’ men lost in the general elections, he will be brought down for his mistakes. I cannot understand why people vote on the basis of political affiliation when it is evident that the association between candidate and party ideals are clearly flawed.

Anyone voting Hannah Yeoh should be perplexed by its bible thumping drivel in a supposedly secular DAP. Clearly, the voters ARE voting based on the “better” candidate, whatever those measurements are.

Poverty porn is available for the Malays, Chinese, Indians and Orang Asli, if you care to make them available. I can give you all the sob stories you want. I have the same academic data that shows the disparity in SES status between the races. I have presented the similar results for public consumption.

Many are aware of the plight of the Indians, the only notoriety Hindraf got was from the Queen Elizabeth stunt to solve it. Interlok got withdrawn too, but it doesn’t mean NIAT or Hindraf was correct.

MINY [Malaysian in New York] said that it is time to take the macro approach ala the Umno NEP style. To NOT do so is unfair, as MINY claimed. How can it be unique when Umno is top-bottoming the whole damn NEP for Malays all these years?

You have environmentalists, rainbow coalition supporters and abortionists as voters. They need to choose who to cast their vote for. Most will cast their lot with the man or woman who are at least not openly hostile to their beliefs and preferences. Some will overlook such affinities for the broader picture, or a silly “principle” or a confounding or overwhelming “factor”.

The point is, it is even presumptuous to assume Hindraf supporters will vote for Uthaya, if him standing under the banner of PAS will not work out for the ultimate aim against a candidate from the sucky MIC. It is not just the party banner here at work. I believe Uthaya should be sunk or made to swim on his own personal capacity to serve in comparison to his opponent, not his party colours. You seem to think Hindraf supporters should vote for Uthaya regardless of his party ticket and opponent, but on the basis that he champions a noble cause.

Well, many a people have championed even nobler causes or causes with equal if not greater value. It is easy to walk from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur, it is harder to make any actual contribution to make a real difference to the lives of the people.

Comment by i hate n’sync originally @ 2013/03/27 at 9:23 pm in reply to Conrad

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By Conrad

Thanks for the reply I hate N’sync

Re: Fixing slant and bad quotas

Fixing the slant often times means introducing a new slant. You change the discourse by introducing a new element in it. I think you are conflating quotas with performance.

Nobody certainly not me, is saying that quotas should not be subject to the strictest performance-based scrutiny.

Re: Bonsification of the civil service.

Your narrative however is a sub theme of the one I put forward. There is ample evidence that the civil service was subjected to a program of homogenization. The system of patronage and subservience to political masters was a natural byproduct of this.

The Chinese and the Indians gave up on the civil service because where once they thrived opportunities become scarce when these programs of homogenization took place. I never once claimed that the weakness of the civil service was because it is dominated by a particular ethnic group. Although this is kind of rhetoric has been used against many who are critical of the civil service.

The quality of the civil service suffers not because better Malaysian have better opportunities elsewhere but because sycophancy and a culture of entitlement is rewarded and integrity only paid lip service. The intake quota did destroy the civil service in the sense that it became part of the cultural identity of a specific community and an extension of a bloated bureaucracy, that was both seen as necessary to safeguard the welfare of a majority community and as a counterbalance to the private sector that was dominated by an ethnic minority.

Re: Revitalization of the civil service

The revitalization of the civil service begins by reaffirming its place as a service for all Malaysian and this means reintroducing a culture of diversity which would establish the principle that Malaysians regardless of race are stakeholders in these institutions and not the political elites. The process of weeding out nonperformance, rewarding intelligence and valuing innovation would then be applied to all regardless of race.

Re: “PR copied the BN formula of racial politics to gain nationwide foothold….”

While I agree with you on this and indeed have argued much the same in other posts, where we disagree is in your next statement (which I find interesting for a variety of reasons and hope to articulate why);

Re: “BN’s power-sharing formula is a reference for the elite bargaining system, not a formula for the masses”

Actually, I would argue the opposite of this. With the rise of PR as a credible alternative to BN, I would argue that the power sharing formula has become a reality for the masses.

True the (Malaysian) masses used to live by another “give and take” formula which I would argue is present in nearly every multicultural polity in the world, but what PR has managed to do extremely well is translate the nebulous “social contract” of BN into some sort of “tangible” reality where beneath the Bangsa Malaysia sham, lurks the assurances that the same old racial expectations would be satisfied albeit in a more “fairer” way.

In other words, the unspoken dogma emanating from PR is that, it is not that the power-sharing formula is “broken” but rather PR would apply it in a more egalitarian manner. How this is possible is beyond me but there it is.

You can witness this in the rhetoric of Pakatan partisan who are very well aware of the nature of the race game being played with the concession that although a Malay majoritarian perspective is always present, the Chinese/Indian perspective is on “equal footing”.

Perhaps it is because of the years of brainwashing nobody thinks that the system needs to be changed. About the only political group who wishes to see a change in the system is PSM that is marginalized for various reasons.

Re: The Sino-Malay discourse is dominant

No arguments here. However, my point was that this Sino-Malay discourse claims to represent all ethnic groups, when the reality is that it does not. As for how powerful the community is as a voting bloc, this remains to be seen. As long as there is a split in the Malay community, as a diminishing minority, the Indian community has room to maneuver.

As for the American perspective, the Latino community has always been traditionally courted by the GOP, for various reasons. Of late, this trend has been changing. As I argued in another post, it is not productive to draw from the American context. The discourse is changing because the Non-white demography will soon overtake the White community. It is very different here in Malaysia. The “Malay” community (however, you define it) will eventually be the only voice in the discourse.

Re: “It is a class struggle because racism is used to shackle the minds of the people”

I disagree. It is not a class struggle yet. Racism has not been used to shackle the minds of the people. People are very aware that their ethnicity determines who they are in this country.

Racism is a byproduct of the power sharing formula. The elites do not have to use racism to shackle our minds because we as a people have no interest in moving beyond race. The set-up of the alternative front is evidence of this. Racial bargaining chips are used by not only the ruling elites but by the economic elites.

However, it will become a class struggle soon. We can already see this when it comes to Hindraf. Hindraf on the one hand is dealing with a race conflict with Establishment forces which includes the Opposition. On the other hand it is involved in a class struggle with the Indian community. You don’t have to look very hard to discover the narrative that the middle-class Indian vote is assumed to belong to PR whereas the ungrateful working/lower-class Indian vote is being put up for sale by Hindraf.

A class struggle will eventually brew within the Malay community. The reasons for this are simple. Not every Malay has a seat on the Umno gravy train. Too many leakages in the affirmative action programs and the rent seeking culture will ensure that a certain disenfranchised section of the Malay polity will awaken to the fact that as Malays and masters of this land they have nothing really to show for it.

The dialogue is already there. I have said that what Anwar has done is seize upon the class resentments of a certain section of the Malay polity. PAS is doing it too using Islam as a rallying cry.

Re: “Every Malaysian share the same rights and responsibilities. Unequal treatment, systemic or deliberate, must be addressed properly”

Agreed.

Re: “I am questioning how being the voice or conscience of the nation could do any good if he or she cannot galvanize broad-based support to his or her cause.”

Well it seems to me you are doing much more than this. But to answer your question, I have no idea. But here is what I think. PR does a remarkable job of gaining broad-based support for its Utopian ideas but these ideas are complete BS.

So do I think that Uthaya should tone down his rhetoric? Of course I do. But somehow I think it does a disservice to his cause if he tells people what they want to hear. To serenade people with the whole Bangsa Malaysia crap.

If the oppositional forces in this country were really the agents of change they claim to be, then someone like Uthaya would get the broad-based support he needs. But I dunno’, it does seem like a losing battle.

Re: “But you must be consistent, if you accept Uthaya, you must accept the katak”

Could you tell me what Ibrahim Ali is fighting for? Could you define what “rights” the Malays are supposed to be losing? What “rights” they aspire to gain. Hell, I don’t accept what Ibrahim Ali says but unlike that douche bag, I have never argued that people should be held under the ISA (like him) who question the status quo.

Re: “since the Malays are so fantastically taken care of. Official statistics again will show you the overwhelming problems faced by the Malay community, from social ills to household debts to corporate equities”

So why doesn’t he (Ibrahim Ali) take it up with Umno? After all, they have had stewardship of this country since independence. They claim to be champions of the Malay (sic) race and Islam. They champion the cause of Ketuanan Melayu and how affirmative action programs are part of Malay “rights”.

With all this why are the Malays statically in the state they are in but more importantly why doesn’t Ibrahim Ali take up his grievance with them ? Better yet maybe he should join with Uthaya and bargain collectively with Umno.

Re: “We are seeing it among our Malay brethern, and you are now recommending the same treatment and medication for the Indians?’

Affirmative action programs are but one aspects of the Blueprint. But I agree with you brother, I do not support affirmative action programs of any kind but unless your argument is that these programs should be discarded, I don’t think you should use it as a criticism against Uthaya and Hindraf.

Re: Tun Razak, Uthaya and politic of compromise

If this is your argument that why should we vote for any candidate? Why is this a criticism against Uthaya personally?

If anything Uthaya is the HRP, so one does not need to do much separating. If anything, Uthaya could have drunk the kool aid and capitalized on the Hindraf goodwill instead of choosing to expose the sham which is the Bangsa Malaysia propaganda. In other words, he chose to piss in the kool aid instead of dispensing it.

Now to me, this seems like a candidate who would not compromise for the sake of political expediency. I could be wrong but I still do not get your point. Again, by your logic we should not be voting for anyone because every politician compromises.

Re: “This applies to your position on voting for the candidate, not the party.”

This is not my position it is YOUR position. All I was arguing was that you cannot separate the candidate from his/her political party, which is why YOUR stance and ANAS ZUBEDY’s is fallacious.

As for your contention that voting for the better candidate would act as an incentive for the political party to field better candidates… again the whole issue of inter party politics and warlordism comes into play.

What political parties find useful are candidates that can win. Now of course there are the partisan instincts of the population but winnable candidates are normally those who play to the lowest common denominator of the voting demographic.

I have no idea where you get the idea that “damning your colleagues” is a norm in Malaysia. I could name you many such instances but at the end of the day those who do are either left out in the cold or leave the party.

Of course, there have been many second acts in Umno but certainly not for such altruistic reasons as speaking up for the average Joe Rakyat but more often because of inter party power plays.

PSM does not survive the inter alliance play of PR not only because it does not get popular support but also because partisan politics trumps ideology.

As I said earlier, people vote on partisan lines so the question of “better” candidate is a moot point. To be honest, I do not get what you attempting to convey here.

Re: Poverty porn available to Malays too

Is it really available to them? I dunno’ maybe. But the point is that as far as the Malays are concerned they have a whole system of STATE sponsored affirmative action programs, social programs, religious programs, NGO programs, private sector (State influenced) and Constitutional safeguards which have been interpreted way beyond its purview which differentiates the community from the Indian experience.

As for the Chinese, the private sector is their safety net. Does this seem an unfair distinction to make? Well yes, it is but this is the reality.

Re: “How can it be unique when Umno is top-bottoming the whole damn NEP for Malays all these years?”

I have three words for you: EVENTUAL CLASS CONFLICT

Re: “The point is, it is even presumptous to assume Hindraf supporters will vote for Uthaya, if him standing under the banner of PAS will not work out for the ultimate aim against a candidate from the sucky MIC”

Why? PR supporters and BN supporters do the same thing. It’s not about the candidate but the party, right? But since he is going the Independent route, this is a moot point, now.

Re: “You seem to think Hindraf supporters should vote for Uthaya regardless of his party ticket and opponent, but on the basis that he champions a noble cause.”

Is there any other reason? What do you think this whole election is about ? It is about people voting for candidates because they believe their cause is noble. PR partisan would vote for anyone running on a PR ticket because they think that banishing the evil Umno would solve their problems.

Similarly, BN partisan would vote for anyone running on a BN ticket because they believe that the cause of national unity would be best defended by BN.

The difference between these partisan and me, is that I am willing to defend my position on why I think the cause is noble, without subterfuge or double speak.

Re: “Well, many a people have championed even nobler causes or causes with equal if not greater value. It is easy to walk from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur, it is harder to make any actual contribution to make a real difference to the lives of the people”

Honestly, what does this even mean?

Conrad’s comment originally @ 2013/03/28 at 3:15 am in reply to i hate n’sync

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Does Guan Eng have something against mamaks? Bahaya taksub kepada politik yang menunggang agama

41 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Calvin Sankaran  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:51 am

    What a great comment by i hate n’sync worth reading through every word of it.

    Though there are some minor points I would disagree, in the whole I am in complete agreement with the major points.

    It is hypocritical to support Uthaya / Hindraf as “fighting for the marginalized community” while claiming Perkasa, UMNO, DAP, etc as racists. It is illogical to claim that Indians are economically disadvantaged as the data or even observations simply don’t support it.

    As I hate n’sync as said, it makes no sense whatsoever in standing in the election under a political party since it would mean sacrificing one’s principles. Uthaya & Waytha are masters of self promotion and are under the delusion that Hindraf has a wide support. I hope they will stand as independents to find that out themselves. They have not moved beyond 2007.

    The Indian support for their cause hit the peak in 2007, partly because of the emotive issue of temple demolishment (and a host of other issues) and partly because of the clever use of them by PR politicians. Based on my own assessment, if given a choice between BN, PR and Hindraf, Indians would rank Hindraf the last. Unfortunate but it is also true.

