Quo Vadis (Where are you going?) non-Malays
Indian voters absenteeism, low turnout in supporting the PH-BN coalition and general unhappiness with the coalition were some of marked features of the recent state elections.
Indian slide was particularly conspicuous in Selangor, Negri Senbilan and Penang. Electoral analyses of ethnic voting behaviour by Bridget Welsh and Ong Kian Ming make explain the reasons for the slide in the Indian support for PH-BN combine.
Dropping me and others, the racist statement attributed to the PKR elected candidate in Selangor and the rude behaviour of Prime Minister Anwar towards an 18-year old Indian didn’t help the situation.
These factors merely confirmed the suspicions that unity government under Anwar was all about talk and high drama. It is pointless for Anwar to repeat the mantra that Malays, Chinese, Chinese, Kadazans and Dayaks are children but in reality his regime under the weight of the PN green wave is slowly but surely gravitating towards the right.
The above cited reasons could be the aggravating factors behind Indian disillusionment with PH-BN in general and the DAP and PKR in particular.
As far as ordinary Indians are concerned, they are not effectively represented in the PKR or the DAP. These political parties seem to have a preference for Indian candidates who are not critical of the leadership, perform the yes-men role and those who refuse to take up the tragic and sad social, economic and cultural conditions of existence.
Nothing has really changed for Indians under the unity government, there is fear that the community will be abandoned lock stock and barrel in the coming years.
Anwar might be well meaning, but he is structurally incapable of doing things for the poor and neglected Indians.
Under the ever pressing threat of political Islam, there is tendency to move towards the right, any benefits accruing to Indians or non-Malays might further fuel the Malay resentment towards the Anwar government.
Anwar is between the devil and the deep blue sea.
The DAP won all the state seats contested but lost one. It might be the party that has the block support of Chinese and Indians. However, despite its hold on the non-Malays due to the fear of conservative Islam, the party is not in the position to make demands on the unity government.
As somebody said recently, the DAP leadership is caught in the entrapment of not spooking the conservative Malays.
Ironically, the DAP might be the bastion of non-Malay particularly Chinese support, but its inability to deliver is in question. Even with this solid base, the DAP can translate the electoral strength to fight against the injustices committed against non-Malays in the country.
Gone are the days of “Malaysian Malaysia”. The party’s uncritical embrace of Umno has not gone well with the rank and file; the same thing is true with the rank and file Umno members who prefer not to support the PH-BN because of the DAP.
Old hostility and enmity seems to prevail in the PH-BN combine.
The DAP is caught in situation that it cannot do much for the non-Malays in the country. It has the difficulty job of ensuring the survival of the Madani government.
Addressing the needs of its grassroots might not be the present priority of the DAP. I wonder whether the DAP maintain its present electoral strength in the near future.
The PH-BN coalition might appreciate the contribution of the DAP; it remains the fixed deposit of the unity government. But the unity government must go beyond the DAP is getting the support of the Malays. Right now with DAP and Umno on its side, the situation might be difficult.
The question is: whether the Anwar government can last the full term without pandering to the Malay right? In this respect, depending on the DAP and Umno might not be not be helpful to Anwar.
Anyway, the political situation in the country is far from being stabilised, it is in a constant flux. What happens eventually, might not be in the interest of the unity government. Let us wait and see.