P. Waytha Moorthy, who is diabetic, has begun fainting from his prolonged hunger strike.
Hindraf released a press statement today to clarify his deteriorating condition as well as to add: “When they [minorities] speak up, they will be beaten down as being sectarian or racist.”
“Beaten down as being sectarian or racist”
The Star pays a dividend of RM60 million a year to its owner the MCA, Dr Chua Soi Lek was quoted as saying in an interview (18 Feb 2009).
So then, let’s examine the nature of the beast.
Today is the 20th day of Waytha’s fast which started on March 10 — duration marked in the yellow boxes on the calendar above.
The Star did not give the hunger strike any coverage until Waytha was invited to meet the Prime Minister on March 25. On the following day, The Star Online did a short follow-up to its story with regard to the Putrajaya meeting.
Outside of the PM angle (see screenshot below), there was no interest at all shown by The Star. Google result on Past Month in ‘thestar.com.my’.
Hindraf Indians to refrain from voting
Below are some excerpts from the last article to be penned by Waytha for his ‘Hunger Strike’ writings. He’s now too weak to continue with the series.
Two days ago (March 27), Waytha wrote:
“If they [BN and Pakatan] remain silent or ambivalent [on the blueprint], then we in Hindraf will project it to mean they do not support a program of comprehensive and permanent correction to the socio-economic problems of the Indian poor – that they do not care about the Indian poor. This therefore will form the central message from us to our base.”
The Hindraf chairman also added they would encourage poor Indians to abstain from voting either BN or Pakatan:
“We will make absolutely sure that this [i.e. “it does not really make any difference who wins in these elections”] is the message that the Indian poor will hear.”
According to him, the logic of the strategic abstention is simple — as neither side of the political divide cares, therefore neither side deserves the votes of the Hindraf constituency.
MCA most affected by Hindraf boycott
Waytha believes that this decision will affect the marginal seats in Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Johor. These are the seats with an electorate of more than 10 percent Indian.
Seven out of the 15 Parliament seats currently held by the MCA have an Indian electorate surpassing 10 percent.
While the Hindraf abstention manoeuvre is not likely to have much of an impact on most of the Malay-majority Umno seats located in the rural areas, it will nonetheless affect the mixed seats along the West Coast where MCA has been depending on the Malay and Indian voters to pull through.
In my considered opinion, Hindraf will carry out its threat to call upon poor Indians to refrain from voting.
The Jerusubang Star
The Hindraf press release today said that both BN and Pakatan leaders appeared not to be much concerned about Waytha’s worsening condition.
Hindraf also believed that this indifference currently shown their fasting chairman is similarly extended to their view of the Indian poor.
We’re already familiar with the Pakatan behaviour, so let’s look at the BN side.
I do not see that MCA has anytime in the past five years made any great effort to woo the poor Indian voters. It is a case of ‘Yang dikejar (undi Kristian) tak dapat, yang dikendong (undi orang India Hindu) tercicir’.
Yet even as recently as last week, the window of opportunity was still open for the MCA to show some niceness. Umno president Najib did make an overture after all. But no, the MCA failed to proffer any humane gesture.
Instead the highly selective coverage accorded by MCA cash cow The Star spoke volumes. It is evident that the paper’s reporters do not have a good rapport with Hindraf, unlike their chummy cosiness with the DAP 2.0 evangelist politicians.
Who will vote MCA?
Following all those efforts to promote DAP 2.0 that was diligently carried out by The Star, the MCA has now lost the Chinese vote even more substantially. (The opposition’s 64% Chinese support in 2008 has increased to 85%.)
One black eye for the MCA.
The party has not managed to corner the Christian middle-class Indian, urban professional vote either. (Of course not!) The second sock to the eye for the MCA.
And on top of alienating the Malay vote, MCA should expect to lose the Indian working class vote too, due to the anticipated Hindraf boycott.
So who’s left to vote for the MCA?