By P. Waytha Moorthy
Historic opportunities arise when certain defining events converge for a while in history. The minority Indian Malaysians have such a historic opportunity on their hands right now. It behooves all Indian Malaysians to be able to perceive this window of opportunity, so the right decisions can be made and the historical circumstances utilized to the best advantage for all of future.
The Dacing (the Pakatan/Barisan Dacing) hangs in delicate balance one day before the elections. When it hangs in balance like this, even small additions to this side or that will determine the tilt of the Dacing. This is the historic opportunity that I speak of. The Indian minority, small as it is, can determine which way the Dacing will tilt.
We perceived this opportunity some months ago within Hindraf. We decided that we should use the opportunity to do a quid pro quo (an exchange) with the political parties on the two sides of the Dacing in order to gain for the Indians what should have been theirs rightfully, but never was. We prepared the 5-year blueprint — a plan for the upliftment of the Indians in the country, for the political parties on both sides to consider supporting in exchange for electoral support from Hindraf.
The proposals in the blueprint take into account the historical antecedents and the effects of government policy neglect that had led to the marginalization of the Indians in the country. The proposals comprise a comprehensive and permanent set of solutions for the chronic socio-economic woes of the Indians in the country. The proposals when implemented will have a significant synergistic effect on the Indian community as a whole. The blueprint contains a very powerful plan for the poor and marginalized Indians in Malaysia.
The blueprint encompasses two basic themes. The first is a correction of past wrongs and the second is an ongoing and equitable share of the common wealth of the nation.
The plans for doubling the mean monthly incomes of those at the lowest strata coupled with subsidized housing, improved educational, employment and business opportunities when they come together will have a significant synergistic effect. This is absolutely what is needed — a comprehensive and permanent solution and in a short period of time. In addition Hindraf decided that a condition for the endorsements of the blueprint plans by the political parties is that it should have legal force and be binding .
For this historic endeavour we left our emotions aside and embarked on the negotiations in a pragmatic manner.
We spent the months from September 2012 till April 2013 with the Pakatan coalition trying to negotiate a deal. But they obviously had no desire to sign up to a binding agreement to uplift the status of the Indian poor in the country.
Their political ideology seems to be more geared to the needs of the business community and to a trickle-down approach to all other problems faced by the people.
This was in sharp contrast to the theme of a comprehensive and targeted set of solutions for a historically neglected community, contained in our blueprint. Pakatan did not want to sign up to the blueprint in spite of our willingness to take many steps back to facilitate an agreement.
I beseech all Indians in the country to think about this key point. Why did Pakatan not want to endorse the blueprint that addressed a longstanding need of the Indian community?
If this is their behaviour before the elections, what do you think it will be afterwards?
On the other hand we started the dialogue with BN in late March and found a completely different attitude. There was a political will to take us up on our suggestions for a comprehensive and permanent set of targeted solutions for the problems of the Indian poor. There was recognition of the role of past government policy failures and there was a willingness to try new solutions. It looked good.
We had two options at this stage. One was to go ahead with Pakatan in spite of their repeated rejections, just to punish BN. The other was to sign up here and now with BN to a programme which when implemented will give us most of what we are looking for directly and for what we went out to the streets of KL in November 2007.
Any talk of a secret pact (touted by the Pakatan stalwarts) between Hindraf and BN serves only to deflect the emptiness in what Pakatan has to offer the Indian community. What if we had wrapped it all up in January or in February with Pakatan. We only signed up with BN in April.
All talk of secret pacts, selling out, betraying are all nothing more than shameless and hollow tactics of Pakatan to try and deflect the attention away from their denial of support to the Indian community.
In addition their plan is to kill the messenger when they just could not kill the message.
Pakatan is trying now very hard to demonise us, to disrupt our ceramahs, they steal our mobile campaign vehicle, they beat up our activists, intimidate our supporters, spread all kind of lies and innuendos.
If this is the type of Hitlerite Blackshirt tactics they choose to employ, all Malaysians must think, “Is this the New Dawn that you seek that Pakatan will bring to the country with their “Ubah”?”
When there is a political party that does not want to protect or promote your interests, what good does it do for you to give them your vote? The one weapon you have to get for you what you need is your vote?
BN has conceded that they had made mistakes in the past and are willing to look forward to new relations with the Indian community and to put in place new policies for their welfare. Instead of continuing to dwell on all the errors of the past, we have decided to look to the future and work on mending the relationships with BN and to start the work of correcting the serious socio-economic problems of the Indian community. This, as I said at the outset is a historic opportunity – we do not know what the future holds, what we can certainly know is what we have now.
This is my last message to the Malaysian public before the elections tomorrow and I make this loud clarion call to the Indians in Malaysia to absolutely reject Pakatan and to vote boldly for Barisan Nasional. You will be doing the right thing.
P. Waytha Moorthy