Malaysian Indians have dropped MIC, opt for multiracial parties

May 15, 2018 @ 3:24PM
By Veena Babulal
(File pix) Principal research fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Professor Datuk Denison Jayasooria. Mohd Yusni Ariffin

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Indians have dropped MIC in favour of multiracial parties to represent their interests in Parliament.

Principal research fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Professor Datuk Denison Jayasooria stressed that this shift was a major departure from the traditional approach of race-based political party representation.

He said that following the 14th general election (GE14), there are 16 elected Indian members of Parliament, more than the post-2013 election figure of 11.

Of the 16, only two are from the ethnic-based MIC which is part of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

In GE14, both the MIC president and the deputy president failed to secure a seat, as happened in the 2008 general election.

The 14 MPs, Denison noted, were from two political parties in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which had now become the new federal government. DAP and PKR each have seven Indian MPs.

“What is also significant is that many of them won with very large majorities. In all the seats where there was a contest between BN and PH, with the exception of Cameron Highlands, all the PH candidates won.

“The new reality is that for the first time since independence, MIC is with the new opposition in Parliament and out of the federal government,” he added.

Denison said many of the PH Indian MPs were dynamic politicians with good grassroots experience as well as professional competency.

“This is their opportunity to lead the Malaysian Indian community into the 2020s and beyond, with a message of hope and new ways of community empowerment in addressing social disadvantage positions.

Citing the host of programmes initiated by the previous government for the Indian community, Denison said the PH manifesto had made special reference to the measures to address Indian concerns.

“It is without a doubt that the PH government will build on these. These will be strengthened to ensure the benefits reach the targeted groups.”

“In the pre-GE14 dialogues, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did participate in a dialogue organised by Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) and it’s possible that they and other strategic partners will work together to ensure effective delivery on major concerns.

These include citizenship rights, education and skills training, including scholarships, economic and micro business loans.

Ohers are urban poverty issues including affordable housing, and issues pertaining to death in custody, police brutality and human rights violations,” he added.

Denison also suggested that the government focus on three additional concerns and approaches.

“The first is to adopt a rights-based approach to development – moving away from a charity, welfare approach and hand-outs, towards community empowerment and resilience.

This must be based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is most necessary.

“Second, there is a need to adopt a non-racial and non-ethnic approach, addressing minority concerns through the Sustainable Development Goals.”

This, he said, would be a better measure to ensure that “no one is left behind“, therefore moving beyond ethnicity, gender, disability, class and caste status.

“Third, setting up a dedicated social inclusion unit by addressing social exclusion irrespective of ethnicity with specific targets to reach all disadvantaged communities.

“This might be the new way forward in this climate of political change.

It is important to strengthen public disclosure of the resources and this can be best done through an effective oversight body which is made of a cross-section of Malaysians.”Malaysian Indians have dropped MIC, opt for multiracial parties

Veena Babulal

Can use filepix of

Institute of Ethnic Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Professor Datuk Denison Jayasooria

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Indians have dropped MIC in favour of multiracial parties to represent their interests in Parliament.

Principal research fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Professor Datuk Denison Jayasooria stressed that this shift was a major departure from the traditional approach of race-based political party representation.

He said that following the 14th general election (GE14), there are 16 elected Indian members of Parliament, more than the post-2013 election figure of 11.

Of the 16, only two are from the ethnic-based MIC which is part of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

In GE14, both the MIC president and the deputy president failed to secure a seat, as happened in the 2008 general election.

The 14 MPs, Denison noted, were from two political parties in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which had now become the new federal government. DAP and PKR each have seven Indian MPs.

“What is also significant is that many of them won with very large majorities. In all the seats where there was a contest between BN and PH, with the exception of Cameron Highlands, all the PH candidates won.

“The new reality is that for the first time since independence, MIC is with the new opposition in Parliament and out of the federal government,” he added.

Denison said many of the PH Indian MPs were dynamic politicians with good grassroots experience as well as professional competency.

“This is their opportunity to lead the Malaysian Indian community into the 2020s and beyond, with a message of hope and new ways of community empowerment in addressing social disadvantage positions.

Citing the host of programmes initiated by the previous government for the Indian community, Denison said the PH manifesto had made special reference to the measures to address Indian concerns.

“It is without a doubt that the PH government will build on these. These will be strengthened to ensure the benefits reach the targeted groups.”

“In the pre-GE14 dialogues, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did participate in a dialogue organised by Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) and it’s possible that they and other strategic partners will work together to ensure effective delivery on major concerns.

These include citizenship rights, education and skills training, including scholarships, economic and micro business loans.

Ohers are urban poverty issues including affordable housing, and issues pertaining to death in custody, police brutality and human rights violations,” he added.

Denison also suggested that the government focus on three additional concerns and approaches.

“The first is to adopt a rights-based approach to development – moving away from a charity, welfare approach and hand-outs, towards community empowerment and resilience.

This must be based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is most necessary.

“Second, there is a need to adopt a non-racial and non-ethnic approach, addressing minority concerns through the Sustainable Development Goals.”

This, he said, would be a better measure to ensure that “no one is left behind“, therefore moving beyond ethnicity, gender, disability, class and caste status.

“Third, setting up a dedicated social inclusion unit by addressing social exclusion irrespective of ethnicity with specific targets to reach all disadvantaged communities.

“This might be the new way forward in this climate of political change.

It is important to strengthen public disclosure of the resources and this can be best done through an effective oversight body which is made of a cross-section of Malaysians.”