    I love i hate n’sync’s observations about the political parties. I wholeheartedly agree that of them are still mired in the communal sewer though some package themselves sleeker and sexier. The only difference between BN and PR is that BN admit who they are while PR pretends to claim the high moral while wallowing in the same communal sewer.

    It is unreal to see PR supporters claim their party as “Malaysian”, “Race Blind”, etc when PAS is clearly defined by religion while DAP is fronted by the twin force of Chinese chauvinists and Christian evangelists. PKR needless to say have ethnic heroes like Manika (Kapar MP), Saifuddin, etc.

    Reply
  • 2. Ibni Ismail  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Salute to I hate n’sync.. You can be our future YB.. Seriously, be a politician! Do something man..

    Reply
  • 3. MalaysianinNewYork  |  March 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Sir/Madam, you say “MINY [Malaysian in New York] said that it is time to take the macro approach ala the Umno NEP style. To NOT do so is unfair, as MINY claimed. How can it be unique when Umno is top-bottoming the whole damn NEP for Malays all these years?

    You are putting words into my mouth for your presumption. The NEP was just in express terms given the then scenario post independence that the Non-Malays condoned to uplift fellow Malays Malaysians but not in its implementation in the current day for how it is skewed to gain votes and enrich the elite.

    Seriously do see this happening with a material beggar bound and humanely enriched HINDRAF?

    The Malays as a populace cannot be blamed but how their elite ran the show just like their coalition partners. If not you would not have 8 billionaire of Chinese ethnicity with one Malay and one Indian inside the top ten in Malaysia.

    We cannot continue to blame the regular Malays who form the majority of the community and having grown in a kampung have noticed how they have been deprived as well even with everything was there for their taking that is protected by the constitution.

    Today in 2013, we need to clean the sheet to indulge with each other for what is humane and just to deal with for the prosperity of fellow Malaysians irrespective of origin rather than pointing fingers at each other for the political will, fallacy and fancy of the politicians.

    NEP is not the problem or it can be as we chose to indulge and delve in it for the last 56 years for personal gains. What we continue to fail is to understand is that humanity for our mingled confluence for political affiances strives besides having an ability in finding faults rather than solving the problems for fellow Malaysians without much ado. This does not need policies, I know it better or who I support but what can you do when it strikes the right notes for a fellow Malaysian irrespective of the origin?

    Let’s get rid of political worship but rather engage in humanity worship.

    Reply
    • 4. i hate n'sync  |  March 29, 2013 at 1:44 am

      I concur with you that NEP was hijacked in its implementation. However, I have a problem in using Forbes’ list calculated using public holdings / wealth of outliers as evidence for aggregated communal wealth.

      We have the household income survey data for the latter. Note the GINI figures and not just the mean averages. NEP, despite (or perhaps due to) its distortions, achieved significant wealth gains for the Malays.

      The question I am putting forth is whether we seek to end the NEP or perpetuate new NEPs (for Indians). Can we discard this baggage and embark on a new deal for all vulnerable Malaysians?

      This “clean the sheet”, as you put it, need to happen. Is Hindraf’s demands an act of “cleaning” the sheet? I support any measures to narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots, but I am not willing to repeat the fiasco that masked its excesses, waste and corruption in the name of NEP.

      Uthaya standing as a candidate and Waytha fasting for Hindraf are all acts of increasing public awareness of the plight of the Indians. That’s all fine and dandy until we need to figure out how we can actually make a difference and ask where does Hindraf’s rhetoric fit into the current narrative or ideal vision of social justice for all.

      If Hindraf took the chance and cast its lot with PR during their heydays, they would not be having to parlay now. The dithering act by Hindraf proponents to try and start a bidding war to advance the cause of marginalised Indians got them no where.

      It actually did not matter if Hindraf chose PR or BN, really. All Hindraf need to do is pick one quick and then work to pressure others in the coalition. Its natural home is in PR to create a truly Perikatan-esque Malay, Chinese & Indian coalition to annihilate (or at least seriously challenge) UMNO, MCA and MIC.

      As it is now, I believe Hindraf supporters know this balancing act by hard and made their calculations. The error is in thinking that a prolonged courtship will gain them the upper hand in eventual party negotiations, when it reality it damaged their integrity in the eyes of the average voter.

      Reply
      • 5. Helen Ang  |  March 29, 2013 at 3:38 am

        re: “If Hindraf took the chance and cast its lot with PR during their heydays”

        The fault lies with Pakatan. c.f. Jelapang / PSM’s formal application to join Pakatan (no reply)

        re: “The dithering act by Hindraf proponents to try and start a bidding war to advance the cause of marginalised Indians got them no where.”

        You mean since the fast began? “dithering act” — Don’t forget that Uthaya was in Kamunting under ISA and Waytha in exile in London.

        re: “All Hindraf need to do is pick one quick and then work to pressure others in the coalition.”

        Pressure DAP? PKR? (PAS is more difficult b’cos of its constitution as an Islamist party which excludes non-Muslims and furthermore the supporters wing doesn’t like competition)

        re: “The error is in thinking that a prolonged courtship will gain them the upper hand in eventual party negotiations, when it reality it damaged their integrity in the eyes of the average voter.”

        “prolonged courtship” — There is none. Look at PSM which has all the while been a good and loyal friend to Pakatan. The r/s could even get the party a state seat in Jelapang.

        “damaged their integrity in the eyes of the average voter” — First the establishment demonized Hindraf with purported links to Tamil Tigers and made them out to be samseng, topped with the ISA arrests as security threats.

        Now the alternative media and Pakatan blogosphere are demonizing them by casting aspersions on their integrity and invoking a lynch mob.

        And we get the ‘ss’es who insist that buying The Star is affordable to poor people, and who doesn’t even know the price (it’s RM1.20 on weekdays and RM1.50 on weekends (not RM1),

        and who doesn’t know how to read b’cos this detail of pricing is already mentioned in my article above.

        With plentiful ‘ss’es around in the Pakatan camp, how for Hindraf not to be demonized and maligned.

        Reply
        • 6. Calvin Sankaran  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:05 am

          Helen, I got to concur with you here and disagree with I love n’sync on this. Though I have no fan-boy of Hindraf, I think they played their cards wrong and in a sense betrayed their loyal followers by courting Pakatan. I disagree that Pakatan is Hindraf’s natural “home” as being a NGO would be their real calling.

          Whether it is BN or PR having any alliance with either will compromise Hindraf’s principles. As I had mentioned, even Anwar accepts the bluepirnt, there is no guarantee that PR will actually deliver it post GE. And the fact that PR is unlikely to win the next election is another disadvantage of working with the Pakatoons. Uthaya should have learnt his lesson how PR operates from the post 2008 GE history.

          A better bet is BN but then I think it is unlikely that Najib will agree to all the points in the blueprint. As such, being an independent pressure group unafraid to speak up would be Hindraf’s best option.

          All this hunger viratham is good publicity but I can bet that Waytha will emerge out of it a loser and credibility dented. You need to be careful in playing such games and taking such high risks gambles. You could win big or lose your shirt (or worse). If your name is Anna Hazare or Gandhi, you could succeed. But Waytha’s fast hardly even creating a ripple. None of the MSMs or alternative media is covering it. Even Tamil papers give this little publicity, and among working class Indians it is hardly discussed at all. And for the Indians residing in the Bangsa Malaysia heartlands of Bangsar and Subang Jaya, this is a non event.

          Of course had Wong Tat is the one who is fasting, the whole alternative media would have gone apeshit and MCA’s Scissor would have jumped right in to fan the fire.

          Reply
      • 7. MalaysianinNewYork  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:12 am

        CK had said “must take cognizance of the Malaysian context and not viewed in isolation” in the “I support Uthayakumar for Parliament” article by Helen.

        I had responded to MYQ whose is agreeable and regurgitate the same here.

        I agree with you on this point, but the rest of CK is the typical personal insinuation on personalities without the addressing the issues. I just wonder where was the Malaysian cognizance all these while over the last 56 years that we would need a HINDRAF to arise.

        Why the isolation solution is pertinent because they had been isolated for the last 56 years without an enduring policies to drive them into the doldrums for the non cognizance by fellow Malaysians.

        Let’s look at the reality and truth in the current scenario for the Malaysian Indians. Can anyone argue on these facts?

        Largest number of stateless persons,

        highest suicide rate in the nation, lowest life expectancy rates- 67.3 years compared to national average of 71.2.

        Highest school dropout rates – only 5 percent of Indians reach the tertiary level compared to the national average of 7.5 percent.

        Highest incidence of drug addiction in proportion to population.

        Highest number of prisoners in proportion to population and death as well.

        Largest number of gangs are now Indian and that 60 percent of blue collar crimes are committed by Indians.

        Second highest infant mortality rates.

        Highest number of single parents in proportion to population.

        All these vices were nowhere to be been seen before the displacement of estate workers who were gladly contributing to the country’s growth without any expectations besides being able to live in harmony with other Malaysians.

        It is not an idealist world, but there are painstaking issues for the Malaysian Indians that need to be addressed if we are genuine in the approach. Talking about the past, what has been, history is not going to change their predicament, but to move forward in resolving these issues in fairness even if it is in isolation as it warrants the support of fellow Malaysians as a stakeholder of the community irrespective of the origin for the isolated bunch.

        As you may be aware, the HINDRAF blueprint is a five year plan not perpetual one like the existing NEP. That should answer “The question I am putting forth is whether we seek to end the NEP or perpetuate new NEPs (for Indians). Can we discard this baggage and embark on a new deal for all vulnerable Malaysians?”

        In this aspect the HINDRAF blueprint is relevant to resolve these issues permanently for the poorer segment of the Malaysian Indians who had been invisible throughout the socio-economic development for the rest of us including me. If only all Malaysians in unity can see eye to eye on these issues, then a workable solution like the HINDRAF blueprint will be able to eradicate it.

        Reply
        • 8. Calvin Sankaran  |  March 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

          MiNY,

          To clarify on my stance, let me put my core views.

          1. The Indian community’s biggest issue is their displacement from estates to urban area. This was not well handled and resulted in various socio-economic problems that we are seeing today

          2. On the macro level the community is economically better off than all other races with the exception of the Chinese. The problem comes from the unequal wealth distribution among the community with 20% being very poor

          3. The society is facing various socio economic problems (crime, suicide, etc)

          4. The main problem with the community is the community itself (ie the richer Indians who refuse to support the less fortunate, lack of unity, etc)

          Having said that I am not sure where you get the “facts” that you had quoted. I disagree with most of it. The problem with Hindraf and their supporters is that they regurgitate “facts” that have no basis in reality or logic. I am basing my data on the latest statistics from the Statistic Department and other official sources. You are free to validate these data.

          1. Life expectancy: You are wrong. Based on the latest data the LE for Indians is 68 for men and 76.8 for women. It is the Indian men have lowest LE but the Indian women rank the 2nd highest. So indicates some other factors at play rather than pure social or economic issues.

          2. Infant morality: You are wrong. The morality rate is 0.4% for Indians which is second lowest

          3. Suicide rate: Yes, this is correct

          4. Drug addiction : You are wrong, the rate is highest among bumis (Malays)

          5. Single parents: Where did you get this data? Makes no sense at all

          6. Prisoners: Yes this is correct

          7. Blue collar crimes: Yes this is correct

          8. School drop out rate: Wrong, orang asli is the highest

          9. Tertiary education: Don’t confuse yourself on the 5% data. It is the % of Indian students in public university. There are plenty of Indians in private and overseas universities too.

          10. Stateless : This is indeed correct

          However not all these problems are due to displacement of Indians from estates or marginalization. Many of these issues are cultural. The issues of suicide, alcoholism, crime and violence, etc have been there since the beginning. You also can see the same pattern in Tamil Nadu and India too. These issues are internal issues that our society needs to solve and let’s not blame others for our problem.

          On the issue of stateless Indians, whom do you think to blame? And why Indians rank the highest? Is this due to the government’s policy or Indians’ own apathy?

          I would [say] it is due to us, based on dozens of cases I had personally handled and also based on the work of others. Why aren’t the Chinese or other non bumis don’t face the problem?

          But let’s look at economic data. Indians’ household income is the 2nd highest. The % of poverty among Indians is 2.5% as opposed to 5.3% for the bumis and 6.7% for others. But what the real issue is the wealth distribution which is the most unequal among the Indians. The top 20% has 54%, compared to just 50.8% and 49.8% of Bumiputera and Chinese respectively.

          The bottom 40% has the lowest share of just 3.6%, less than half of their Bumiputera counterparts.

          My issue with groups like Hindraf is that while they do a lot of things to “create awareness”, they do nothing to change the bigger problem – changing the mindset and attitude of the community. They keep defending criminals saying they are victims. They kept saying alcoholism and other social ills are due to external factors without trying to get rid of the negative habits of our people.

          Until and when these so-called champions “turun padang” to solve problems, I would not give them any credibility. To me these folks are a part of the problem and not the solution. I bet you that no Blueprint will solve the problem unless and until Indians are ready to change.

          Reply
          • 9. Conrad  |  March 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm

            Well I know this is an exchange between MiNY and you but since you chose to spit out “The problem with Hindraf and their supporters is that they regurgitate “facts” that have no basis in reality or logic”, this, I just thought I would throw my hat in the ring.

