COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG
Indians, kingmakers or victims of institutional racism?
Are Indians in the country only kingmakers during the time of general elections? Whereas the welfare and well-being of the Indian community are hardly given any attention under normal circumstances.
As elections are approached, Indians are suddenly catapulted into importance. They are called kingmakers, especially in constituencies where they might make difference in terms of winning or losing.
In electoral constituencies where there is clear divide between Malay and Chinese voters in terms of their political loyalties, Indian voters, even if they are numerically small, might become politically significant.
I estimated recently that Indian voters have the potential to make difference in terms of the outcome of elections in about 60 over parliamentary and state constituencies. They have the potential to decide the ultimate winners. The majority of Indian voters are supporters of the PH coalition.
Indian membership is about 20 percent in the DAP and about 30 percent in the PKR.
Taken together, PH has more Indian members than the MIC, supposedly the “mother” party of the Indians.
It serves no purpose to call Indian as kingmakers when they only receive due attention from from politicians before the general elections. Indians must be respected and given due recognition all the time as Malaysian citizens, they are no less to Malays or the Chinese. PH might have not done much for Indians because of the absence of federal power. Its 22 month in Putrajaya was not simply enough to address the myriad problems of the community.
Indians have contributed so much to the well-being and development of the country. Indians might be kingmakers on the day they cast their votes, but once the elections are over they become forgotten until the next elections five years later. The biggest and the most fundamental obstacle that stands in the way of the development of the Indian community is the lack of level playing field.
The lack of level playing field is rooted in the institutionalised racist system engendered by none other than Umno over the last few decades. Dishing out few millions now and then by th government dominated by Malay supremacists is not going to assist the Indian community.
Such a practice will only merely reinforce their dependency on the government. While Indians look forward for the victory of the PH in the coming elections, they want at the same time the coalition to dismantle the insidious nature of institutionalised racism in the country.
Being kingmakers during the elections might not be beneficial to the Indians in the long run.