Hindraf, an Indian NGO is proposing to do a protest rally to hand over a petition to the British High Commission end of this week. You would have also heard (likely in disbelief) of the legal suit against the British Government for a cool USD4 trillion – that would have made all Indians in Malaysia millionaires. Image source: Malaysiakini
If you have noticed, lately, there is been a growing “fashion” to protest via street rally – the Bar Council did one in Putrajaya and lately, we had the successful BERSIH march to the royal palace. Now we have Hindraf’s protest. The question that we need to ask is whether it is worth it?
Hindraf has listed a couple of issues in their memorandum and is asking the British Government to do among other things, move an emergency UN resolution against Malaysia and refer the Malaysian Government to the World Court. High call at the end of the day but are things really bad that we have lost hope of getting justice from our representatives in the Parliament or the Government?
So much so that we are now turning to a foreign country to cry justice? I know that Parliament has been a big circus as long as I could remember it and the Government seems to have its own agenda depending on the day and season.
So, it seems that it all left to NGOs to carry the burden on getting justice for the oppressed. Hindraf in the past been rallying on many pressing issues – particularly on the demolition of temples but it has fallen on deaf ears and so now, they have taken one step further. This will be interesting to watch on the outcome.
Of course, the Government and MIC, as expected, were quick to paint the rally as illegal and that is the work of the opposition party (standard excuse). The police, as expected, rejected the application for a permit but added the usual “you can appeal” statement after the rejection. There already warnings and threats for those wanted to participate but again, we are left to wonder who the “real” trouble makers here are. Surely things are not so rosy for the Indians here in Malaysia – poverty, religious discrimination, lack of educational opportunity and gangsterism just to name a few, been hogging the community for some time now and at certain places, there is really no light end of the tunnel.
That brings me to Kavilan’s “The Malaysian Indian Dilemma” post.
In essence, we need to realize that we can make the change if we put our mind to it. Throw away the “minority” and “inferiority” notion whenever one is talking about the Indians in Malaysia. We have been “carrying” the minority tag for far too long. The more people talk of us as the “minority”, we probably will end there and stay there too. We don’t need others to say that we are the minority and as such need to be helped. We don’t need the pity because we know we are much better than that.
Coming back to the Hindraf’s rally, for an outsider looking at the situation in Malaysia, doesn’t Hindraf move seems strategic?
Considering that a group of “minority” asking an ex-colonial master seems to say a lot of things about the current government. It also paints a very undesirable picture of the party who is claiming to champion the rights of the minority – MIC. After the 10-Eleven rally and the “boo-boo” that our Information Minister did in Al-Jazeera interview, “Mr Clean” image of Pak Lah is eroding fast in the eyes of the international community.
Forget about the USD4 trillion – Hindraf may be wasting good money for the proceedings than getting one but perhaps that is not the point. The point is generating enough publicity not only in Malaysia (yes, there is still Indians in the false dream state) but also internationally. And never underestimate international pressure on a government.
And consider this, Hindraf’s plans if well executed, will generate the right amount of publicity and force the government to sit up and take note. Already many in government is “sleeping” under the false notion of a Ketuanan Melayu” and as such, been giving the wrong priority to the wrong issues for many years now.
We may be a “minority” as some may paint us to be but it certainly does not mean we are weak too. If we focus on unity, higher ethics, hunger for good education and living by good values & principles, we are unlikely to be whacked around as how it is happening now.
We need to build more networks among the community and start sharing our ideas and know-how and we may achieve something that MIC or any political party have said but not done anything all these years.
Hindraf’s protest is a bold move but the change should start with the Indians themselves. There is plenty of work to be done to change their mindset and having protest is not a good start. As Kavilan rightly pointed out – there is a wrong impression of Indians in Malaysia. Work out that first before we can say our fight for justice is worthwhile.
Stop thinking like a minority – we may still have a more realistic way out.