When Malaysians of Indian ancestry abandoned the MIC, they did so because they have grown to appreciate the need for a fundamental change in the way the country is governed. And unlike what the MIC and its henchmen like to reiterate – time and again – it is not because Indians are merely upset about the destruction of Hindu temples or the fact that the Hindraf 5 are being unduly subjected to the draconian ISA.
Many in the MIC would have the public believe that releasing the Hindraf 5 would be good for luring back Indian voters to the MIC and BN. This is precisely the crux of the problem with the MIC: it utterly lacks any grasp and appreciation of the new reality of what Malaysians - including those who used to, without blinking an eyelid, gravitate to the MIC - have undergone.
The MIC is, not unlike Umno and the other BN component parties, deeply mired in a rhetoric and mind-set that has become defunct and de-legitimised. Samy Vellu and his cadre of disciples are intent on reviving the party by reinvigorating the politics of communalism. Hence, their mantra is essentially: ‘we’ll get you the goods.’
Of course the essential point here is that Malaysian voters have – and are - shifting away from the false axiom that only a race-based party like the MIC will have any stake in protecting their well-being and interests. Indeed, if we are to adopt this race-based criteria, Indians have seen exactly what the MIC’s communal politics – and I don’t mean just in the last few years - has done for them. Indians must – and do – recognise that in the span of over half a century, the MIC’s communal politics has delivered them to the brink of catastrophe. The MIC’s record is nothing short of having overseen the precipitous decline of the status of Indians in the country; the very constituency it purports to represent and whose causes it has allegedly championed. In my view, this signals either a serious degree of incompetence and ineptness that pervades the MIC or it is symptomatic of an utter contempt for the people it seeks to speak for. Either way, it spells failure. Nothing less.
Not surprisingly, once alternative voices from the Indian community began to emerge, the MIC and its machinery began to obsess more about its credibility. And to repair its image, the MIC want to give us more of the same: race-based communal politics.
For Indians, Hindraf represents the quest to recover the dignity of Malaysians who are of Indian ancestry. Not to compete with the MIC as another race-based instrument for going after the crumbs dropping off from Umno’s feasting trough.
We Indians are joining our Malay and Chinese brethren in a commitment to a democratic Malaysia where our rights as citizens are not bargained, and we’re not being further hoodwinked into what the MIC has made us into: third class citizens who supposedly only respond to crumbs disguised as treats to appease us.
Samy may have such Pavlovian like conditioned creatures in the MIC who will jump up and salivate each time he gets a few crumbs from Umno to throw at them.
But the MIC will never understand or grasp what the people behind Hindraf, or for that matter the Anwar led coalition, are saying: that our dignity is not for sale.