Friday, March 20, 2009

The MIC Chendol and Bukit Selambau

The MIC is clearly in the battle for its survival and there is little doubt that Bukit Selambau is going to be a major bell-weather as to whether the break in the dam can be contained or if the break has just become too big and irreversible – at least so long as Samy Vellu’s stranglehold on the party remains.

We’re now witnessing Samy Vellu make a big push in Bukit Selambau in trying to salvage some shred of credibility for the MIC by trying to stem the momentum of the downward spiral. But of course this should have been rather obvious to you. I will say, however, that this obvious push by the MIC is foremost and simply an act of desperation - and nothing else.        

After one year of supposed re-branding, we find a party fraught and chronically stymied with allegation of cronyism, corruption, and scandal. A party unable to articulate a vision of anything, and a party fundamentally obsessed with communally-based petty politics which simply give us more of the same. In other words, it’s the same old bad chendol – without even a new bowl to serve it in. Now that’s pathetic, when an organisation becomes so inept and incompetent that it cannot even make cosmetic changes to what it serves its customers.

And let’s be clear about what is being served – once again – by this so-called spokesperson for the Indians. What exactly have been the reforms and remedies put in place to correct for the grievances of the voters from the last general elections? What exactly has been accomplished?

All signs point to a desperate MIC which knows that if it cannot re-claim the Bukit Selambau seat, then the political blow to the MIC may well be fatal. This is, after all, precisely the kind of demographic that formed the backbone of the MIC for decades. It’s understandable – though nonetheless still surprising - when a more urbane Indian constituency opts to abandon the MIC in lieu of more progressive and enlightened political choices. With all due respect, the Indian demographic in Bukit Selambau is a far cry from the profile of the more urbane Indian voter. And we all know quite well that the MIC has historically done better with the former rather than the latter.

Therefore the stakes in Bukit Selambau for the MIC are rather obvious, which then also means that one should expect to see some very ‘creative’ methods deployed to lure the Indian vote. While the non-urbane Indian voter has, like other voters, become increasingly frustrated with Samy Vellu’s MIC, this contest in Bukit Selambau will surely have much great significance for the MIC – perhaps even greater than the one a year ago in Sungai Siput.

What better way to echo the message that the Sungai Siput voters sent to Samy Vellu and the MIC than to give this party another resounding defeat by refusing to drink the chendol they’re serving.         

G. Krishnan