            This particular statement is funny for two reasons, the first, Helen could be considered a Hindraf supporter and as someone who has gone a couple of rounds with her, she is the last person I would consider as someone who
            regurgitates facts with no basis in reality.

            The second of course is that out 10 facts in dispute, you concede five and the other five you conflate with ethnic majoritarian representation, which of course any stats would reflect.

            In other words, the Malays do not need you to champion their cause. The system is predicated on ensuring Malay hegemony in various fields. If the Malays are in a position of destitution, it is up to their political leadership to solve.

            This is the nature of the race game and since you do not advocate any other system, it is best to leave it to each ethnic group to advocate for their communal agendas.

            Re: “The main problem with the community is the community itself (ie the richer Indians who refuse to support the less fortunate, lack of unity, etc)’

            Really? This is the main problem? It is not incumbent on the rich to help the poor. If this were the case why have any elections in the first place. Let us go back to a feudalistic system where lords and serfs were the dynamic.

            However, I do find this part funny though. If the Malays are as poor as you claim then the reason for this must be that rich Malays refuse to support the less fortunate.

            Does someone on this blog argue eventual class conflict?

            Furthermore, you link the issue of displacement which is a bureaucratic problem with the cultural problems that disenfranchised Indians face as a means of justifying the inaction of the System of the former.

            Re:“On the issue of stateless Indians, whom do you think to blame? And why Indians rank the highest? Is this due to the government’s policy or Indians’ own apathy?”

            Well now. When Hindraf raises this, issue which demonstrates that the community is not apathetic we have critics like you who demonize the group.

            But to answer your question, it is the fault of the government and the system in place. We elect people to solve this problem.

            As you said this problem is not new so why didn’t the MIC choose to handle this matter?

            Oh, that is right. Readers are advised to go over the excuses you gave in our previous exchange. Just like you I have handled many cases brought to my attention through Hindraf since the MIC people I spoke too had absolutely no interest beyond my corporate connections to solve this issue.

            As to why aren’t the Chinese affected by this problem. Read up on your history as to the questions of citizenships, the nature of the Indian diaspora and lastly the role of political leadership of the Chinese community which had done a far better job than that of the Indian community.

            Re: “Until and when these so-called champions “turun padang” to solve problems, I would not give them any credibility”

            I have been in the social causes business for some time now and from personal experience I can tell you that Hindraf galvanized the Indian social activism landscape.

            In fact I would have to say if anything when it comes to concrete help they kept overloading my team and I with work simply because they not many avenues for them to turn to.

            You claim that Hindraf represnt “criminals”. OK, I guess you are one of those people that believes anyone accused of a crime must be a criminal.

            I also think you are also one of those people who thinks that any Indian accused of a crime and seeks representation is a criminal, right?

            Funny but true story. My partner is crime when it came to work involving Indians and the CJS had a method of choosing prospective cases.

            She said if the accused asked her to visit a “MIC man” to “settle the case” she dropped him (it was normally a “him”) from our case load.

            Re: “I bet you that no Blueprint will solve the problem unless and until Indians are ready to change”

            I bet you no problems would be solved until the Blueprint becomes a tangible reality for disenfranchised Indians.

            Reply
          • 10. MalaysianinNewYork  |  March 30, 2013 at 4:24 am

            Calvin, I think Conrad has not only answered you but also hopefully made you realize that one should not continue keep twisting the facts just to support an argument.

            Yes on the 5 issues which is contrary to what I had said, I should have specified in proportion to the population, then the figures are right. It was my fault to not make it clear for my assumption that one would understand.

            Reply
          • 11. Calvin Sankaran  |  March 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm

            Reply to Conrad # 9:

            Conrad,

            Congrats for presenting strong arguments in support of MiNY. I guess this is kind of spirit that makes this blog to stand out from the others in the Malaysian blogosphere.

            Allow me to present my counterpoints.

            1.Re: Helen being a fact-based person: I will skip this is this point as it has no relevance to the topic – let’s nor personalize and trivialize the debate with such detours. All I would say that neither you nor Helen would fit in the category of those who “regurgitate facts with no basis in reality”.

            2. Perhaps I have not explained myself fully, I hope that’s the source of your confusion. I think I should and hope that would clarify my position. And I think I should provide an analogy to better explain my position.

            Let’s take the US as a comparison. When you look at the African Americans, they also have the exact same social problems as the Malaysian Indians have – alcoholism, crime, gangs, suicide, poor academic performance, etc.

            Why would the blacks have the same problem when the US does not have affirmative action plan for the white majority, restrictive or discriminatory policies against the blacks? In fact the blacks receive much support and even have favorable policies to further help them?

            Based on Hindraf’s definition (and MiNY’s “evidence”) such social issues point to marginalization. But no one is accusing the US govt of marginalizing the blacks. In fact the same situation is with the Red Indians in the US and the Aborigines in Australia too.

            That’s why I am saying having social problems alone does not automatically indicate that the Indians are marginalized in Malaysia. This is even more illogical when you consider the Indians’ economic position in Malaysia compared to the Blacks in the US. The blacks are lagging not just behind the whites but even the recent immigrants such as Chinese, Indians, Vietnamese, etc.

            If you claim economic problems lead to social issues, then why are we not seeing more crime committed by bumi, orang asli or East Malaysians? Hindraf’s assertion has no basis and cannot hold in any rational debate.

            What I find to be most hypocritical and laughable about Hindraf’s position on the NEP and bumi special rights. While the make a big issue of the NEP, they demand a whole lot laundry lists of goodies for Indians – which in essence special rights for Indians.

            3. I do have a simple solution to the problem which takes cognizance of the Malaysian context. What we need is to have a set of policies that helps poor people regardless of ethnicity. The issue of Indian poor is no more important that the issue of Orang Asli, Malay or Iban poor. The same goes for all other issues whether crime, education, social problems, etc. The solution should be based on needs and NOT on ethnicity.

            4. Class conflict is not a concept that I would support. But the lack of unity within the community is there for all to see. Just look at the number of political parties, newspapers, magazine, etc. Unlike the Chinese community which has close knit business and cultural links, the Indians tend to split themselves into smaller groups. Look at the pathetic support the Tamil schools receive. Do you know how many rich Indians who had their education funded by MIC and other organizations but refuse to pay up, this depriving other poor Indians of scholarship?

            5. Stateless Indians: Come on, if you have handled these issues you would know that it is not the role of the govt or MIC to get Indians to apply for their IC or marriage cert. There is no need for Hindraf to highlight the issue which is a common knowledge. Even if it needs highlighting, it still requires a lot of hard work to get the stateless people to get through the process. Talk is cheap and no amount of talk is gonna help if people themselves are apathetic. I can tell you that in 100% cases it is the attitude of Indians that is the problem. If Hindraf wants to solve it, they should DO something and not keep talking. I also disagree with you that the Chinese do not have the problem because of their history and political leadership.

            6. Hindraf and criminals – I do not claim or subscribe to the notion that people should be considered guilty unless proven otherwise. But I do have a problem when you defend someone accused of crime just because he’s an Indian even when he/she was proven to be one. Such knee jerk actions are only making things worse when the community is already facing a big problem with crime. By turning criminals into heroes, these folks sending a wrong message and only compounding the issue.

            Reply
      • 12. Conrad  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:13 am

        As usual Helen did the heavy lifting, but ……

        “The question I am putting forth is whether we seek to end the NEP or perpetuate new NEPs (for Indians). Can we discard this baggage and embark on a new deal for all vulnerable Malaysians?”

        This seems like a fair enough question. Just to be clear, you understand that what you are suggesting is possibly abolishing the so called “special rights” of the Malay community in favour of something more merit/class based ?

        Seems to me like this is a good topic for another thread.

        Reply
  • 13. Conrad  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Well this seems like a good a place as any to comment on Ram Anand’s Mkini article “Wither the middle ground Indian politics?”

    The usual narrative goes that “Indians” – working class and below, I suppose – demand handouts from their reps. Never mind the examples that he uses more or less are the same for the Malay community.

    And god knows in my years milling about the grass roots level I have seen how so called Chinese Associations (and the like) pick up the slack of political party benifice when it comes to the Chinese community, but I suppose it’s expected that with the waves Hindraf is making, the newportal that has more or less endorsed PR would come up with something like this.

    Take this snippet of Anand’s comparative ideological stance wrt to PR and BN :

    “BN Indian leaders appear content to keep Indians as dependant entities who will rejoice when given money, the Pakatan’s Indian leaders are so detached from the Indian grassroots that only a handful of their top leaders can converse in Tamil comfortably with stateless people they want to represent.”

    On the face of it is seems a failry logical (depending on your partisan bent, of course) assumption, right ? But here’s the thing, Anand levels a damaging charge against BN Indian leadership (which is something I do not dispute) but pussyfoots when it comes to PR Indian leadership as nothing more then a cultural disconnect.

    Well no shit Sherlock. The cultural disconnect is part of PR’s own agenda to keep Indians as “dependent entities” but without the money or maybe the money depending on how close they are with the Glory of Christ.

    Reply
    • 14. MalaysianinNewYork  |  March 30, 2013 at 4:10 am

      I think Rahman Putih in the comment section had put down eloquently in simple reasoning which had easily identified the notion of Ram Anand.

      Reply
  • 15. i hate n'sync  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Sorry, was a bit busy in the past few days and did not send the half completed reply to Conrad. Will finish it before addressing the other additional viewpoints.

    I suppose I have to reply Conrad here under this thread.

    Dear Conrad,

    Setting racial quotas is always problematic, just like gender quotas. I know what conflation you are talking about, as the matter has always been about equality of OPPORTUNITIES or equality of OUTCOMES. Consider the goal of setting a 30% quota for female Parliamentarians and a 75% quota of intake for civil servants at the kumpulan sokongan (non-professional and managerial) level. People enamored with the idea of quotas are now even suggesting that private MNCs or businesses must set a quota to hire Malays. In which direction or proportion of a quota is fair? Perception? Population size? Risk of poverty? Magnitude of destitution? Number or percentage or density or age?

    What kind of performance-based scrutiny are you offering for racial quotas? I have always believed that the past and present way of going about the university intake quotas or scholarship quotas are flawed because it tries to divide the sample into irrelevant sub-groups. Depending on the desired rate of change, only 10% to 25% of a university intake should be set aside for social re-engineering purposes. This means putting a premium or weightage based on poverty/SES status, ethnic minorities, geographical and religious diversity AFTER the majority has been selected on the same cut-off (merit-based). The same approach goes for scholarships, licenses etc. Thus, by clearly keeping the competition alive for deserving individuals, “handicapped” students still get their chance to strike at success without jeopardizing the quality of tertiary education. A racial quota does it differenty by admitting students via intra-communal competition. It invites the debate of “race” share, rather than the universal indicators of academic scholarship and excellence.

    As for the civil service, I think it is strange that you think patronage and subservience is a byproduct or subset of homogenization. We could agree to disagree, but I think it would be interesting to prove if the Malay culture is more susceptible to the two symptoms above. Civil service around the world are learning to deal with a strong executive (or military). As you said, opportunities became scarce in the civil service for the Chinee and the Indians, and yet the Constitution of Malaysia clearly stated that there shall be no discrimination for those who serve (Article 136). So what is happening is that while there were supposedly NO quotas in hiring for MANAGERIAL positions, the general rule of intake quotas for kumpulan sokongan has reduced resistance to a Malay dominated civil service. Added to the fact that cries of favouritism in promotions, we are where we are now. So, do you think another racial quota for Indians is the answer for civil service? What will be its basis and rationale? How will that quota be justified indeed? Singaporeans have a very interesting rationale to dillute the voice of the minorities, they passed a regulation in the 1980s to create more “Singaporean” neighbourhoods – barring the creation of race-identified conclaves. That action, couched in multiculturalism, ensured that there will never again be a constituency where the Chinese will not dominate, AS PER THE NATIONAL POPULATION PROPORTION, replicated and enforced in housing allocations everywhere.

    The counterbalance to private sector employment is precisely what I meant by the rationale (or irrationality) of quotas. In order for quotas to work, people need to carve out artificial boundaries. Do we need to enforce a quota for INFORMAL sectors like self-subsistence farming and fishery? You know, there is a shortage of Indians and Chinese farmers and fishermen (btw, a lot of Chinese taukeys own fleets of fishing boats and they are powerful). Shouldn’t quotas be made to ensure that we have enough Chinese farmers too? Should we have quotas for house or car ownership or army or police composition? The precise problem with quotas is that it acts to serve as a quick fix to meet the sense of entitlememnt in a people who fear being dispossessed. It ignores the fact that disproportionate representation happens for a variety of reasons even in a non-quota environment (Jews in Hollywood), which explained how the original dominance of the Chinese in some businesses came about (sundry shops, groceries, rice, etc.). The need to fight against monopoly is more important than the need to apportion things by race.

    I personally find the idea that the reaffirming of the civil service as an entity to serve all Malaysians by ensuring race diversity in its set-up to be dangerous. Are you saying the Malay-dominated civil service serves only the interest of the majority Malays and that is okay and understandable? By your logic, I am damn sure the Chinese dominated pig farming and pork selling is extremely unfair to the Indians in Malaysia.

