Monday, April 19, 2010

Some questions from our Penang Friends and HIndraf/HRP's responses

Why did BN field an Indian Candidate in Hulu Selangor despite protests from UMNO, if Indians are irrelevant to BN?
The Indians votes are the only thing relevant of the Indians to UMNO. This is UMNO’s basic political axiom.

Always bear this in mind.
By Naragan
UMNO uses an Indian face to win this election and by the way this also helps them perpetuate the illusion of UMNO including the Indians, that’s all. Always remember - a vote for MIC is not a vote for MIC per se, or for you or for me. It is only a vote for UMNO – always has been and always will be. They hold all the levers of power – all.

In Hulu Selangor, if UMNO did not field an MIC candidate, UMNO will surely lose that seat. Consider the following analysis from Subramaniam Bharathy:
The electorate was 63,600 strong in 2008 March. The number of people who voted on that fateful day was 47,600 (75% turnout). Let us assume for the purpose of this analysis that the 25% who did not vote on that day were evenly spread between the Malays, Chinese and Indians. There were some 1500 spoilt votes. Given that the BN candidate was Indian, it is likely that most who spoilt their votes that day would have been Malay voters, because of their indifference. A large number of Chinese and Indian voters were all charged up to vote out UMNO in March 2008.

If 53% (based on the ethnic breakout) of the voters on that day were Malay, and 1500 Malay votes were spoilt, it would mean 23,700 Malay voters voted that day. 13,300 Chinese and 9,000 Indians also voted that day (all based on the ethnic breakdown). G. Palanivel of MIC received 22,979 votes. His opponent, the late Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad of PKR, got 23,177 votes. Almost even.

It would be reasonable to say that at least 60-70% of the votes of the Indians went to PKR or 5,500 to 6,300 Indian votes went to PKR. And it would also be reasonable to say that at least 70-80% of the Chinese votes went to PKR or 9,200 to 10,300 votes. So the non Malay votes that went to PKR were from 14,700 to 16,600.

That means PKR only received 6,500 to 8,400 Malay votes. Of the votes PKR received that day only 28% to 36% were Malays votes. 40-45% of the votes they received were Chinese votes and 20 – 32% of the votes were Indian votes.

That also means about 2700 to 4500 Indian votes would have gone to Palanivel or to UMNO (BN ouside, UMNO inside) on that day. Now, just think how many of these Indian votes UMNO would have been able to capture if the candidate was non-Indian, everything else remaining the same. Especially given the anti establishment feeling among the Indians. Cannot put a number to it, but that number would be surely less – don’t you think? The margin of victory finally was only just over a hundred. If the candidate had been non Indian then the result would have been a much larger margin of loss for UMNO. That’s why they gave the seat to an Indian candidate. Not because they think for a moment that the Indians are relevant.

Let us not continue to fall into their time worn trap. Use an Indian face, create and perpetuate an illusion of inclusiveness and hang on to UMNO power — Ketuanan Melayu. 52 years will become a 100 years like this – the future will just be a worse replication of the present.

For our relevance we have to look elsewhere, not the ethnicity of the candidates they put up. For instance in PR they have many Indian representatives. Does it mean that the Indians have that much more representation? PR calls themselves multiracial. The truth of the matter is, the Malays have conceded some of their policy power to the Chinese. Both of them have conceded nothing yet to the Indians. Indians have no influence at the level of policy. Let me quote from Iraiputtiran’s recent blog in the Human Rights Party website to illustrate my point:

"Nine Chinese schools in Perak were allocated 1,000acres of land. Tamil schools - one in Bagan Jermal of 0.9 ha,

- 349 planned villages and 134 new villages with 110,000 and 102,000 titles respectively are to be given out irrespective of the National Land Council’s order, involving almost all Malay and Chinese owners and land recipients excluding Indians,

- Freehold titles were given for just RM63 to 110,000 planned villages (almost 99% Malay) and 102,000 (estimated to almost 99% Chinese) Chinese new villagers in Perak, but not to Indians in Buah Pala or any other Indian settlement,

- DAP made such a big fuss over a pig abattoir in Kedah but not Buah Pala,

- A Teoh Beng Hock Trust Fund was created and “Justice for Teoh Beng Hock” campaign begun on DAP website and not for the so many other Indians killed by the Malaysian police,

- There a Ceramah Perdana over the Malay Chamber of Commerce marginalisation of Malays charges at Tapak Pesta for the Malays but none over the Kampung Buah Pala Issue

In summary, therefore, our relevance is not to be measured by the colour of skin of the representative but by the degree of influence we have over Government policy. Look at all that above and you tell me that the Indian representatives made a difference.

And by no means are we surrendering to irrelevance, just because we ignore one by-election.

The struggle of Hindraf and HRP is exactly about creating that relevance, but with a clear focus on relevance that matters – relevance in policy in areas that affect Indians in the country. Nothing short of that.

But we have to be realistic about our starting point. And it is pointless showing strength in places where it is not going to have any real impact and then deluding ourselves that we are relevant. Today, given the different political arrangements we have in the country, we are not relevant. That is the unfortunate truth.

Don’t the EC have absolute discretion to designate the constituency for the voters in a State despite their change of address by the voters within a State?

Wouldn’t BN take preemptive measures using the EC to spilt the Indian Voters in the State using the jurisdictional powers of EC?
The EC decides only the constituency delineation. Your address determines your constituency. So it is where you declare your address to be. You go to the JPN and register your hometown address then go to the Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya in the 36th floor of Komtar (or at SPR office wherever else in Malaysia) and give them your latest address. They will capture it in the system. That becomes your voting address. EC can only try to delay the change of the address but they will be violating their charter if they do not reflect your voting address accurately. They say it can take up to 5 months before they will reflect the change, I do not see why, but that is what they say. You can check your voting address by going to and go to “Ruangan Informasi” and click on “Semak daftar Pemilih” and then key in your IC number. You can see your voting constituency.

All this should reference the registered address only. If you change your address to your hometown address then you vote from your hometown. Lim Guan Eng is from where? Melaka or Penang? His father is from where? Melaka or Ipoh? Anwar Ibrahim’s is from where, KL or Permatang Pauh? Najib is from where, KL or Pekan. There are lots of people doing sinilar things.

I live now in Gelugor. Let us say I grew up in Prai and I still have relatives in Prai. Which is my hometown? I decide. Anything wrong with that? Just like that. We have to use the rules to our advantage, just as UMNO has done. For example, Putrajaya which is largely a Bumi constituency has only 5000+ voters, but they have one MP. On the other hand Kapar in Selangor has 112,000+ voters and they also have one MP. Kapar however is a non-Malay majority constituency. UMNO has done a lot of this kind of self motivated delineation – we call it gerrymandering. If they can do that and that is all within the rules, should we just keep quiet and let ourselves be had? Let us also do what the rules allow and create our survival strategy.

Even if the courts are going to act on address change issues, there are too many obstacles. It won’t be easy. You have 90 days before you need to finally reflect your address to be that of where you actually stay. In other words, you can be at an address other than where you actually live for more than 90 days and you violate nothing. Besides, you could have moved to another address because you are anticipating to move your job there soon, you are preparing for it. Or you have decided to move there because your children can go to a better school there – any number of legitimate reasons.

Besides, if they want to prosecute they will have to prosecute some bigwigs on both sides of the divide as well, as I showed earlier. So, it is just a scare tactic to prevent us, the common man, from getting as clever as UMNO.

I hope that addresses your concerns. And now, join us in our effort to make ourselves relevant using our own best resources.

Thank you.