The Malaysian Indian dilemma — Dhinesh Thinakaran
APRIL 24 — The nation enters a very important phase in its existence in the next few months. The polls are here and the fate of today’s and tomorrow’s Malaysians hangs in the balance. Though I’m also a proponent of a bangsa Malaysia yet that matter is for another day. Today I’d like to discuss the more immediate concern of the Indian community’s political choices in the next general election.
Though Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the 6th prime minister of Malaysia, yet for the Indian community he is not only the founding father of the lofty 1 Malaysia concept but also first in many aspects.
He is the first PM to apologise to the Indian community for the failings of the government in addressing the core issues close to the hearts of Indian citizens of the country and has taken definitive steps to rectify the situation.
He is the first foremost leader of the nation to attend the largest gathering of Malaysian Indians in Batu Caves for the Thaipusam celebrations, thus demonstrating the reality of the 1 Malaysia mantra. He also has declared this auspicious celebration a public holiday. Though the above are symbolic yet they are just precursors to the actions he has done to show that the Indian community and its issues are close to his administration’s heart.
Among these actions are the appointment of two Indian ministers in his Cabinet to better serve the community. He has also allocated more than a quarter of a billion ringgit for the upliftment of Tamil schools in the country. He has created a fund of almost the same amount through the “Tekun” and Surya co-operative to help the development and encourage the spirit of entrepreneurism among the Indian community and to expand Indian participation in the country’s economic growth.
He has also made sure those SPM students who have excellent results will be aided and helped by the government regardless of race, religion or creed. He has doubled the intake for Indians in the matriculation programmes. And all these have been done in the span of less than three years. The potentials for our community look very bright if he is given his full term on his own right.
On the other hand what are the concrete examples of changes that the opposition has implemented under the venerable opposition leader in the same time frame? It is interesting to note that since 2008 no temple has been demolished in a BN state but continue to happen regularly under PR states. Is this the change they promised the Indian electorate? The opposition seems very good at talking the talk about the need for change but very much less inclined to actually walk the walk and implement changes. Is there any substantial policy changes that have positively impacted the Indians in the four Pakatan states?
Those very backs on whom the opposition leader rode to the stunning success of the 2008 elections he has now ignored and disrespected. The reason being he doesn’t have the time to meet them as he is very busy. He seems to have all the time in the world when shouting the Makkal Sakti slogan during their arrests and the campaign period in 2008. If this is how he treats his friends, then I ask all Malaysian Indians, can we put our faith in him to lead our society to betterment? Every senior Indian leader in his party has been maligned so much so that a few weeks’ old member of the party was appointed to the vice-presidency instead of those who fought tooth and nail for him over a decade.
My fellow Indians, we are at a pivotal point in history where our choices are going to impact the future of generations to come. We do not have the luxury of making a bad decision. Is change needed? Of course it is, the real question is what is the change we are looking for? Is it one that simply throws words and promises yet fails to deliver when the opportunity was given or do we put trust in a man who has kept his word and is delivering as we speak? Change has come, but in the form of the current PM. No doubt the ruling government has a lot of work to do; the gaps in policy and implementation need to be cut and more transparent.
However the reality is that Najib and his able Cabinet are the best team to bring about these changes. But he cannot do it alone, for his transformational vision for the Indian community to reach its full potential he needs our community’s help to give him a mandate to carry out his plans successfully.
In conclusion, the Indian community does not have a dilemma; the verdict is very clear which leadership is doing more for the Indian community in this country. We need to seize the moment and make sure we make the right choice. The 1 Malaysia choice.
* Dhinesh Thinakaran reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.