    The civil service should treat every client equally, regardless of whether their line-up is Malay or Indian-dominated. I was at a government office counter recently and they had to deal with a really nasty client. I did not think race was an issue there, and as a civil servant, I think the government front desk handled that particule incident really well. You said that the civil service was bloated because it was needed to safeguard the welfare of a majority community. Well, be truthful, you are saying that the JPA is hiring too many civil servants because they want to keep Malay unemployment low. I will argue that the idea is inaccurate because Malay graduate unemployment is still the highest and no amount of public hiring will affect the dent in unemployment if you understand the maths. The real reason why the civil service is perceived to be bloated is because they couldn’t remove deadwoods, and to be exact, the way we enumerate headcount is very important. I share the link below and given the time, anyone is welcome to use it as a benchmark (Table 1), to determine how “bloated” our civil service is.

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/tnm/2010/tnm1015.pdf

    The elite bargaining system is present in both BN and PR. I find it interesting that you consider PR’s way more “fair” and “egalitarian”. I know it is a qualified expression, but I consider both coalitions as extending and perpetuating the race narrative, except the latter (PR) is being more sinister about the whole deal. You acknowledged that the game played is that Malay majority is still preserved, but minority rights are given “equal footing”. This is essentially the BN and Perikatan formula all over again. I would agree with you if PR’s stance checked BN’s excesses on the matter, but I have doubts regarding the power sharing formula becoming a reality. PR’s game plan have accentuated racial tension rather than diffusing it, and seeks to appeal to liberalism when they themselves cling to conservative practices. I can pick a few examples, but that’s politics for you.

    It is dangerous for the Indians in Malaysia (just as it is dangerous for the Chinese), to continue to count on the split in the Malay community. The correct way is to move our public discourse beyond race, not seek to entrench ourselves deeper into it. The “Malay” discourse is the “Chinese discourse and also the “Indian” discourse. The elite bargaining system is conditional upon the masses trusting and believing that the elites will partake in national affairs to look after each community’s interests. By itself it is a class struggle when the elites are more preoccupied with stuffing their pockets and enriching themselves. Racism is not a byproduct of the power sharing formula, the reverse is true. People who are still clinging on to ethnic and communal insecurities made power “sharing” necessary. Isn’t Malay wealth, Chinese wealth and Indian wealth all MALAYSIAN wealth? The matter is only about how wealth is distributed, not resentment against the wealthy!

    The reason why communists and socialists were so popular once was because they pointed out a common brotherhood (and sisterhood) among men (and women). Many political parties tap into this class struggle narrative, whether BN or PR. The difference is that each try to present themselves as ethnic heroes of the downtrodden Malay (UMNO, Perkasa, PKR), Muslim (UMNO, PAS), Chinese (MCA, Gerakan, DAP, DJZ), Indian (Hindraf, MIC, hahaha).

    Broadbased approach does not mean Uthaya will have to sell out or dillute the Indian cause. It just means to cut down on the exaggerations and focus on the solutions so that both the larger Indian and other ethnic communities can see the point, which Tun Razak managed to secure in a post 1969 climate. Some of the solutions proposed by Hindraf is not only wrong but downright unacceptable. The same goes for Ibrahim Ali. The man and the organization is free to spout their drivel, but we judge their cause on its merits and proposed solutions. Hindraf has a legitimate cause. Anything else, that’s hard to judge at this point.

    And as a point of retort, Perkasa is an interest group to pressure UMNO. A lot of people think Perkasa is UMNO’s contractor for Malay supremacy against the non-muslims. I believe the reverse is true. Because it is no longer politically acceptable for UMNO to champion narrow parochial causes, Perkasa was formed to remind UMNO the base (and sentiment) it is neglecting. Think about it a little, who or what Perkasa is really for.

    I know many think Uthaya should be independent and synonymous with Hindraf. I think so too but we all agreed that without a political platform, Hindraf can only work on a community stage. Since there is almost next to none in community self help and leverage power (like Hua Zong or Dong Zong or the various Chinese interest groups), Hindraf needs a political platform bad, and fast. NIAT is a joke, but even then, if all the Indian community groups come together, even nominally or on a token basis, Hindraf can be a third force. At present, it is more like a spent force because for some strange reason, Indians have always go for big trees for their shade rather than trusting their own collective umbrellas.

    A political candidates’ party affiliation is part of the consideration in votes, including the likelihood of someone being a party leader. That is all part and parcel of the assessment of a candidate. I am not saying a candidate is separate from his or her party at all. Politicians who cannot play to the lowest common denominator don’t get voted in, period. Look at Onn Jaafar. Politicians who cannot deal with party politics don’t get anywhere. Look at OTK. I don’t know about fallacies, but I think it is crazy to vote on the basis of party and not the candidate. Nobody is saying we should be voting on the personal characteristics and capacity of the candidate ALONE, but the candidate or better man (or woman) is the key factor, not party affiliations. The present situation is that people tend to vote along party lines regardless of the candidate’s capacity. This results in the jostle among party workers to get to the frontline because even if a cow stood for elections in 2008 under PR, it could have won.

    You seem to think that the Malay community have it good. I think you are more naive than I thought. The government has a safety net for all Malaysians, but it has holes and gaps in them, and some Malays, Bumiputeras, Chinese and Indians fall through the cracks. The problem is with the mechanism of the SSN, not whether the government is predominantly Malay or Chinese.

    Majority of voters currently vote along party lines, which they justify as affinity with party ideals and cause. Some focus on the candidate, some put premium on the big picture, voting with the winners etc. If all politicians run their campaign on noble causes, then I hope economic development and wealth creation is noble too because we really need it. A lot of the real changes we need is not noble, it is mundane yet necessary. Good campaigning and marketing can make even the most base matter into a noble cause. I hope to see more fundamental concerns being addressed, ie revitalisation of the public sector and small and medium enterprises, of graduate unemployment, of education quality. Our politicians are talking about the price of cars, free tertiary education and houses in Damansara. Different tangents from same points of concern, it seems.

    Reply
    • 16. Helen Ang  |  March 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

      re: Hindraf asking for “quick fix”

      I think it’s necessary. I can’t comment on the pribumi of Sabah-S’wak or Orang Asal situations b’cos I don’t know.

      But just an anecdote wrt to S’gor garbage collection (my area). Under Alam Flora previously, the workers were Indian. Today, after the Ronnie Liu business, the ones who come around to my road are Burmese.

      Are local Indians being squeezed out of the bottom-rung jobs even?!

      As a Chinese, I balk at quotas. Already the Malays get quotas, the pribumi do, the Siamese and the Portuguese descendents (if they can pass themselves off as bumiputera) benefit from quotas too.

      For local university intake (my time), due to the quotas, the toughest entry was for Chinese girls incl. disadvantaged by gender favouritism since fewer boys take the academic route.

      Ticking the “lain-lain” box would be advantageous. Ticking Chinese, most disadvantageous due to the tough intra-race competition for local uni admission.

      If Indians are to be given privilege quotas too, then the only race left to be left out from the quota benefits would be the Chinese!

      Back to the Hindraf situation.

      In principle, I have misgivings about quotas. But in the Malaysian situation and for the short-term since the Hindraf blueprint is a 5-year proposal and in relation to what they’re asking (Haris Ibrahim gives the example of vocational training quota from the blueprint), I feel that we shouldn’t be too rigid.

      Just fix the Indian problem first and now as it is urgent. The Malay backwardness (that govt accounts of the May 13 story say sparked the 1969 riots) has been mended. But the 40-plus years of NEP has been negative on the Indian community who have not received attention. As one example, Felda could have accommodated the displaced Indian estate workers.

      I’m not claiming that there is not a single Indian Felda settler but he would be the rare exception.

      The response to Waytha’s hunger strike is telling. I don’t expect the authorities to give in to someone holding them to ransom and demanding a budget of billions of ringgit.

      But it provides us a chance to see the tone of the various responses or basically to see the real faces of Malaysian society. Or in other words: “It’s not what you say but how you say it.”

      I don’t blame either BN or Pakatan for saying ‘No’ to Waytha. In fact I’d had expected that both would find it difficult to comply to being held at ransom.

      But what I want to see how (the way) both coalitions convey their ‘No’.

      BN is more humane and open to discussion and negotiation. The Pakatan worldview can best be discerned in the reader comments in Haris Ibrahim’s blog under his “Hindraf Compromised?” postings.

      Reply
      • 17. Helen Ang  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

        Postscript and update:

        I hope the exploratory meeting (i.e. Najib-Hindraf @ Putrajaya) will lead to concessions and a commitment to resolve the various problems that Hindraf has brought up in the blueprint.

        THE LATEST ON WAYTHA’S CONDITION

        The Hindraf press release says:

        “Waytha Moorthy is completely bedridden today, the 21st day of his Hunger Viratham. For most of the last 20 days he has been mobile but today he is confined entirely to his bed. His speech is very muffled and he speaks only in very low tones. He is extremely weak and is noticeably getting weaker every day.

        “To end this ordeal the Paktan Government-in-waiting or the sitting Barisan Government needs to take clear notice of this situation and respond to the demands he has made that they must endorse Hindraf’s 5 year Blueprint without any further delay. We hope they do not fail him and the people he represents.”

        Reply
        • 18. i hate n'sync  |  April 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

          Well Helen, the entire purpose of the fast is to show apathy on the part of BN and PR to the plight of underpriviledged Indians. The narrative of Waytha’s hunger viratham is already written the day he started. If he is willing to sacrifice himself, Waytha would secure the martyr status so coveted and needed by Hindraf.

          Like acts of self immolation, Waytha is giving the politicians ample time to play the public perception game. I believe Waytha found a no lose situation and I hope the politicians will blink first. Either that or he will be hospitalised and put on a drip.

          [Just checked the web and he was hospitalised a few hours ago].

          Reply
          • 19. Helen Ang  |  April 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

            I’m not surprised by the apathy.

            But how come the Pakatan supporters are still like mindless parrots sticking to the standard script of asking Hindraf to work with the oppo despite Waytha having successfully proved?

            I agree with you that some experiments are designed to fail for the purpose of proving the exclusion.

            Reply
          • 20. i hate n'sync  |  April 1, 2013 at 9:22 am

            I think Waytha can still consider it a victory. I mean, nobody could fully agree to the blueprint considering the magnitude of the requests. He did last 21 days, as long as Gandhi’s longest fast. I hope he recovers well and fight for another day.

            MIC was quick to send someone and claim compassionate concern.

            Reply
            • 21. Helen Ang  |  April 1, 2013 at 9:28 am

              Ihe Najib gesture was more impactful and would stand out as contrasted with the silence from Anwar & family, LKS-LGE and Hadi-TGNA and Karpal’s 11th hour ‘appeal’.

              BN lost seats due to the Hindraf factor of the 2008 tsunami whereas Pakatan had a windfall.

              The Scissors failed to play up the story of the Najib-Hindraf meeting at Putrajaya. Bad news for Pakatan is good news for BN is buried news in The Star.

              Reply
          • 22. Helen Ang  |  April 1, 2013 at 9:47 am

            Got news that Waytha has ended his hunger strike.

            Reply
          • 23. Calvin Sankaran  |  April 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

            Make no mistake, I might disagree with the man and his method, but he deserves my highest respect for his courage. While I applaud his commitment and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice, my personal opinion that he has miscalculated – badly. Even in the Tamil media, this has not received the kind of coverage that it deserves.

            The problem with Hindraf is that they have antagonized both side of the political divide and in this highly politicized times, that’s a huge miscalculation. Pakatan and their On-line media and Red Guards are pissed with him for daring to NOT to declare his total support to PR.

            On the BN side, he has antagonized the Malay press with his over the top statements. The Tamil media is his only savior but even with them, he has failed do fully get them on his side by not doing enough networking and lobbying. As such he has been given scant attention. Desperate, a group of Hindraf supporters in Rawang has taken up a half a page spread in Nanban to express their support and also organize a prayer for him.

            This is just an example of Hindraf being good in rhetoric and poor in strategy. Had they played their cards well, they could have turned this hunger viratham into a powerful statement.

            Hindraf should have done their homework and got their strategy right before they started this. In this position I would have done months of prep work and would have gotten the media ready to provide wide coverage. Had he managed to get international media like Al Jazirah or BBC to provide a 30sec coverage, it would have forced BN’s and PR’s hands.

            The reality is the support for Hindraf cause among Indians has nose dived since 2007. That’s a fundamental reality that not going to change. Without their support as a bargaining chip, Hindraf would not able to interest either BN or PR. The fact that Hindraf itself is badly divided (note that Uthaya and Waytha are not on talking terms) is another open secret.

            I hope Waytha realizes this and move on. He has made his statement and there is no point going on with this fast. There is no point making the ultimate sacrifice in vain. That would be tragic.

            Reply
            • 24. Helen Ang  |  April 1, 2013 at 10:18 am

              He has ended his hunger strike, Calvin.

              Reply
          • 25. Calvin Sankaran  |  April 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

            Helen…I am glad to hear that he has ended his fast. Any news on his meetings with Najib?

            Reply
            • 26. Helen Ang  |  April 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

              Not that I’ve heard of. But anyway, he was hospitalized.

              Reply
    • 27. Conrad  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Re: “Setting racial quotas is always problematic, just like gender quotas”

      The quotas are already in place. The question is, should Hindraf be demonized for advocating quotas for the Indian community within institutions of the State?

