Of Hindraf, HRP and the so-called 3rd Force


The Free Malaysia Today reported that BN has “upstaged Pakatan Rakyat in wooing the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)” (read here).  It is said that there is also a movement towards forming a so-called 3rd Force after the BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) together with the Human Rights Party (HRP) and other civil rights movement particularly from Sabah and Sarawak.

All this makes for interesting political reading but is it feasible and plausible to embark on such a major feat?  What are the merits and how will the average Malaysian voter view this new political play?

Firstly, let us not forget that the original cause for Hindraf was to ensure that the rights for Indians, especially the less fortunate, be protected and their lives improved.  Maybe Hindraf is a wrong name to choose since not all Indians are Hindus and albeit strange to use a religious word to represent this group of Malaysians.  Perhaps it is in wrath against the MIC that the focus is from Indians to Hindus but that seems very myopic in attempting to raise a name for a Human Rights group.  We’ll leave it to the organizers to sort that out and hope they do focus on the plights of the Indians in Malaysia as a whole, not forgetting that they had come from all over India in the past.

Secondly, the legitimacy to focus on the plights of Indians as a whole is very real.  It has been said that although there are many successful Indians in the community, there are even more less fortunate souls in society and they are usually the least fortunate of the lot.  Hence, the argument that as they are not taken care of by the Government of the Day, many of the youth take on to any means they know how to survive and such means are usually against the norm and the law.  As such, groups like Hindraf has hit it right on the nail to elevate the plight to all Malaysians but as Hindraf has progressed to this point of courting BN and PR, it appears that the cause has yet to see any light.  Hindraf has been all talk and outlawed by the BN Government but yet Hindraf is responding to the BN overtures today having forgotten that the BN was the one who found them threatening in the first place.  Certainly, politics make strange bedfellows as the saying goes.

Thirdly, the various strains of Hindraf appearing on the scene makes the case all the more confusing.  Is it not enough for a cause to be all uniting?  Is it necessary for individual political aspirations be met and hence the multiple groups fighting for the Indians mushrooming?  The HRP is set up as a political entity while the argument that Hindraf is non-political and apolitical, which is another word for non-committal until PR or BN agrees to their terms then they will be political to that party.  Perhaps too many personalities are in play and may have forgotten the original cause to a personal agenda.

Fourthly, FMT reported in that same article that “HRP has now embarked on a “Malaysian Indian political empowerment strategy” to create 15 parliamentary and 38 state Indian-majority seats across the country to strengthen the community’s hand in bargaining for power and representation.”  The so-called 3rd force is an attempt to be heard politically beyond what the MIC has been able to do and also take the position of a possible “King Maker” in the event that neither the BN or PR has a simple majority, as in the case of the recent British polls which saw the Liberal Democrats play that King Maker role.  This aspiration is to be applauded but perhaps nobody has realized how difficult it is to form such an entity.

Let us not be fooled as to how difficult it was for PKR in GE12 to field candidates and the recent Anwar admission that they had fielded “Umno” candidates (read here) instead makes everybody shudder at any new political entity trying to get into the Malaysian political game.  It is foolhardy for any group to attempt such a feat and it will most certainly dilute and washout the original intent of promoting the lives of unfortunate Malaysians of Indian descent.  Politics has a strange way of diverting the original cause to a personal cause along the way.  There’s ego, money (read lots of it) and power at stake and HRP and the likes should not be lulled into becoming a political champion taking over from where MIC has left off and forgetting the broader spectrum of the community.

Lastly, what will Malaysians think at this point going into GE13 in the near future.  Will everybody be cheered up with another option to put a check (X) into the ballot?  In fact, our Malaysian political scenario needs time to stabilize to see if BN has a worthy challenger in PR given the success of PR in the GE12.  However, time will tell and this so-called 3rd force will not have the attention of greater Malaysians for sure as they are too narrow in their view, too new to be considered and nobody will want to take the chance at the ballot boxes with them.  The recent by-elections at Hulu Selangor and Sibu shows that the fight will remain between BN and PR in the forseeable future.

Although in GE12 where many people were willing to vote just about anybody listed on the Pakatan Rakyat ballot, we can be sure that this will not happen again in GE13 and the PR must mature and be an equal of BN to fight this out.  The HRP will make a lot of noise but will be inconsequential in politics.  However, the consequence of being left out by the BN or PR because they are going head-on politically can be quite detrimental to all Indians.  Something for them to chew on.

This should also be a wake up call to the BN and PR that they must pay attention to the plights of the less fortunate, regardless of racial origin.  A mature Malaysia must have the more fortunate support the less fortunate across the board.  As corruption must be eradicated, so must poverty and the focus on lifting the lives of the less fortunate – Malays, Indians, Chinese, natives especially.  After 52 years of independence, we should be very upset that we are still talking about fundamental and basic needs for Malaysians.  What have we been doing all these years?

We only ask the Government of the Day to pay attention to us less fortunate Malaysians, no matter where we come from as long as we are truly Malaysians.  We voted the Government of the Day to eradicate corruption and poverty so that all Malaysians can stretch our Ringgit to the furthest means and not have some unscrupulous politically affiliated people siphon it away.

We ask for equality of treatment and uphold the Constitution.  We ask for 1Malaysia not to be a slogan but a reality for all Malaysians to be truly ONE across the board.  Is that too much to expect by us Malaysians after 52 years?  No 3rd Force, just fairness all round.

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Contributed by A Malaysian

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