Why MIC Hulu S’gor candidate defends Perkasa

Written by Helen Ang (cpiasia.net)
P. Kamalanathan is the BN candidate standing in the Hulu Selangor by-election. In his interview with Malaysiakini, he was quoted as saying: “Perkasa has its own role. It is strengthening its (Malay) race, its language and its religion, and we (MIC) are also doing the same by strengthening our race, religion and language.”
Kamalanathan – known as Kamal (why not Nathan?) – was also quoted as saying that Perkasa’s role is about “empowering” the Malay race and it does not trample on the rights of other races.
It is pertinent that his statement should be viewed in juxtaposition with what Perkasa patron Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Friday at the commemoration of Mara’s 44th anniversary.
Responding to reporters’ questions after his keynote address, Mahathir said he sees no time frame for putting a stop to the NEP and that the other communities did not lose much when the policy was introduced in the 1970s.
Mahathir is saying that all the advantages and opportunities being given to Malays under NEP is not robbing Peter to pay Paul. His view is not much different in its syllogism from Kamal’s that Perkasa does not seek to impinge on the rights of others.
‘The pariah caste’
Despite what Kamal may say, the truth is that MIC has miserably failed the Indians. When the Tamil underclass is so poor, in what way can that be construed as the race having been enfranchised?
Indians are strong men and women; it is Malaysia’s apartheid that has weakened them over decades of discrimination. Comparatively, those of the diaspora in the advanced countries have done well for themselves.
Given the Ketuanan Melayu agenda of denial, it is not surprising that Najib Razak’s erstwhile aide Nasir Safar should have commented that the Indian forefathers come here as “beggars”. It elevates the Malays to put down the calibre of the ‘pendatang’. No surprise either that Perkasa should be the first to rally to Nasir’s defence and urge that he be given a chance to explain the context of his remarks.
Also, contrary to the opinion “pergilah kau tertindas”/“what rubbish to say that you’re oppressed” by former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (see Youtube here, 4:42-4:48) when commenting on the Hindraf demonstration – the truth is, Indians are.
Asri’s views (3:57 onwards) are quite typical of Malay prejudice: “Sangat hina kehidupan mereka di dalam negeri mereka. Kasta pariah ini telah dibawa oleh Inggeris ke dalam negara kita … kehidupan yang mereka nikmati di sini seribu kali ganda lebih baik daripada … negara merempat, naik bas, tak pakai baju, tak pakai seluar.”
Translation: “They led an abject life in their country (India). This pariah caste were brought to our country by the English … the life they enjoy here is a thousand times better than in … that suffering country where (people) board the bus not wearing shirt, not wearing pants.”
This truth is that today, Tamil Nadu – where our Indians mostly originated from – possesses the third largest economy (year 2007-2008) among the states in India, and experienced a double-digit GDP growth rate of 12.1% during this period. It is the most industrialized state in India and ranked third for attracting FDI.
Chennai (formerly known as Madras and the capital of Tamil Nadu) houses India’s largest IT park; this IT hub was ranked “the top metropolitan city to invest in Asia Pacific”. Tamil Nadu was ranked 9th region to invest in 2008, and is India’s leading software exporter.
Malaysian Indians would likely be better off if their ancestors had not emigrated here.
Mara shuts out others
As part of the BN election goodie bag, Kamal said “the prime minister and the deputy prime minister have made a decision to build a UiTM” in Hulu Selangor.
Although the establishment of Mara in 1966 predates the NEP which began in 1970, this federal agency is nonetheless a major provider of Malay privileges. Mara administers the Mara Junior Science Colleges, Mara Colleges, Giatmara, Mara Skills Training Institutes, Mara Higher Skills Training Institutes, Mara Infotech Institutes and Mara Professional Colleges.
Mara also offers scholarships and sponsorships, including for students abroad and up to PhD level or doing medicine, as well as loans for entrepreneurs. The reality is that these Mara entities are all over the country and its reach widespread; UiTM is the largest university in Malaysia.
To run all of the above, Mara is allocated tremendous funding each year.
Compared to Mara’s largesse, Kamal’s rhetoric – “Is it wrong for me to want to memperkasakan Tamil schools?” – rings extremely hollow, especially in light of the dilapidated estate schools.
He misses the irony of dangling the UiTM carrot when Mara has an almost single-race enrolment.
How many Muslim converts?
As to Kamal’s ingenuous contention that the pursuit of Malay supremacy does not trample on the religious rights of other races, I would argue otherwise. Not only does it trample, after stomping there’s spitting too for good measure – as the Shah Alam cow-head episode discerned.
MIC’s claim that it has strengthened Indians in their religion should be put to the test with a challenge to reveal the number of Indians who have converted to Islam.
From anecdotal evidence, they have been converted in droves and the side-effects coming to public attention in the form of the bodysnatching and child custody cases teetering between jurisdictions of the syariah and civil courts.
Among the plentiful fresh converts, you see women in their badly tied tudung whose hair has barely shed the scent of jasmine.
Ponder on this: An apple doesn’t call itself a ‘non-orange’. One of reasons why the non-Malays convert (then at least they wouldn’t be non-Muslims) could be to eliminate one half of the two-pronged negation occasioned by diminishment when one is officially a ‘non’.
Mandores to Umno
Kamal, who is MIC information chief, has a professional background in public relations. Judging from the scorn still poured on Indian ethnicity, it’s evident that their image problem has not been rectified. Kamal has done a poor job for MIC’s Indian publicity.
The lowly position of the Indian is even reflected in differentiated word use. A search through Utusan’s archives reveals a general pattern on the word ‘jenazah’ to refer to Muslim, and ‘mayat’ for non-Muslim corpses, e.g. “menuntut mayat Prema a/p Elenchelian” but “menuntut jenazah Abdul Muiz Mokhtar”.
Language when referring to bereaved families is also different: “mengucapkan takziah kepada keluarga Allahyarham Edi Rizal Ramli” but “seorang ahli keluarga si mati” Kugan Ananthan.
And only last week, on April 8, brothers si mati R Satchithantham and R Logeswaran were killed by police in Taiping. Their mayat were riddled with bullets.
Indians are clearly the object of police profiling. They make up 95% of victims shot dead by Polis Diraja Malaysia when only 8% of the Malaysian population, according to an estimate by the Human Rights Party for year 2009 to present.
Yet Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali infamously refutes the contention that ethnic minorities are second class citizens. “Don’t talk shit, you see don’t talk shit. I, I, I repeat don’t talk shit,” he said in his much-viewed Al-Jazeera interview.
Perkasa is playing a zero sum game. Its approach to strengthening Malays is in direct proportion to the suppression of non-Malays.
Kamal’s defence of this ultra movement is untenable but not unexpected as after all, this is a candidate who said that he would “take back the federal seat and deliver it to Prime Minister Najib Razak as gift for his first year in office.” Like a housecat dragging in an offering of a captured mouse.