      Re: Equality of opportunities and/vs. Equality of outcomes

      Could you define those terms in the context of your political stance? It would be counterproductive if the both of us started debating this issue without defining those terms. In my experience whenever two people go down the [E] opportunity/outcome road without clearly defining those terms and their stance it rapidly degenerates into a free for all with no direction.

      Re: “People enamored with the idea of quotas….”

      Concerning the private sector, if I am not mistaken there already racial quotas or “understandings” to be more precise when it comes hiring practices in certain kinds of industry and the absorption of graduates into certain tech companies. I may be mistaken, though.

      The private sector as I have argued before is rife with its own set of racisms. That a minority community dominates it is contrasted with the reality that a majority community dominates the civil sector.

      If your argument is that quotas system should be anathema, then what you should be arguing is that laws outlawing discriminatory practices in the civil and private sector should be implemented in place of protectionist (sic) laws or practices in place now, with quotas in the public sector being the most well-known expression of this.

      If your argument is that it is problematic to set up racial quotas but it should remain in the public sector but used as some sort of threat to be introduced in the private sector, then have at it.

      Re: “In which direction or proportion of a quota is fair?”

      To turn this from the theoretical to the practical, what are your justifications of the parameters in place now for the quotas in place for the diverse communities here in Malaysia?

      What are your specific criticisms against the parameters of Hindraf’s advocacy of quotas? Do you believe that quotas should be abolished for a merit based approached as raised per your response wrt university intakes?

      Re: “What kind of performance-based scrutiny are you offering for racial quotas?

      The same as I would offer for class based quotas.

      Re: “As for the civil service, I think it is strange that you think patronage and subservience is a byproduct or subset of homogenization”

      Why? Don’t you think that homogenization through political interference creates a culture of patronage and subservience? Has not the rhetoric of gratitude from the political elite confirmed this phenomenon not to mention the rhetoric of high-ranking civil servants that echoes this sentiment?

      Re: “…but I think it would be interesting to prove if the Malay culture is more susceptible to the two symptoms above”

      Why? Where did I imply such a thing to take the discussion in that direction?

      Re: “So, do you think another racial quota for Indians is the answer for civil service? What will be its basis and rationale? How will that quota be justified indeed?”

      There is already a racial quota for Indians. The rationale (for Hindraf’s) is the same as advocated by any who believe in the racial power sharing formula that is the foundation of the ideological bedrock of Barisan National or in a sub rosa fashion of Pakatan Rakyat.

      The quota will be justified as any racial quota is justified in this country, as an acceptance of the social contract.

      Re: Singapore experience and faux multiculturalism

      Eh? The same could be said for a number of initiatives that have seen the Malay majority community artificially inflated to create a greater majority (for example) and the lip service to multiculturalism is a staple in the polemics of nearly every political party in this country.

      Truth is I have no interest in how Singapore dilutes the voices of its minority (although if you are a majority here but a minority there, I would find that troubling), simply because I am too busy attempting to make my voice heard in the Malay-Sino dynamic here.

      Re: “The counterbalance to private sector employment is precisely what I meant by the rationale (or irrationality) of quotas”

      Why? There is only irrationality if you confuse the roles between the public and private sectors. The public sector is not an avenue for wealth creation and fundamentally, its role is different with its agendas funded with public fund through taxes.

      The private sector’s function is to generate wealth for a certain class of elites. Government interference in this sector is predicated on ideological imperatives.

      Re: “You know, there is a shortage of Indians and Chinese farmers and fishermen (btw, a lot of Chinese taukeys own fleets of fishing boats and they are powerful). Shouldn’t quotas be made to ensure that we have enough Chinese farmers too?”

      I dunno’. If public funds are used to either encourage or support these industries, then the funding of which should be open to all races that may entail a quota system.

      But you make a fundamental mistake, in that you ignore the deliberate (poltical) homogenization of the public sector and equate the disproportionate representations in certain private sector niches as one and the same as the former.

      Re: “The precise problem with quotas is that it acts to serve as a quick fix to meet the sense of entitlememnt in a people who fear being dispossessed”

      Then I repeat the question I asked earlier. Are you arguing for the abolishment of those special rights for the Malay community that has as its basis a racial quota component?

      Re: “The need to fight against monopoly is more important than the need to apportion things by race.”

      Huh? Now I am confused. What do you mean by monopoly in this context? The private sector and public monopolies are defined by race. If you argue, the diverse reasons for disproportionate racial representation, why then should racial monopolies be disrupted.

      Re: “I personally find the idea that the reaffirming of the civil service as an entity to serve all Malaysians by ensuring race diversity in its set-up to be dangerous”

      Why? You already conceded that article 136 has proven to be ineffectual for diversity in the civil service and the rhetoric coming out of UMNO is that the civil services not to mention various public educational institutions are “Malay” institutions, why would you think it is dangerous to consider a reintroduction of ethnic diversity into the civil service.

      Re: “Are you saying the Malay-dominated civil service serves only the interest of the majority Malays and that is okay and understandable?”

      I am saying that the deliberate marginalization of the Non Malays in the civil service has resulted in a racially polarized atmosphere where Malay political elites think of the civil service as their political fiefdoms and institutions of government as the means in which they protect the interest of their community. Wasn’t I clear?

      Re: “By your logic, I am damn sure the Chinese dominated pig farming and pork selling is extremely unfair to the Indians in Malaysia.”

      Do the Chinese dominated pig farming and pork selling have any influence in the way how the Indians participate in the public sector be it in enrollment in public institutions, promotions in the civil service etc. ?

      Re: “The civil service should treat every client equally, regardless of whether their line-up is Malay or Indian-dominated.”

      Yes but this isn’t really the issue is it? I too have had varied experiences with the civil service. The issue is the politicization of the civil service through the homogenization of the civil service.

      Re: Well, be truthful, you are saying that the JPA is hiring too many civil servants because they want to keep Malay unemployment low. I will argue that the idea is inaccurate because Malay graduate unemployment is still the highest and no amount of public hiring will affect the dent in unemployment if you understand the maths.

      Well the counter point to this is because our public educations institutions keep churning out graduates that do not perform well in a market forces milieu.

      The PTPTN fiasco and the fly by night’s rackets are part as to why there is a large influx of graduates amongst other issues. You can have a system meant to keep unemployment lower but still have a problem with high unemployment.

      A bloated civil service is one such means.

      Re: “The real reason why the civil service is perceived to be bloated is because they couldn’t remove deadwoods, and to be exact, the way we enumerate headcount is very important.”

      This is ONE of the reasons. I will get back to you on your link, when I have time to study it and offer you an alternate link to determine civil service bloatedness.

      Re: “I find it interesting that you consider PR’s way more “fair” and “egalitarian”.

      It was not a qualified statement, it was a sarcastic one. But we are in agreement as far as the elite bargaining system when it comes to BN and PR.

      Re: PR’s game plan have accentuated racial tension rather than diffusing it, and seeks to appeal to liberalism when they themselves cling to conservative practices.

      While I agree with this in theory, I would note that BN has played an important role in accentuating racial tensions when it comes to its political games with PR.

      Re: “It is dangerous for the Indians in Malaysia (just as it is dangerous for the Chinese), to continue to count on the split in the Malay community”

      Actually it is even more dangerous for them when the eventual class conflict emerges from within the Malay community.

      Re: The correct way is to move our public discourse beyond race, not seek to entrench ourselves deeper into it. The “Malay” discourse is the “Chinese discourse and also the “Indian” discourse.

      Unfortunately, this is not the reality. This is the illusion of the 1Malaysia and Bangsa Malaysia discourse. Why you insist on handicapping Hindraf is beyond me. You engage with the system not with imaginary ideals.

      Re: Racism is not a byproduct of the power sharing formula, the reverse is true.

      How is the reverse true? The power sharing formula is based on race. Racism then is the byproduct of this.

      Re:” Isn’t Malay wealth, Chinese wealth and Indian wealth all MALAYSIAN wealth? The matter is only about how wealth is distributed, not resentment against the wealthy!”

      Not really. Resentment against the wealthy happens for a variety of reasons. One such is the unequal application of the laws of the land, be it religious or secular. Distribution of wealth is a whole other issue.

      Re: “The reason why communists and socialists were so popular once was because they pointed out a common brotherhood (and sisterhood) among men (and women)”

      Actually the reason why they were popular because they tapped into the class resentments of various populations and offered an alternative through conformity.

      Re: …..Uthaya will have to sell out or dillute the Indian cause. It just means to cut down on the exaggerations and focus on the solutions so that both the larger Indian and other ethnic communities can see the point”

      Except that, this was not the implication of your broad-based definition in your response so far concerning certain Hindraf policies.

      Re: “The same goes for Ibrahim Ali. The man and the organization is free to spout their drivel, but we judge their cause on its merits and proposed solutions”

      Really, what are the merits of Ibrahim Ali’s cause? You still have not described them in this response.

      Re: “Think about it a little, who or what Perkasa is really for.”

      I have. And your response here is exactly the same as I gave to Helen, on another thread. Again, what exactly are the rights Ibrhaim Ali is fighting for and which is in danger of being abolished? What rights does PERKASA aspire to?

      Re: “Hindraf can only work on a community stage’ and “At present, it is more like a spent force because for some strange reason, Indians have always go for big trees for their shade rather than trusting their own collective umbrellas”

      While I disagree with the spent force label, if anything I would argue they are enjoying a resurgence, the problem is that Hindraf agenda in not really an Indian agenda. The Hindraf agenda is that of the disenfranchised Indians. What they need to achieve is systematic win small victories that leads to something greater.

      Re: “I don’t know about fallacies, but I think it is crazy to vote on the basis of party and not the candidate”

      Ok I am confused here. What exactly is your point? You brought up vote for the candidate not the party Zubedy nonsense and then claimed it was I, who brought it up. Now you seem to be waffling on this point. Really, there is no issue. From what I can tell, you have refined your position that debunks Zubedy’s rather nonsensical approach to politics.

      Re: “You seem to think that the Malay community have it good.”

      Where did I say this? I said the opportunities (public, private, and religious) available to the Malay community to rectify social problems far outweighs those available to the Non Malays.

      Re: “The government has a safety net for all Malaysians, but it has holes and gaps in them, and some Malays, Bumiputeras, Chinese and Indians fall through the cracks.”

      What are the percentages stateless Malays? I know there are stateless Chinese and Indians. And this is but one example of the differences in social/economic/political problems that Non Malays face.

      I think you are ignorant of the public resources channeled
      through religious, political and social organizations that act as a safety net specifically for the Malay community.

      Not to mention that my use of the term safety net was confined to the public and private systems in place that acts as political and economic safety nets for the Malay and Chinese community.

      Re: “If all politicians run their campaign on noble causes, then I hope economic development and wealth creation is noble too because we really need it”

      Again what does this mean in the context of our discussion? I read my replies and never implied otherwise or even raised this issue in terms of political agendas.

      Reply
      • 28. i hate n'sync  |  March 31, 2013 at 3:20 pm

        Dear Conrad,

        The issue was never about if there are or if there aren’t quotas in place. The question is how have racial quotas worked for or worked against the cause it claims to resolve.

        The equality of opportunities and equality of outcomes, for me, frames the problem of social engineering neatly. People want to see outcome indicators, i.e. signs of parity, fairness etc. However, many choose to pick the indices subjectively and expect the situation to change immediately. The focus on outcomes ignore the question of sustainability, fairness and victimization. It is not a coincidence that the framers of our Constitution focused on equality of opportunities, instead of setting percentages. You said that the private sector is different from the public sector, and hence, the former has financial considerations that is naturally discriminative against hiring Malays.

        It is strange to think of private sector race, age and gender discriminations as a retort to public sector discrimination. It is popular, I know, but it is illogical and insane to actually believe it. I can understand if you say that the private sector cannot “afford” equal opportunity hiring policies, but I think you are saying that private sector hiring is already following some racial quota in practice. That is something new to me.

        As stated, the basis of hiring should be on the best job-fit assessments, not racial, gender or age quotas. Companies can reserve some positions for diversity purposes, but it must realize that they discriminate at their own risk. Australians have what you call Equal Opportunities Commissions, and these are public bodies tasked with the responsibility to ensure that no discrimination in employment (public or private sector) is left unaddressed. If you are one of those people who believe that the private sector has no other responsibility beyond maximising monetary profit, then there is no point in delving on this any further. There is a huge difference in hiring minorities and discriminating against workers in advancement because of their skin colour.

        You avoid addressing the quota figure bandied about for Indians in the civil service, a recent experiment. Can I ask you what would be an acceptable racial quota for Malays and Indians, and how this quota setting applicable to all aspects of our lives, i.e. the neighbourhood we live in, armed forces and police, constituency voting, private sector composition and sports? You nicely attributed the acceptance of racial quotas to the social contract, but the Constitution of Malaysia made no provisions of quotas for Indians. Are you saying this is a new social contract for Malaysians with Indians? Are we now negotiating new social contracts on a piecemeal basis?

        It is strange that the Malay quotas expressedly provided for in the Constitution is derided and unaccepted, but newly made ones can be created at whim to pacify the unruly and unthinking?

        “The private sector’s function is to generate wealth for a certain class of elites.”

