The Edge financial daily carried a two-part interview with SK Devamany, the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. He was saying that Indians should not blame MIC for all their problems but instead change their attitude and take advantage of the various programs launched by Najib Abdul Razak. He finally insists that Indians have no choice but to still depend on MIC to defend and carry on the community’s interests.

Let us look at what MIC and their fellow component parties are doing right now during the Deeepavali seaon.

As Indian Malaysians are celebrating Deepavali, MIC, Gerakan and PPP have started their main annual activity of giving bags of rice and provision hampers all over the country on behalf of Umno. In places where Umno is not welcomed due to unfulfilled promises and neglect, MIC, Gerakan and PPP will go and soft talk the people into accepting Umno.

Then to cement the strained ties with Umno, these Indian Malaysian parties in BN will give hampers and rice bags and in return get their pledge to vote for BN.     

As a case to mention, in a small town called Tenang in the Labis parliamentary constituency, the people are upset because of unfulfilled promises after the Tenang by-election in January 2011. The temple in Tenang was promised RM500,000 by the Menteri Besar’s Office but this has not been fulfilled till date. In another estate temple, a hall was promised but in actual fact a hall only a quarter of the original size was built.

Signatires collected and submitted to Devamany during the Tenang by-election were not even submitted to SAJ, the Johore water concessionaire. House-breaking, extortion and poor responses from police in arresting the culprits are hurting the people.

The current Member of Parliament for Labis, Chua Tee Yong, has not done anything for them. The MP gives MIC/MCA/PPP branches their annual allocations to appease them. MIC branches in Labis are dysfunctional, so the PPP branches have moved in to soft talk and sweet-talk these simple folk into accepting 5kg bags of rice and hampers and support BN. This is the case all over Malaysia. Umno and MCA know how to get Indian Malaysian votes.

Even though Indians have come a long way and are more politically aware, there are still some gullible people who run after hampers. BN component parties even take photos and publish them in Tamil papers that they have given 5kg bags of rice and hampers. Is this something we should be proud of? MIC has made Indian Malaysians addicted to rice bags and hampers. MIC will keep poor Indian Malaysians running after hampers.

Indian Malaysians have to be part of the decision-making process which they are not. MIC has made them politically irrelevant. To be relevant, Indian Malaysians must be informed, but BN controls the flow of information. Fortunately alternative media saved us.

Sad to say even the Indian Malaysian students in local universities are not spared by MIC. These students are misinformed and persuaded into believing that Indian Malaysians are taken care of by Umno/BN by MIC Youth. MIC leaders are mercenaries of Umno. Besides the 1Malaysia slogan-chanting, our PM could not walk his talk. Even the deputy premier doesn’t believe in the PM’s 1Malaysia slogan. 

Rice bags and hampers downgrade our image

These 5kg rice bags and hamper handouts to Indian Malaysians during Deepavali have downgraded our image in the eye of other communities. The years of deprivation have made the poor very short-sighted, insecure and self-centred. This also shows how easily Indian Malaysians can be satisfied and made contented.

Indian Malaysians have an image problem. Thanks to MIC/BN. The Indians in US, Europe and even Africa are well respected. But the long apartheid policy of Umno has robbed us of our self-esteem. Indian Malaysian working class children suffer from no self confidence and poor self-esteem.

Therefore what Devamany said is all hot air without any substance. It’s another attempt to keep Umno happy and make MIC relevant. But on the ground MIC have lost all credibility and respect from Indian Malaysians. It’s BN’s handout programmes that keep them relevant. In fact MIC may see its end in the forthcoming elections.

MIC/BN has become the past. The future has to be more inclusive politics where all are equal and we walk with our heads high. No more being treated as strangers in our own country of birth. Able and talented individuals regardless of our ethnicity and religion are called to serve this country. Only then will this blessed country see its day. People like Devamany can’t do it. Therefore they have to make way politely.