February 19, 2014
Teck Ghee’s Take on Waytha Moorthy’s Resignation
The Indian View: “…while Waytha may have suffered a severe setback to his credibility through his inability to deliver on Hindraf’s MoU with the BN, he has in fact redeemed his, and his organisation’s, honour and good name, by biting the hard bullet of resignation. What was clear in the response of ordinary Indians (some I spoke to had asked not to quote their names) which was surprising to me was their pride that someone in their community had stood firm against the BN juggernaut on the side of justice, fair play and integrity.”–Lim Teck Ghee
On February 9, following the news that Waytha Moorthy had resigned from his position in the government, I was asked via e-mail for comments on the resignation. The excerpts below are from my response reproduced in toto:
1. Waythamorthy’s resignation will have any impact/bearing on the BN?
Yes; besides the Indian community, other minority communities especially in East Malaysia have been monitoring the progress of the Hindraf agreement with the Prime Minister. Basically the message that they will get from the resignation is that the PM – for whatever reason – will not honour his commitment to provide a fair deal to minority communities. Should Hindraf decide to engage in a public campaign to denounce the PM and the support institutions in the civil service and other federal agencies for their cynical disregard of the Indian electorate after making use of them during the recent elections, the damage to the PM personally and BN as a whole could be considerable and long lasting.
2. Is this a smack on Najib’s face?
Yes. But it is a slap also to Waytha, the Hindraf movement and to the other Indian-based parties such as the MIC in the BN. Although UMNO is the major partner in the BN, there has been some optimism that it will moderate its “ketuanan Melayu” stance for a 1Malaysia one. Now it looks as if the 1Malaysia concept is well and truly buried especially when other recent developments are also taken into account.
3. What does it do for the public’s perception towards BN and their promise to help the Indian community?
I think the public will see this as another of the broken promises of the PM and the BN. We can expect even greater distrust, cynicism and alienation even among many members of the Malay community who are concerned for political ethical standards and morality, despite the racial angle that seems to be the dominant factor in this development.
4. Biggest loser and biggest winner with this resignation and why
“>Biggest losers are PM, Waytha and other Indian supporters of the BN. There are no winners in this unless all political parties learn that racial discrimination and injustice have no place in our political system and are fully committed to these principles in word as well as deed.
Response from Indians to Waytha’s resignation
Following the exchange above, I have talked to Indian friends on Waytha’s resignation and the view that Waytha has been a big loser. Their unanimous response differs from my initial view and it is one which is important to note.
Their view is that while Waytha may have suffered a severe setback to his credibility through his inability to deliver on Hindraf’s MoU with the BN, he has in fact redeemed his, and his organisation’s, honour and good name, by biting the hard bullet of resignation. What was clear in the response of ordinary Indians (some I spoke to had asked not to quote their names) which was surprising to me was their pride that someone in their community had stood firm against the BN juggernaut on the side of justice, fair play and integrity.
Contrary to public expectations of behind-the-door deals aimed at self-enrichment of a few Hindraf leaders and self-serving excuses aimed at confusing the constituency of poor Indians on the delay in the implementation of the MOU agreement, Waytha – and in fact the entire central committee leadership – decided that he should not delay his departure.
Today (February 18), Waytha’s official public statement on his resignation has finally appeared. In it he states that “(f)or the last eight months I had tried patiently to work with the PM to roll out the programmes agreed to in the agreement, but we have not been able to move even on one item in the MoU. I make no excuses for our failure; I take full ownership for the failure and its consequences”.
Raising the bar on political standards
Although there are members of the public still angry at the role that Waytha and Hindraf played in the last elections in mobilising Indian support for the BN and who will not be appeased by this public apology, I believe that Waytha has raised the bar for those who believe that joining the BN bandwagon or throwing in their support for the incumbent government is the right strategy to bring reform and change to the country.
Apologists for the BN in public but damning the excesses and misgovernance of the ruling party in the safety of their cocktail or lunch crowd, these self-advancement-seeking BN political allies have been one of the main reasons why the BN continues to ransack the country with impunity and ruins it with disastrous policies.
In the murky world of Malaysian politics, high principles, ethical standards and moral values all too often do not count, or count for little. It is too easy to compromise one’s integrity and honour especially when the rewards for reaching agreement with a vastly superior political force are so rich and beguiling.
In refusing to give up on Hindraf’s objectives aimed at assisting poor Indians, and in accepting responsibility for the failure of any tangible programmes to be implemented, Waytha has shown the way forward for the political “realists” and “optimists” who think that change towards a racially fair and just Malaysia is possible under the present government.