        – Conrad

        Given your thought about the role of the private sector, I wish the government would tax the shit out of the capitalists.

        You condone the excesses and discrimination of private businesses but somehow expect the government to be the bastion of just and equality. At the same time, the government is berated for its social engineering efforts for the Malays, who were shut out from the private sector BEFORE NEP was introduced.

        You asked me if I am arguing for the special rights for the Malays to be abolished.

        Let me reply it here, plain and simple. I am all for the special POSITION of the Malays and Bumiputeras as outlined in the Constitution and I support the objectives of the NEP. I am against the perversion of the NEP and corruption of the Constitutional ideals from one of ethnic safeguard to elite plunder.

        You seem to think that the civil service is what it is because of its homogenization (primary factor). Graduate unemployment, by your count, is also the fault of the Malay-dominated government, which among its faults also included the decline in quality of education. Isn’t that a bit too convenient? You said “our PUBLIC educations institutions” keep churning out lousy graduates. The truth is that we have 20 IPTAs and 60 IPTS, and arts and social science graduates form the bulk of unemployment, followed by those in technical fields. Diploma holders have no trouble getting jobs, but graduates do. The real problem of graduate unemployment is mismatch of study specialization vs. job availability. And since IPTAs offer more non-market driven courses (rooted in Malay language), that is the crux of the matter. Malaysia has a lot of graduate tracer studies and research to find answers, and McKinsey found that 25% of graduates work in unrelated fields of study, and 54% of mismatched graduates would job hop. Apart from our educational institutions’ weaknesses, the fact is that our industry players want “complete” workers without having to invest much on on-the-job training and hands-on learning.

        In the 2011 Graduate Tracking Study the percent of graduates still unemployed was “21 per cent from public institutions of higher learning, 27 per cent from private institutions, 28 per cent from polytechnics and 35 per cent from community colleges” (The Star). This means that almost 80% came from government institutions, but bear in mind the government need to provide further education for as many Malaysians as possible, especially those who cannot afford private universities and colleges. When you call the PTPTN a fiasco, I believe you are being unfair to the good it did, even if there are fly-by-night rackets. Isn’t that the Malaysian problem and any government’s problem, to ensure that a plan goes according to plan and help the right people?

        You seem to genuinely believe that the Malays have been having it good in Malaysia because of all kinds of public, private and religious opportunities the community “enjoys”. You think Perkasa has not right to exist because they have no cause. Just like the Chinese Malaysians who never accepted the social contract and the Constitution, Perkasa represents the Malays who never accepted the immigrant community who settled in Malaysia. Try and recall what Mahathir wrote to Tunku and ask yourself if the narrative is still alive. Ask yourself if the Chinese in Malaysia are aware of the general sentiment of the Malays and their selective choice of rights and responsibilities when it suits them.

        I have no wish to interfere your weird grudge with Zubedy. My point was specific that voters would do better is they pick the better candidate in their constituency, not vote along party lines. Unless you have an argument otherwise, it is pointless to go on. The MonyetKing got it right, if we are seious about a robust two-party system, voting for the better candidate regardless of their party is the way forward.

        As for noble intentions, let me put it this way for you since a lot of the tangents of thought was not apparent for you. I have no doubt Ibrahim Ali thinks Perkasa is fighting for a noble cause too.

        Reply
        • 29. Conrad  |  March 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm

          Dear ihn’s,

          Re: “The question is how have racial quotas worked for or worked against the cause it claims to resolve”

          Actually, it has been about, if Hindraf should be demonized for advocating such, when there is a system in place esp. when neither coalition show any indication of changing such a system.

          On this particular thread and on others, I have said that I am against affirmative action policies of any kind in which quotas is a major component.

          So notwithstanding your legitimate criticisms against affirmative action/quota (racial) systems, do you think that Hindraf should be demonized for playing the game everyone else is playing ?

          Re: “The equality of opportunities and equality of outcomes, for me, frames the problem of social engineering neatly”

          Very nice

          Re: “However, many choose to pick the indices subjectively and expect the situation to change immediately”

          You are mistaken. The only variable that people wish to change is that of (supposedly) race.

          Re:” It is not a coincidence that the framers of our Constitution focused on equality of opportunities, instead of setting percentages”

          I would quibble with this but I get where you are going. The problem here is that the social engineering came after and if I am not mistaken was meant to be for a brief period.

          Re: “You said that the private sector is different from the public sector, and hence, the former has financial considerations that is naturally discriminative against hiring Malays.”

          Not really, I never implied the link between financial considerations and discriminatory hiring practices against the Malay community.

          Re:” It is strange to think of private sector race, age and gender discriminations as a retort to public sector discrimination.”

          I have no idea why you would find such a proposition strange? Furthermore I never mentioned age or gender. However, why would you find it strange that the Non Malays (esp.) the Chinese think of the private sector is their turf and the Malays, the public as theirs? This has been the discourse for years.

          Re: “I can understand if you say that the private sector cannot “afford” equal opportunity hiring policies, but I think you are saying that private sector hiring is already following some racial quota in practice.”

          But I never once said that the private sector cannot “afford” equal opportunity hiring policies. In fact, I argued that anti discriminatory polices (laws) should be applied in the private and public sector. I did say that racism is rife in the private sector (and I will add) esp. the crypto kind, so hiring practices are subject to race but not quotas, which would be a strange argument to make.

          Re: Age and gender quotas and the Australian experience.

          Again, why bring this up? (1) Age and gender are non-sequitors in the context of this racial dialogue. (2) There are no comparative laws in Malaysia which addresses these minority concerns in a satisfactorily manner.

          Re: “If you are one of those people who believe that the private sector has no other responsibility beyond maximising monetary profit, then there is no point in delving on this any further.”

          I am one of those people who accept the reality that the private sector has shown no interests beyond maximizing profits. Do I think that the State should involve itself through political and legal instruments in the private sector beyond taxation?

          Sure, but again, the question here is not how the private sector discriminates (which could be a topic of another thread) but how Hindraf has chosen to engage with the System in place, which is the terrain of the public sector.

          Re: “You avoid addressing the quota figure bandied about for Indians in the civil service, a recent experiment.”

          Not all. If you have a question, I will attempt to answer it.

          Re: “Can I ask you what would be an acceptable racial quota for Malays and Indians, and how this quota setting applicable to all aspects of our lives, i.e. the neighbourhood we live in, armed forces and police, constituency voting, private sector composition and sports?

          Ah but this is rather a disingenuous question isn’t it? Hindraf is not advocating a quota sytem for every aspect of our lives. They are advocating a quota in educational institutions, governments institutions etc which are funded by the state and that should be open to all Malaysian but which as you have conceded been subject to a social engineering program.

          To put it simply your argument is merely an example of the fallacy of the excluded middle.

          Re: “You nicely attributed the acceptance of racial quotas to the social contract, but the Constitution of Malaysia made no provisions of quotas for Indians. Are you saying this is a new social contract for Malaysians with Indians?”

          The constitution made no provisions for quotas for Malays either and yet there they are. Does this mean that there were social contracts for each individual community?

          However, I see Hindraf’s demands as a reaffirmation of the social contract as the demands from a Non Malay community.

          Re: “Are we now negotiating new social contracts on a piecemeal basis?’

          Have not we always. Is not politics whatever the context a system of tradeoffs and pay offs?

          Re: It is strange that the Malay quotas expressedly provided for in the Constitution is derided and unaccepted, but newly made ones can be created at whim to pacify the unruly and unthinking?

          Not strange at all. To put it simply Hindraf wants to be treated like the Malays as far as access to (State) opportunities are concerned. Why would anyone find that strange unless they can offer a better ideal.

          Re: “Given your thought about the role of the private sector, I wish the government would tax the shit out of the capitalists”

          I would refine it as tax the shit out of the plutocracy…..if only I could identify those bastards/bitches more easily……

          Re: “You condone the excesses and discrimination of private businesses but somehow expect the government to be the bastion of just and equality”

          Please direct me to quote of mine where I condone said excesses.

          Re: “At the same time, the government is berated for its social engineering efforts for the Malays, who were shut out from the private sector BEFORE NEP was introduced.”

          Huh, now you see the legitimacy of such systems. Ok, now do you understand why Hindraf demands are reasonable in the context of the social engineering of the public sector and the racisms of the private sector.

          Honestly I berate both the public and the private sector. I could pull out quotes of mine proving that. Can you do the same of what you are accusing me off ?

          Re: “Let me reply it here, plain and simple”
          Thanks for the reply.

          Re: “You seem to think that the civil service is what it is because of its homogenization (primary factor). Graduate unemployment, by your count, is also the fault of the Malay-dominated government, which among its faults also included the decline in quality of education. Isn’t that a bit too convenient?”

          Why? You have already conceded that there the NEP was perverted. You yourself said that the affirmative action programs have had negative consequences on the Malay community so why subject the Indian community to it. You already conceded that there was social engineering involved in our institutions of government. Why is it so hard to believe that all this control contributed to a decline of a community and system?

          Re: “You said “our PUBLIC educations institutions” keep churning out lousy graduates.”

          Where did I use the term lousy?

          Re: The real problem of graduate unemployment is mismatch of study specialization vs. job availability.

          Hence, my response of graduates not being able to survive in market forces driven milieu. Respond to my arguments; do not attempt to create ones on my behalf.

          Re: “Apart from our educational institutions’ weaknesses, the fact is that our industry players want “complete” workers without having to invest much on on-the-job training and hands-on learning

          This is one other factor which could be fixed if we were really interested in revamping our education system.

          Re:” This means that almost 80% came from government institutions, but bear in mind the government need to provide further education for as many Malaysians as possible, especially those who cannot afford private universities and colleges.”

          This goes deeper into an ideological discussion where the question of tertiary education is a “right” would be explored.

          Re: “When you call the PTPTN a fiasco, I believe you are being unfair to the good it did, even if there are fly-by-night rackets”

          There is nothing unfair about holding institutions – governments or private – accountable. There is nothing unfair in holding students accountable for their debts.

          Re: “Isn’t that the Malaysian problem and any government’s problem, to ensure that a plan goes according to plan and help the right people?

          Could you clarify this statement? Accountability and critical analysis of any government initiative is warranted, don’t you think?

          Re:” You seem to genuinely believe that the Malays have been having it good in Malaysia because of all kinds of public, private and religious opportunities the community “enjoys”.

          Again, where did I say this? I said the disenfranchised of the Malay community has access to specific measures that make elevating their burden easier than the Non Malay community.

          Re: “You think Perkasa has not right to exist because they have no cause.”

          Again where did I say this? I just asked you to define their cause. Something that you have yet to do.

          Re: “Just like the Chinese Malaysians who never accepted the social contract and the Constitution, Perkasa represents the Malays who never accepted the immigrant community who settled in Malaysia.”

          Is this your definition of their cause? How does that fit in with their role as the mouthpieces of UMNO, as you implied before?

          Re: “Ask yourself if the Chinese in Malaysia are aware of the general sentiment of the Malays and their selective choice of rights and responsibilities when it suits them.”

          The Sino-Malay discourse has always been mired in parochialism and jingoism. It has never moved beyond this simply because their leadership has found it more profitable for them politically for the discourse to remain unchanged. I view groups like PERKASA to be an extension of such a discourse.

          Re: “I have no wish to interfere your weird grudge with Zubedy”

          I have no grudge weird or otherwise against Zubedy. You
          referenced him. I think like many political writers on either side, he is a hack.

          Re: “My point was specific that voters would do better is they pick the better candidate in their constituency, not vote along party lines”

          I agree with this but unfortunately this does not play out in reality.

          Re: “As for noble intentions, let me put it this way for you since a lot of the tangents of thought was not apparent for you. I have no doubt Ibrahim Ali thinks Perkasa is fighting for a noble cause too”

          Then you should be able to articulate his noble cause. I have no problem advancing and being critical of Hindraf’s cause.

          Reply
          • 30. i hate n'sync  |  March 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm

            Dear Conrad,

            I think some clarification is warranted. I am NOT against affirmative policies. I am against racial quotas because it is a lazy solution to a complex problem, creates distortions and ignores the root causes of social problems.

            Of course Hindraf carries a legitimate concern, in particularly the plight of marginalized Indians. As you said, there are people who are seeking racial outcomes, i.e. the betterment of the Malays or Indians or Chinese, the advancement of the Malays or Indians or Chinese etc. Precisely the wrongly framed solution of Malay displacement from the towns and cities in the post-Independence era has led to a perversed NEP. Are you saying that Hindraf should embark on the same journey?

            You must realize that anti-discrimination practices and affirmative actions are not contradictory. In a society which tries to create opportunities for the more vulnerable groups, it does not mean their advancment is separated from their actual performance. The race discrimination in Malaysia is linked to other forms of discrimination out there. Like Helen said, being a woman is a form of minority status in itself. I do not believe the private sector should be exempted from anti-discrimination practices, and certainly not under the pretext of maximising profit. How is alienating the largest demographic group going to maximise profits?

            You seem to think that Hindraf engaging the public sector is correct because the private sector cannot be responsible. May I ask who owns all those bloody estates that our Indian brethern came from? Why should again big corporations go free and the problem of displaced estate workers become a solely public concern. So you condone the merciless milking of the labour force and when the economy chances, let our tax payers figure out how to fix their mess? WHERE DO THE DISPLACED ESTATE WORKERS CAME FROM?

