Tuesday 29 May 2012

Then Hindraf, now Ambiga - RJ Rajah

Has BN handed the Indian votes to Pakatan on a silver platter once again? It certainly seems so.

In recent Indian gatherings, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is well-known for his timely political oratories, has been consistently driving home a few key points into the minds of Indian voters while drumming up support for the opposition.

He begins by saying that when the opposition forms the next federal government, he will reduce the price of petrol and secondly he narrates how he will raise RM5 billion to provide free education for all Malaysians irrespective of race.

Next, he comes to one of the core Indian issues: citizenship for all Indians who are still with red identity cards and without proper birth certificate and registered documents. Then he raises the most important issue which is plaguing the minds of the Indians today: S Ambiga.

Anwar goes on to explain how Ambiga is being ridiculed and insulted under Najib’s leadership and the BN government. The fact that Najib and MIC’s top leadership have not come in support for Ambiga gives him further ammunition against BN.

He vows that there won’t be such discrimination under his premiership and that all men and women will be treated as equal under Pakatan Rakyat’s government.

He reiterates that as a Malay-Muslim, he does not support the ugly and unruly incidents orchestrated against Ambiga and that it is not the culture of Malays to behave as such.

No one has the right to talk about Ambiga’s citizenship and that he will defend her role as a Bersih leader.

Striking the right chord

As stated, the astute politician is striking the right chord when it comes to Indian votes as almost every Indian today talks and feels about the difficulties Ambiga and her family are undergoing for her role in the Bersih 3.0 rally. In fact, she has become a household name among Indian families and a rallying point for Indians in this country.

It is unlikely that her sudden gigantic role will be diminished in any manner in the next few months, or at least until the next general election.

Therefore, going by the campaigns of Anwar and opposition leaders, it could be Ambiga who will be able to deliver the crucial Indian votes to Pakatan in the forthcoming general election.

In 2008, it was the slogan “Makkal Sakthi” and Hindraf issues that delivered the Indian votes to the opposition to enable them to register such an impressive victory. However, Hindraf issues have become irrelevant today and the movement itself is in shambles now.

If the prevailing trend continues, Ambiga’s episode could be the real factor that will help the opposition to garner the much needed Indian votes in GE 13.


Messages supporting her and criticising the BN government and MIC are being circulated through emails and mobile phones. Even some MIC leaders at the division levels have openly declared their support and concern on the Ambiga issue in the Tamil dailies.

The opposition is cashing-in on the Ambiga issue and judging from the mood of the Indian crowds attending the opposition rallies she will be able to play a prominent role in securing the Indian votes for the opposition.

Having established herself as an iconic figure in the Indian community, fighting the BN government for free and fair elections, it will not matter whether she openly declares support for the opposition in GE-13 but if she does by joining the campaign rounds, she will be able sway a sizable portion of Indian votes from MIC and BN.

By condoning the incidents staged in front of Ambiga’s house coupled with the inaction of the police and the authorities with regard to the “burger stall” issues, the BN government has given away the crucial Indian votes in a silver platter to the opposition.

RJ Rajah is an observer and writer on politics and social issues with a keen interest particularly in Malaysian Indian affairs.

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