Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Position Should the Indian Voters of Bagan Pinang Take?

A thought provoking article by Subramaniam Bharathy:

What Position Should the Indian Voters of Bagan Pinang Take?

Indians have not got what they wanted with their votes after the last GE. This is the Post 12th GE theme.

The marginalization continues apace in the 4 states of PR. Umno continues with its racial antics. The many faceted grievances of the Indians in the country see no light of day. In Penang we have got this lying DAP Chief Minister and a bunch of Indian Mandores in DAP and a string of broken promises by DAP. DAP washed its hands off a key Indian issue at Kampung Buah Pala. In PKR we have a bunch of wimps for MPs and Aduns. They are nowhere to be seen on Indian issues. In Perak and Selangor there has been significant land allocations to the Chinese by the Pakatan Rakyat Government but none whatsoever for the Indians. Temple demolitions go on in all the PR States. UMNO’s Hishamuddin the Home Minister says it is alright to slight the Indians in the country by desecrating their religious symbol. The Federal Government has done nothing on the Indian issues using the PR Government in the 4 States as their cover to continue to marginalize the Indians with their unchanging racist policies.

Why does all of this continue. PKR, DAP, MIC, UMNO, just want our votes – that’s all. They only return crumbs, like some minor funding for the schools or some land for the schools or some such token after the elections because they have to be seen to be doing something. They all reckon we are not significant enough to matter for more than that. That’s it they reckon we are not significant enough to matter for more than that.

We need a holistic approach to the Indian issues in the country. This is our demand. Then maybe we can consider other things, but bread and butter issues first. Look at the crime rates, the suicide rates, the alcoholism , the drug abuse situation, the unemployment rate, the limited opportunities for Indian businessmen and the drying up of educational and training opportunities in government institutes and public universities for Indians. The BN government and the PR governments are not taking us seriously enough to approach the problem in this holistic way. The 18 point memorandum of Hindraf clearly lays out what the Indians seek. They are not doing anything about the issues as we have raised them.

The only option we have now is to hit them where it will hurt. We must use our votes wisely to get them to reckon that we are significant enough in their political calculations.

As a test of this hypothesis we need to use our votes to make a difference for us in Bagan Pinang. Whatever the outcome in Bagan Pinang, it is not going to change anything significant. One more or less seat in the Negri DUN does not change anything for PR or BN. But it can help us make a point to whoever is interested in our vote that our votes come with a price.

There are 14192 voters. Let us assume an 80% turnout. That will make it 11,345 voters on voting day. Of this 66% are Malay voters –about 7500, 19.9% Indian voters –about 2270 voters, 10.5% Chinese voters – about 1135 voters. In the last election UMNO candidate got 6430 votes and won with a majority of 2,333 votes. In that election the PAS candidate won 39% of the votes or 4097 votes.This was at the height of the anti BN mood among the Indians and Chinese. That already stacks the cards against PR for this by-elections.

We must get all the Indian voters to abstain from voting this time in Bagan Pinang. Both BN and PR is no good for us up to now. Let PR suffer as a result of this. We will make a difference with our votes. If PR continues to ignore the significance of this point let them pay a price. If PR thinks it is important that they need the Indian votes, then show it in action and policy don’t just talk and make empty promises. We prefer you to UMNO, but only if you act and reflect it in your government policies. We can make you the difference – both ways.

We must make this point. This is our only way to make our point. This is our opportunity.

Subramaniam Bharathy