            Precisely because Hindraf is espousing selective quotas that we need to ask where does the slippery slope ends. The constitution for Malaysia made mention of special provisions for Malays and Natives (deemed reasonable proportions), and I repeat them below:

            Article 153

            2. Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, but subject to the provisions of Article 40 and of this Article, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall exercise his functions under this Constitution and federal law in such manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special provision of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and to ensure the reservation for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of such proportion as he may deem reasonable of positions in the public service (other than the public service of a State) and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given or accorded by the Federal Government and, when any permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law, then, subject to the provisions of that law and this Article, of such permits and licences.

            Do you see any similar articles for Indians?

            You are justifying the use of racial quotas for Indians because according to you, it is reasonable. I have already highlighted a few solutions outlined in the Hindraf blueprint. You have a very funny definition of what is acceptable. Do not conflate affirmative actions for underpriviledged Indians with Hindraf’s blueprint. It will serve to alienate further the legitimate cause of the Indians. You said that “Hindraf demands are reasonable” and I think that that is where I absolutely disagree.

            Conrad, it is easy to make statements like “because our public educations institutions keep churning out graduates that do not perform well in a market forces milieu”. If you don’t like to speak plainly, I can understand. The figures have already shown that your disparaging remarks regarding the public university graduates are inaccurate and I deem it malicious. In the days when public universities enrolment are higher than private ones, it is only natural that more unemployment figures will come from them. Private university graduates already came from a position of priviledge that polytechnics and community colleges cannot match in general.

            You then launched into a mumbling that “ideological discussion where the question of tertiary education is a “right” would be explored”. Keep the Penans in the jungle, anyone?

            Many benefitted from PTPTN and many would not have been able to afford tertiary education without the financial assistance. How would one make a difference in one’s life without escaping the vicious cycle of poverty through education? If the complaint is with the management, say so, but do not throw the baby out with the bath water.

            You view Perkasa to be a narrative rooted in communal politics. How is Hindraf any different? I am not Ibrahim the katak, but I have no doubt many hold the view that this is a Malay land and they are the owners. What can be more noble than defending the sovereignty of your race and religion? Isn’t that what Hindraf is doing too?

            Reply
    • 31. MalaysianinNewYork  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:40 am

      You know what i hate n’sync, your rambling shows how humane you can be without the typical I know it all attitude when it can only serve us individually. Thank you for the rambling when objectives becomes blurred without a dictation how it has to be to herd the sheeps to be what we want them to be.

      Reply
  • 32. Conrad  |  March 31, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Reply to Calvin Sankaran # 11

    I’ll dive into your points starting with :

    2. Comparisons with the US experience is problematic, as I have pointed out numerous times. The African American community is statistically the most successful of the African diaspora in the world. You are wrong when you say that no one accuses the American government of marginalizing the African American, Native American etc.

    There has been widespread criticisms against the penal system, the judiciary and even the education system that is beholden to labor unions which are traditionally progressive/liberal movements which disenfranchise minority communities because of various agendas.

    I think you are forgetting your history. The white majority did have a history of discriminatory polices against the African American movement. Some African Americans like Thomas Sowell argue that the progressive agendas meant to dismantle such polices inadvertently contributed to the social problems that the Black community faces today which in turn is the reason why they lag behind certain immigrant communities.

    You are correct when you argue that social problems are an inaccurate indicator of marginalization esp. in the context of majoritarian polices which should decrease said problem within such a community but instead does the opposite. However, you are mistaken when you assume that social problems exist in a vacuum when it comes to marginalized minority communities.

    For instance when you ask if economic depredation leads to crime, why the disproportion when it comes to the Indian community, the answer is simple. I will discount the Orang Asli simply because statistically they do not register on the radar and their existence (unfortunately) is confined to their reservations but we should look at the outlets available to the Bumi population in terms of elevating such depredation and discover the statistic when it comes to the urban/rural divide and the kind of crimes committed.

    Furthermore the argument linking economic depredation and crime/social problems is not only Hindraf’s argument. It is UMNO’s argument, the MIC arguments and the MCA’s argument. Really, Calvin this is not a new argument.

    Why would you find Hindraf’s stand with regards to the NEP hypocritical or laughable? All they are asking for is the same standards applied to the Bumi community be applied to them.

    Affirmative action policies are normally made by minority communities, so why is this stand anathema to you? I can understand if you reject affirmative action policies outright but where is the hypocrisy in Hindraf’s position?

    3, You claim that any affirmative action policy should be based on needs not race. So are you then a Pakatan supporter, since as far as I can tell only they are pushing this line of argument ? Barisan National has not budged from its race based formula.

    And if you are a Pakatan supporter could you direct me to the relevant literature which would show how a needs based policies would be implemented. Furthermore as a Pakatan supporter could you show me on a state level exactly how these “needs” based approach is reflected in State policy.

    4. Do you know how many Malays have received loans from the government but refuse to pay up ? Do you know how many Malays have squandered the business opportunities provided by the government at the expense of other Malays businessmen ?

    Nobody wants a class conflict but as long as there inequalities in the system it is bound to happen. We may consider conservative solutions or progressive ones but if we do not do something, such conflicts will arise.

    As far as I can tell, and you may have conflicting opinion, the Indian community is split between three groups. A petit bourgeoisie class created by the MIC, a middle class with a strong Christian foundation and the disenfranchised mainly Hindu underclass.

    Please do not wag the MIC flag in front of me, it makes me lose my composure.

    5. If it is not the role of the government to help with the Stateless issue then why is it the Najib administration is taking it so seriously.And you are wrong by the way. The issue of citizenship is within the purveiw of the State, legally mandated I might add.

    And if you handled these cases before you would now that it more than just applying for an IC and marriage cert. In addition, you are damn right it is a fucking process to get ‘these stateless people” to get through the process esp. in the context of an apathetic bureaucracy if you are lucky and a racist one if you are not.

    And how dare you say that there is no need for Hindraf to highlight this issue. If they didn’t would this issue even be on the pubic radar ? What the hell was the MIC doing all these years ?

    I know for a fact that the MCA did far more in organizing the Chinese stateless then the wretched MIC. You blame the Indians for being stateless but what the hell do you know. You have no idea of the numbers of hours that translates into weeks of helping Hindraf get these people who you are quick to disparage registered. The unmitigated gall of your bravado.

    6. What the hell does this – ‘But I do have a problem when you defend someone accused of crime just because he’s an Indian even when he/she was proven to be one’ – mean ? I’ll leave you to explain this…..

    Please cite me cases where Hindraf turned criminals into heroes. I tell you what Calvin, let us look at the court registrar and see who defends whom. I have no idea why you get uptight just because Hindraf chooses to help disenfranchised Indians in the CJS, I mean we have parties like he MCA, MIC and UMNO who look after the racial agendas of their communities.

    As usual Calvin you are extremely contradictory.

    Reply
    • 33. Helen Ang  |  March 31, 2013 at 5:51 am

      Thanks Conrad. I’ll put this up along with Calvin’s half of it.

      Reply
    • 34. Calvin Sankaran  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:34 am

      I would respond to these comments in the new thread that Helen’s going to put up. Otherwise we will end up debating in 2 different threads on the same topic.

      Reply
  • 35. MalaysianinNewYork  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

    CS in you #11 you said:

    “Why would the blacks have the same problem when the US does not have affirmative action plan for the white majority, restrictive or discriminatory policies against the blacks? In fact the blacks receive much support and even have favorable policies to further help them?

    “Based on Hindraf’s definition (and MiNY’s “evidence”) such social issues point to marginalization. But no one is accusing the US govt of marginalizing the blacks. In fact the same situation is with the Red Indians in the US and the Aborigines in Australia too.

    “That’s why I am saying having social problems alone does not automatically indicate that the Indians are marginalized in Malaysia. This is even more illogical when you consider the Indians’ economic position in Malaysia compared to the Blacks in the US. The blacks are lagging not just behind the whites but even the recent immigrants such as Chinese, Indians, Vietnamese, etc.”

    Friend, do you know what you are talking about? The affirmative action for the minority in US is not having the same effect as for the majority in Malaysia because the affirmative action is only a minor part of the country as it does not transgress with political desire. The temporary affirmative action not a perpetual one for the DEW in Malaysia is not even in place and your are already forecasting on how it is going to be. Are you the soothsayer?

    Do you know why as you say “The blacks are lagging not just behind the whites but even the recent immigrants such as Chinese, Indians, Vietnamese, etc”. You actually defeat your own argument. Do you have any knowledge of the type of affirmative action that exist in US for your typical hocus pocus. It is nothing more than 10% just for your information.

    Why Chinese, Indians, Vietnamese, etc” can do well in America is because the affirmative action in US is limited not swipe everything under an affirmative action. The rebuilding of WTC is a good example, 8% was awarded to the minority community in your claimed affirmative action to several minority engineering firms. Who benefited is who were in the field of engineering not just cutting a deal like the affirmative actions in Malaysia is practiced with shelf companies and political patronage. I can just create a 2RM company and say I am eligible for affirmative action like how our heroes do in Malaysia.

    In US even if you are a minority, just being a minority does not give you a free ride but you must also establish that you have the expertise, credibility in the field that you endevour.

    The temporary affirmative action advocated by HINDRAF is not because the community is not capable or seen to be that way with political patronage but to utilize it for the betterment of the nation without wasting their talents. CS, you are warped and wrapped up without a logical and humane reasoning.

    Friend, I am in US and deal with them, so I think I have a certain amount of authority to state what I am saying rather than plucking something from thin air without the experience whilst making comparison between US and Malaysia. No offence meant, just sharing the knowledge.

    Reply
  • 36. Rashid Ali (@rashfari)  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:07 am

    a relatively splendid assessment…

    Reply
  • 37. i hate n'sync  |  March 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Dear Helen, MINY & Calvin,

    I want to share my thoughts on Hindraf and its political home. I believe that PR knows that Hindraf cannot turn to BN without destroying every shred of credibility of its struggle. As such, PR believe they don’t have to compromise too much to a community too dispersed to make it count. As opposed to the oil royalty bait PR generously throws to Sarawak, Kelantan, Terengganu and Sabah, it becomes painfully clear how much Hindraf is valued (ala PR manifesto omission).

    The ideal situation is to remain an independent force, which I actually share with CS. However, it has no capital to remain an effective third force, not unless it is willing to strike it out on their own and uniting the community forces to pressure the ruling coalition, BN or PR. We are talking about years in the wilderness.

    Can you thus blame some Hindraf supporters and the Indian community for turning to BN and Najib? It could be negotiation tactics, but it will not enamour the PR leadership and supporters to Hindraf. It might end up with both BN and PR endorsing elements of the Hindraf blueprint in the run up to the elections, but the thorny matter of HRP running is going to be more interesting. Waytha may try to say that Hindraf will stay an NGO and Human Rights Party (HRP) is a separate political group. The truth is that the division is non-existent in reality.

    Some argued that a sense of urgency is needed here for Hindraf to register strong, effective presence. Of course, every poor and destitute Malaysian, whether Indian, Malay, Bumiputera or Chinese, can use some immediate help and attention. If Hindraf stays neutral, it can seek to appeal to compassion of the more fortunate and work with the grassroot like most NGOs. However, Hindraf is not going about it the Mother Theresa way (and I agree), simply because the Indian matter needs communal uplifting, NOT WELFARE. The sob stories are there to serve a different agenda. Hindraf wants stature parity for the Indians, not the right to be the poster child of poverty and deprivation relief. Believe it, Hindraf is asking for money (RM4.5 billion a year) and parliamentary (10) and state (8) seats to be HANDED OVER. Hindraf is asking for 10 acres of land for EVERY displaced estate worker household, plus housing and guaranteed (MUST BE PROVIDED) job security in the Government and/or GLCs. The education solutions are already in place, but Hindraf is asking for UNCONDITIONAL admission into MRSMs for qualified Indian children. Alternatively, they could accept MRSM-like schools newly built for qualified Indian children. Excuse me, but this is all a little too much. We support a lot of the causes highlighted, but some of the solutions proposed is really not quite possible, hence SUARAM and PSM’s qualified support of its bits and parts (cause but not solutions).

    I am not even going to contest the figures bandied about, especially the “facts” presented by Hindraf. MyDaftar was created to look into stateless Indian claims. NRD also clarified that red ICs do not indicate statelessness, but green ICs (temporary residence) do. Red ICs indicate PR status. Contrast this to what MCA did decades ago to help the Chinese community recognize the importance of birth certificates and documentation, providing credible witnesses and support along the way. The lowest life expectancy at birth for Indian males have been a long standing question among Malaysian demographers and the community problems and dependency on public (healthcare) services and facilities are well known. These are all signs and symptoms of a larger problem. Is the problem caused by systematic ethnic discrimination by the government (active or passive neglect)? Look at the similarities of the problems faced by displaced estate workers and Chinese new villagers. These are all problems of rapid urbanisation, modernisation and development. The real discontent comes from the middle class, which Hindraf is not really addressing in its case. How many Indians in Malaysia are displaced estate workers (DEWs)? How about non-Indian estate workers? How about Indians in the mining sector?

    Calvin is being more fair to say that the real issue is displacement of VULNERABLE communities like the Indian estate workers. Most of it is not really exclusively an Indian problem per se. Police brutality, for example, is definitely one of those.

