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Santiago and Waytha should put an end to their quarrel

September 11, 2017

Although Indians cannot face the ruling government alone in the upcoming GE, they can join forces with the opposition to topple BN.

COMMENT

P-Ramasamy-P-Waythamoorthy-Charles-Santiago-1By P Ramasamy

Let me take this opportunity to ask both DAP MP Charles Santiago and Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy to put an end to their quarrel to fight for the larger cause for the betterment of the Indian community, a community that has been completely betrayed and marginalised by Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders for more than 60 years.

Whether appropriate or not, Santiago expressed his opinion, probably shared by many Indians and non-Indians, that Waythamoorthy should not have joined BN prior to the 2013 general election. He might have used “words” that might not have been very “endearing” to Waythamoorthy .

For this, Santiago was criticised by some Hindraf leaders and even challenged to contest in estates or rural areas where there is a large presence of Indians. Lately, Waythamoorthy has threatened to sue Santiago for “insulting” him and asked for an apology.

My advice to both is simple: put an end to this quarrel and look at the larger picture. As it is, Indians are not adequately represented in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) line-up, both at the national and state levels.

Gobind Singh Deo and myself have raised the matter in public and I understand discussions are underway in PH to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

While there is nothing to prevent Hindraf from supporting PH, whether it will be included within the ranks of PH or outside its parameters remains unclear.

Given the number of Indians in the country, they cannot face BN alone in the elections. They must join forces with friendly forces in PH to put an end to BN’s rule.

In the past, I might have had my differences with one or two Hindraf leaders, but these were nothing personal. They were related to the question of how to effectively represent the Indian community.

At the same time, I have always valued the immense contributions of the Hindraf movement to the awakening of the Indian community.

Without the influence of Hindraf, it would have been difficult for Pakatan Rakyat to take over states like Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Penang in the 2008 election. Similarly, we would not have retained the states of Selangor and Penang in the 2013 general election without the Hindraf factor.

Progressive-minded Indians who are eager to bring about conducive political change to the Indian community must close ranks, immaterial of their political affiliation. Given the presence of PH, energy must be effectively channelled to enable it to unseat BN in the coming general election.

As I have recently said, Indians in this country can only advance if the political situation is conducive to their advancement. Indians must enable this political situation by working closely with their Malay and Chinese friends.

P Ramasamy is the Penang deputy chief minister and DAP deputy secretary-general.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


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