The New Indian Politics: Political Dancing to succeed the Parti Makkal Sakit (Sakti?) Malaysia Way
by Haris Ibrahim (dated September 25, 2009)
September 27, last year, some of us gathered at Dataran Merdeka to light a candle and wish RPK, who was then being detained under the ISA, ‘Happy Birthday’. You can read about that HERE.
Later, some of us moved on to join the HINDRAF folks who were also holding an anti-ISA candle light vigil that culminated in a gathering at the Sri Ganesha temple in Jalan Pudu.
A huge crowd had built up at the temple but one man, all fire and brimstone, had my attention.
I could not understand most of what Thanenthiran (circled in yellow in picture) said, but he certainly roused the crowd to constantly break into a chorus of ‘Makkal Sakti’ and ‘Mansuhkan ISA’.
Just eleven days before this vigil, Thanenthiran was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that HINDRAF ‘backed Anwar Ibrahim to become the country’s sixth prime minister for it believes that the opposition leader is the only person capable of putting the country back on the right track’.
Thanenthiran was quoted as saying :
“Anwar has assured that he will ensure a free and fair country based on equality, justice and democracy for all, something that Barisan Nasional has not given to Malaysians in its unbroken 51-year rule. He is now the best bet to instill some order to our political uncertainty. HINDRAF wants him to become prime minister and safeguard the Indian community from marginalisation”.
Well, Thanenthiran appears to have vindicated the adage we hear again and again that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics.
And the perception amongst many that to get anywhere in the world of politics, one (like the man who wears a lounge suit below) has to whore one’s own soul.
In May, this year, Thanenthiran and his merry men moved to register a new political party. The stated objective of the new party, as reported by Malaysiakini, to spearhead “a political struggle for the betterment of the Malaysian Indian community”.
At that time, sources close to Thanenthiran indicated that this new party would not incline to either BN or Pakatan but would steer its own course.
However, the speed with which the new party, Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia, secured registration by the Registrar of Societies was, for many, telling.
Malaysian Insider reported yesterday that Najib has been invited to and has agreed to be the guest of honour at the official launch of this new party this coming October 10th.
According to this report, Thanenthiran made many curious statements.
Whilst insisting that the invite to Najib should not be seen as detracting from the independence of this new party he nonetheless candidly shared that “We are working together with him as partners… we walk together for the benefit of the Indian community”.
This ‘working together’, as Thanenthiran disclosed, includes actively campaigning for the Barisan Nasional in the forthcoming Bagan Pinang by-election.
Why this about-turn?
“It is true the BN did not do much for us in the past 52 years but the Pakatan Rakyat has done even less for us in the past two years. BN under Datuk Seri (Najib) is beginning to do for the Indians in major areas and we welcome it. We want to work with him to get a fair share of the nation’s resources”.
Getting a fair share of the nation’s resources is all well and good, but for whom?
The marginalised Indians?
Isn’t that what MIC and Samy Vellu have been saying all these years?
So is Thanenthiran and his new party, as Malaysian Insider suggests, merely filling in the seeming vacuum in BN’s divide and rule scheme brought about by MIC’s increasing irrelevance and inability to reform?
Three days before that vigil last September, Malaysiakini reported that Thanenthiran had challenged Samy to seek the forgiveness of Malaysia Indians.
“Samy Vellu should kneel and beg for (forgiveness) for his wrongdoings (against) the community if he is sincere and honest about seeking freedom for our leaders”.
Samy did better than that.
On April 1 this year, Samy visited a recuperating Thanenthiran in hospital. Thanenthiran was recovering from a heart attack and, quite possibly, the disappointment of being overlooked by PKR as the candidate for the Bukit Selambau by election. Malaysiakini has a report of this HERE.
Was this the turning point for Thanenthiran?
Some two weeks after this visit, Waythamoorthy purged the HINDRAF leadership by suspending several who reckoned themselves as the top guns, including Thanenthiran.
Had Waytha got wind of some wheeling and dealing by those within the ranks of HINDRAF to further their own agenda?
In a Malaysiakini report dated May 21, this year, Thanenthiran, speaking on the formation of this new party, admitted to having led a delegation to meet PM Najib a month before.
This would place that meeting with Najib some three weeks after that visit by Samy at the hospital.
Political deals, it would seem, were being made at lightning speed.
And lo and behold, what emerges today is a re-branded and re-cast Thanenthiran, now perfectly kosher for Najib and UMNO.
And the Police.
In June, Malaysiakini reported that Thanenthiran said that his new party would not follow in the footsteps of HINDRAF in going to the streets to pressure the government to look into the needs of the marginalised Indians in Malaysia.
In rationalising this change of strategy, Thanenthiran, in my view, let the cat out of the bag.
“Going to streets may make one popular, but it will not necessarily resolve the problems at hand”, is what he is reported to have said.
And that, it would seem, was what his street activism was all about.
The question that must now be asked, is whether the Malaysian Indian community will submit itself to another 52 years of marginalisation by being taken in by this political whoring?
Bagan Pinang may provide an early answer come October 11. 2009.