    I will address the perception of Malay problem, Chinese problem and Indian problem in another post because there are Malaysians who think that some communities have issues with the share of public vs. private responsibility. Hence, the argument that the Malays have the entire state machinery behind them for their welfare and uplifting while the others are denied. In this, I am with Calvin entirely – treat the problem, not the race. If the race benefits from the problem being addressed, all well and good.

    “What we need is to have a set of policies that helps poor people regardless of ethnicity”

    – Calvin Sankaran

    This is the position I hold, and this applies to the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians and Malaysians of all ethnic descent. The trick is in finding a mix of policies and programs to cater to the unique communal situations.

    On a point of divergence, I subscribe to the class conflict theory because the evidence of over five decades of elite bargaining system. The rich is so out of touch with the struggles of the poor and the middle class that sometimes you wonder if the government and the opposition is aware of the actual challenges and situation on the ground.

    Reply
    • 38. Calvin Sankaran  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:37 am

      I think we are fully aligned on this issue. Well articulated. Will provide my additional observations in the new thread that Helen’s going to put up.

      Reply
      • 39. Helen Ang  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:39 am

        Okay, it’ll be up in the afternoon. Thank you (as well as Conrad) for your input.

        Reply
  • 40. Conrad  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Reply to i hate n’sync #21

    Dear ihn’s,

    Re: “think some clarification is warranted. I am NOT against affirmative policies. I am against racial quotas….”

    PR has established this line as its middle ground. But the problem with this “needs” based approach in a multiethnic polity, is that eventually quotas racial quotas are part of the equation.

    AI has been extremely slippery in his rhetoric and so far, nobody has question how such a policy would be implemented. No literature, no policy discussions, nothing. Why is that? Hindraf poses this question.

    Re: “Are you saying that Hindraf should embark on the same journey?”

    Not exactly the same journey. There is more than enough on the subject of racial quotas to point out the pitfalls without ditching the whole concept. Mind you I am against affirmative policies notwithstanding policies on a State level, but in discussions such as these I am making an argument for Hindraf’s place on the table.

    Re: “You must realize that anti-discrimination practices and affirmative actions are not contradictory.”

    Actually there are. But they are acceptable contradictions depending on your political viewpoint.

    Re: “In a society which tries to create opportunities for the more vulnerable groups, it does not mean their advancment is separated from their actual performance.”

    This remains to be seen. In fact, I would argue that affirmative action in most parts of the world (as Thomas Sowell has argued) blurs the lines between advancement and achievement. You yourself pointed this out in connection with the Malay community.

    Re: “The race discrimination in Malaysia is linked to other forms of discrimination out there.”

    Perhaps, but race discrimination is part of the System and propagated and argued as policy.

    Re:” I do not believe the private sector should be exempted from anti-discrimination practices, and certainly not under the pretext of maximising profit.”

    Neither do I nor have I advocated such. And if you want Helen to start another thread on this subject, that would be fine. But this thread concerns the discriminatory nature of the public sector.

    Re: “How is alienating the largest demographic group going to maximise profits?”

    The largest demographic group is already alienated and it has not affected profits.

    Re: “You seem to think that Hindraf engaging the public sector is correct because the private sector cannot be responsible.”

    Where did I even imply this? Good grief. Hindraf’s engagement with the State is the very definition of the democratic process.

    Re: “May I ask who owns all those bloody estates that our Indian brethern came from”

    May I remind you of the connection between the State and those bloody estates? May I also remind you that emissaries of the State in the form of the MIC reminded our brethren that it was better for them to live on those bloody estates?

    Re: “Why should again big corporations go free and the problem of displaced estate workers become a solely public concern.”

    Why indeed. Perhaps in positions of influence in the State, a group, which has shown that it understands the nature of the Elites, could affect some tangible change.

    Re: So you condone the merciless milking of the labour force and when the economy chances, let our tax payers figure out how to fix their mess? WHERE DO THE DISPLACED ESTATE WORKERS CAME FROM?

    Where did I condone such an activity? Seriously, please cite a quote of mine. You argued for an affirmative action policy for displaced rural Malays and then were critical of it, why not argue the same for these Indians with those criticism in mind ?.

    WHO CARES WHERE THEY COME FROM, THE ISSUE IS WHERE DO THEY GO.

    And just to add nuance to what seems like an emotional appeal on your part, PSM has done a remarkable job engaging the private sector through the courts system (STATE) in extracting compensation from the private sector, in the issue of displaced workers. Minor victories that they claim can only be rectified by State intervention.

    Re: “Precisely because Hindraf is espousing selective quotas that we need to ask where does the slippery slope ends.”

    The slippery slope never ends so long as one side keeps maintaining that racial quotas are state policy and another claims that a needs based approach is preferable.

    Re: “Re art 153 & Do you see any similar articles for Indians?

    I do not see any quota provisions for Bumiputra’s either. Do you see where I am going with this?

    Re:” You are justifying the use of racial quotas for Indians because according to you, it is reasonable. I have already highlighted a few solutions outlined in the Hindraf blueprint”

    I am justifying the use of racial quotas because there are quotas in place within the system, quotas advocated by the State and groups like PERKASA which you consider noble.

    You may have referred to a few solutions of the Blueprint but on the whole you have been making contradictory statements on a whole range of issues.

    Furthermore, in their discussions with PR, Hindraf made it clear that the Blueprint could be refined. PR has claimed that in principle they agree with the Blueprint. How this is possible since it conflicts with their own supposed ideology, is beyond me.

    Re: ‘Do not conflate affirmative actions for underpriviledged Indians with Hindraf’s blueprint. It will serve to alienate further the legitimate cause of the Indians.”

    Why conflate underprivileged Indians with the “Indian cause”. Hindraf is a proponent of the former. There is no conflation whatever so ever. Hindraf proposes an affirmative action program for underpriviliedeged Indians.

    Re: “You said that “Hindraf demands are reasonable” and I think that that is where I absolutely disagree.”

    Obviously.

    Re: “Conrad, it is easy to make statements like “because our public educations institutions keep churning out graduates that do not perform well in a market forces milieu”. If you don’t like to speak plainly, I can understand”

    How it that not speaking clearly ? Oh you mean you want me to use highly emotive and inaccurate terms like “lousy”.

    Re: “The figures have already shown that your disparaging remarks regarding the public university graduates are inaccurate and I deem it malicious’

    You mean those figures and your comments that actually backed up my description of the market forces and unemployable graduates ?

    Re: “In the days when public universities enrolment are higher than private ones, it is only natural that more unemployment figures will come from them.”

    And this is the only reason? This is the only reason that the numerous countless studies on the state of our education system determine as the reason for high unemployment rate?

    Re: “Private university graduates already came from a position of priviledge that polytechnics and community colleges cannot match in general”

    Why is that? This is a country rich in resources. And do you think that
    this could also be a reason of the high unemployment rate?

    I mean Mahathir just said that the current graduates are ungrateful for all the government has provided. Don’t you think that the politicization of educations institutions and its subsidiaries is something we should be cognizant of?

    Re: You then launched into a mumbling that “ideological discussion where the question of tertiary education is a “right” would be explored”. Keep the Penans in the jungle, anyone?

    Huh, tertiary level education as a right is perhaps one of the most heatedly debated questions everywhere in the world. Last time I checked, primary and secondary school education was free. I have no doubt that many who want to keep the Penans in the jungle but making an emotional appeal to their plight in the context of tertiary education is disingenuous.

    Re: “If the complaint is with the management, say so, but do not throw the baby out with the bath water.”

    I did. I talked about accountability and honest criticism. Where did I advocate scrapping the program altogether?

    Re:” You view Perkasa to be a narrative rooted in communal politics. How is Hindraf any different?”

    I never said it was in a communal context. All I asked you to do is define PERKASA’S objective, so we could judge if this type of communal interest was “noble”.

    Re: “I am not Ibrahim the katak, but I have no doubt many hold the view that this is a Malay land and they are the owners.”

    And do you think this is a noble cause? Is this a position you could defend ? If you are going to equate Hindraf and PERKASA, then there must be some comparison. I do not find any which is why I am comfortable advocating for Hindraf.

    Re: “What can be more noble than defending the sovereignty of your race and religion? Isn’t that what Hindraf is doing too?’

    Actually there is nothing to noble about defending your race and religion? God needs no defenders and a religion cannot be attacked only its followers. Unless your race is under attack, there is no question of defending it.

    But since you want to go down this route, what is PERKASA defending? What rights would be abolished if PR comes into power? How will the Malays be religiously persecuted? How do the Non Malays threaten the sovereignty of the Malays?

    Reply
    • 41. i hate n'sync  |  April 1, 2013 at 12:39 am

      Dear Conrad,

      I think we need to establish some clear definitions and boundaries. Racial quotas and affirmative action works differently. The attempt to blur the two is disingenuous, to say the least. Affirmative actions have been present in all societies which endeavor to assist the less priviledged and groups at risk. You can read about the 1978 Bakke Decision in the US where the Supreme Court ruled that race could only be used as one of the factors in admission to higher education. This view was reaffirmed in both the Grutter and Gratz cases in 2003.

      There is no shortage of people denouncing affirmative actions even, so you certainly belong in the category where no amount of social engineering is palatable to your taste. I am honestly not very surprised, considering you believe the private sector have no social obligations whatsoever.

      If we have the right affirmative action policies in hiring, it need not affect or compromise our promotion exercises. No one should be promoted on any basis other than ability. That is why our Constitution specifically stated that Article 153 is limited by Article 136, which requires that civil servants be treated impartially regardless of race.

      We have a Constitution that recognizes the special position of the Malays and Natives. This is a fact and as such it cannot be called discrimination as its intention was to safeguard both the special position as well as the legitimate interests of other communities.

      “The largest demographic group is already alienated and it has not affected profits.”

      – Conrad

      I take this statement to be the equal of the UMNOputra remarks that they do not need the non-Malay vote because it has little consequences.

      Waytha considers displaced estate workers as internally displaced persons, a term for people having to flee their homes due to armed conflict, violence or natural or human-made disasters. I am imagining the anguish of millions of Chinese who were cattled into New Villages as I write this, so maybe there should be a Chindraf? Oh, the horrible fate of all the Chinese men who were literally sold to Nanyang and exploited! Imagine, nobody gave those mining labourers and rubber tappers any land!

      “WHO CARES WHERE THEY COME FROM, THE ISSUE IS WHERE DO THEY GO.”

      – Conrad

      We all should care how these DEWs came about, and this should determine what could be done to best chart the road ahead and avoid similar problems. The government have not done enough, but this is not the only instance where the government have been inadequate.

      “I do not see any quota provisions for Bumiputra’s either. Do you see where I am going with this?”

      – Conrad

      Kindly enlighten me. You might be the first constitutional expert who claims that Article 153 provide no legitimacy for quotas for Malays and the natives.

      The Hindraf blueprint is so outrageous in parts you wonder if it wasn’t a massive handout to the DEWs. Or, it was just to use DEWs to advance a whole host of Indian interests. You claim there is no conflation and Hindraf is focused only on underpriviledged Indians. So other than the DEWs and “stateless” Indians, what other underpriviledged Indians it has grouped under its banner? Can we have a magnitude of the problem to justify RM4.5 billion a year?

      UNEMPLOYABLE graduates means that our graduate lack even the most basic skills to be in the work force. Many threw the charge at public university graduates hoping it would stick. This is usually accompanied by accusations of “useless” degrees, thus calling into question whether the universities are producing thinkers or workers. This is not a phenomenon unique to Malaysia, but probably this is the only country where unemployability is made synonymous with public university graduates and ethnic Malays.

      Since you can neither comprehend the difference between percentages and absolute number in unemployment statistics when linked to graduates from public and private streams, nor understand the demands for tertiary education, there is little wonder why you said that “This is a country rich in resources” in response to inequality in education. Not unlike the “let them eat cake” comment commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette.

      Of course we should be ever vigilant against the politicization of out educational institutions, but the care against the commodification of education is equally important. You think people who have no business in tertiary education should be kept out of universities, polytechnics and community colleges. This was once the view of the borgeouis who think that secondary education is a luxury for people who are going to end up as chimney sweepers anyway.

      I have pointed out to you more than once that what is noble and what isn’t is subjective. You either didn’t grasp it or pretend to be daft. How can Perkasa be ignoble when the cause it is fighting for is to avoid the fate of the Australian aborigins and American Indians for the Malay and native Malaysians? In the minds of the katak, the Malays are probably under seige already and not just sporadic attack.

      I think in a discussion and argument, and particularly an online exchange, it is more productive to elaborate our points with specific examples, statements and facts or figures where applicable. We can make all kinds of assertions, but it is important that while we disagree, we furbish some form of evidence to back it up. Our argument about homogenization of the civil service as the symptom OR the cause of civil service decline (or bloatedness) is a good example. The hypothesis being tested is clear, you believe homogenization led to the decline, while I argued that that position effectively renders the decline to be related to ethnic attributes of the Malay majority. My belief is that regardless of the homogenization, the decline is inevitable because of the politics of patronage and subservient / conformist doctrine by self-serving politicians. If homogenization is the cause of civil service decline, we should expect that the same would be applicable for all Malay-dominated sector or companies. Just my thought.

      Reply

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