MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Ramasamy provides ammunition to his detractors


All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.”

- Scottish physician, satirist and polymath John Arbuthnot.

By creating another party to “defend” the rights of Indians, former DAP member P Ramasamy has provided ammunition to his detractors and squandered whatever goodwill his recent political fortunes have generated.

In a nutshell, I think that political parties have been calamitous to the diverse Indian community.

The irony is, that the best thing Ramasamy did for the Indian community was first being an outlier voice in DAP before leaving the party.

Ramasamy said when his crowdfunding goals were met, even though apparatchiks were basking in their schadenfreude on social media, his words were, “I was confident that the community would help me in my moment of need. I will never forget this community.”

However, the choice of creating another party will probably be a sad coda of his political career.

Ramasamy’s racial dialectic was always a problem for DAP, even though the party never had a problem supplicating to the Malay community.

However, when it came to their rights and demonising the MCA for failing to represent Chinese expectations in BN, the Indian political operatives had to play dutiful handmaidens to the power brokers in the DAP - all the while pushing the Bangsa Malaysia kool-aid.

To argue that “race” does not matter is naive, considering the decades of systemic racism and the reaction to such a reality.

To argue that race should not matter is disingenuous, considering that political parties court specific racial demographics.

To assume that oppositional politics is post-racial is blatant propaganda, considering that it is pragmatism and not any sustainable philosophy that binds Harapan’s diverse religious, racial and ideological groups.

Instead of shining a spotlight on the disenfranchised Indian community, all Ramasamy has done is create another opportunity for his detractors to engage in stereotypical and racial narratives of the Indian community and the leaders who claim to represent them.

Empty statements

It also creates animosity between Indians attempting to navigate the political terrain in DAP and becomes another reason for Indian political and community leaders to “cannibalise” each other.

For example, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) was a squandered opportunity. Whatever leadership that marginalised Indians hoped to have, it was taken over by opportunists and charlatans who made grandiose claims on behalf of the community before scuttling away into the darkness, waiting for the next opportune moment to flare up again.

Indian political operatives are told to be grateful for whatever positions they achieve in the DAP. They are reminded by the base that the only reason why they are there is because they were voted in by the Chinese community.

You can observe this on news sites and on social media. In fact, when Ramasamy left DAP for various reasons - not all of which had to do with the “Indian” community - former Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said this: “For 15 years, he enjoyed the power, privilege and perks that came with the job and most importantly because of DAP.”

Former Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto

And of course, the sordid exchange between Ramasamy and M Kulasegaran about the deputy chief minister II (DCM2) post, which did no favours to the Indian community.

In my opinion, I felt it was a bit churlish when Ramasamy said: “It’s not that positions should not be given to Indians in general but preference must be given to those from the Indian Tamil community, particularly those with a good track record of fighting for the community.

“Certainly not any Indian Tamil. However, there are Indians who might be of Tamil origin but, unfortunately, have done nothing or very little for the community but ingratiated themselves in political parties by virtue of their servility or obsequiousness.”

The above exchange also makes all these pronouncements of fighting for the rights of the Indian community sound hollow and it would seem that this new party only serves or attempts to serve a specific community within the Indian polity and not the civil rights of non-Malays in this country.

A stronger Indian party

Indeed Ramasamy’s detractors were waiting for him to start another party.

Not only does another Indian political party feed into conventional narratives of “Indian” disunity but a political party created by a disgruntled (or at least this is the way Ramasamy is portrayed) is manna from heaven for the propagandists within the DAP.

Ramasamy launches a new party, Urimai

The fact that this party is willing to work with anyone further fuels narratives that Ramasamy has been bought and paid for by Perikatan Nasional.

At various times on this platform, I have questioned the value of having Indian-based parties, arguing that it would reflect reality a little better if we had an Indonesian or maybe even a Bangladeshi-based party.

I do not know the exact numbers – does anyone? – but it would seem more realistic to cater to them than the Indian community.

Whatever promises that are made to the Indian community do not mean much. How are those promise-breakers expected to be held accountable if the community is not even considered as a significant voting block?

How exactly does a community whose political leadership - either establishment or opposition - are constantly told that they are there because of the votes of the Malay and Chinese effectively advocate on behalf of their communities such as the Malay and Chinese leadership?

Made it about himself

If Ramasamy remained independent beyond political partisanship, it would have made him a formidable voice for the disenfranchised Indian community.

Ramasamy’s rabble-rousing polemics are the panacea to the political bromides of this unity government attempting to hoodwink the most disenfranchised of the Malaysian family regardless of their race and religion.

Instead, Ramasamy has made this about himself, which is what his detractors want. He has made this about his political fortunes even if he did not intend for it to be.

Now, it is more focused on how Ramasamy is failing or fails to galvanise the Indian vote or how Ramasamy is a spoiler (maybe on purpose) using the Indian community to disrupt DAP and this farcical unity government.

Ramasamy may have painted a target on his back but unfortunately, it would be the disenfranchised of the Indian community who will absorb the blows coming his way. - Mkini

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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