26 September 2016
I would like to refer to the recent comment by Sara Petra that Indian Malaysians should turn to Gerakan if they felt MIC had failed them. Her comment shows that the young girl is naive and immature when she talks about politics. While I don’t undermine the young people who like to get involved in political debates, I also would like to point out that they should carefully analyse their points before they making any biased comments.
Clearly Sara Petra is clueless about the Indian Malaysian political struggle in Malaysia. She is making conclusions from the Facebook posts that she reads online, I believe. Sara Petra thinks, by turning their support to Gerakan, Indian Malaysians will benefit greatly.
The Indian Malaysians’ problems are not as simple as Sara Petra thinks. While she seems to concede that MIC failed Indians in Malaysia, she seems to favour the Gerakan as ‘Indians’ saviours’ in Malaysia, without realising that it was the Gerakan-led government in Penang that marginalised Indian Malaysians greatly.
Sara Petra clearly didn’t read the history of Gerakan before making such a comment. Gerakan was a multiracial party just in name, since the beginning. However, to get the support of non-Chinese voters, the Penang-based party had given some space for non-Chinese in the party. Penang was Gerakan’s stronghold, in which it first formed the state government in 1969.
Since the late Lim Chong Eu succeeded in neutralising attempts to overthrow him, the party became more Chinese-centred and did not give any space for the non-Chinese members to contest in general elections. Look at Gerakan’s record on how many Indian Malaysians were given seat to contest in elections since 1978. The fact is, in Gerakan, not even a single Indian Malaysian was given a seat to contest in elections between 1978 and 2008.
Gerakan never spoke for Indian Malaysians throughout the party’s history. Indians in Malaysia largely came from rubber estates. Demand for monthly wages for the rubber tappers were alive even 15 years back. In 1999, when the issue was raised in Parliament, then-Gerakan president Lim Keng Yaik made a disparaging remark in Parliament, which angered Indian Malaysians.
Although Gerakan claimed to be a ‘Malaysian party’, it didn’t represent Malaysians in the past 40 years. Be it Lim Chong Eu, Lim Keng Yaik or Koh Tsu Koon, the Gerakan leadership never cared or bothered about the Indian Malaysian community, or even care about their own Indian Malaysian members.
That’s the reason for the protest by a group of Indian Malaysian Gerakan members in 2004. They campaigned for Indian Malaysian voters to vote against Keng Yaik in the Beruas constituency. In 2008, the then-Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon referred the party’s then-Youth vice-chief S Paranjothy to the disciplinary committee for speaking up for the Indian Malaysian community. He ignored the calls within the party to allocate some seats for Indian Malaysian members.
He even said that there was no capable Indian Malaysian leader in the party to be given a seat, despite tens of Indian Malaysian professionals in the party. This is the real face of Gerakan, which the young Sara Petra wouldn’t know.
As Sara Petra observed, Indian Malaysians no longer see MIC as a trustworthy political entity. But her conviction that the minority community can rely ‘multi racial’ Gerakan instead is also wrong. Indian Malaysians in Malaysia are no longer the ‘fixed deposit’ of BN, as the community voters used to be before 2008.
Indian Malaysians don’t see MIC and BN separately; for them the regime has betrayed the community despite the contribution of the community to the country and that will be reflected on ballot papers for years to come.
SATEES MUNIANDY is a councilllor in the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP).
25 September 2016
Speak to Gerakan if MIC has failed you, Sara says
Sara Petra says that Gerakan is far more multiracial in makeup that DAP will ever be.
PETALING JAYA: If Indians in the country believe that MIC has failed them, they should throw their support behind Gerakan, instead of continuing to back the Opposition that has failed them as well since 2008.
The daughter of blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, gave this piece of advice when responding to a comment by Malaysian Suresh Mohan, who said Indians were a largely ignored race today.
Sara pointed out that prior to 2008, the majority of Indians voted for the government. She said the Hindraf movement however changed all that when they made “certain promises” to this community and worked with the Opposition to achieve it. “So the Indians also voted Opposition.”
While refusing to be drawn into the debate that the MIC had failed the Indians, Sara did point out that the Opposition too had failed the Indians and that they would likely fare better with Gerakan instead.
“If your concern is the future of the Indians, and if you really believe that MIC cannot guarantee the future of the Indians, you can always turn to other parties, for example Gerakan.
“You gave the Opposition eight years since 2008. Have the Indians fared better under the Opposition? If the answer is no, and if you are still uncertain about MIC, then speak to Gerakan.”
She said that by comparison, Gerakan was far more multiracial in makeup that DAP could ever be.
She also said that since Gerakan was already a component party of the ruling government, this would work in the favour of Indians.
“You say no one talks about the Indians. Well, today I talk about the Indians.