KUALA LUMPUR: The inclusion of Hindraf may help the opposition although there could be some resentment from Indian leaders in the opposition, said lawmaker Dr Michael Jeyakumar.
The Sungai Siput MP added: “There are many Indian leaders within PKR and DAP as well as Indian factions within the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition who will feel that it is their turf Hindraf is coming into.
“That would be a bit of a problem because, I believe, many of the seats that the MIC won were contested by PKR or DAP Indian leaders. If Hindraf takes these seats than there might be a problem with these guys who had contested there before and lost but might want to contest again,” he said when met at Parliament here yesterday.
The Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) member, however, disagreed with the agenda of Hindraf.
“One must question the issue of poor Indians: is it due to ethnicity or due to class (socio-economic)?
“PSM believes it has more to do with class. That is why we believe to fight the class issue we need to unite everyone under that class. Hindraf is a little bit confused because they talk about helping the poor Indians but there are poor Chinese and Malays, too.
“So, issues like low cost housing, squatters and high rise flats and slums are important as they affect people across the board. We should be mobilising people on social-economic issues, not along race lines,” he said.
It was clear that Hindraf had done a way better job of championing ethnic issues than the MIC, he said.
“Many people play up ethnic issues to ultimately profit themselves. Hindraf is more sincere than the MIC. Hindraf is more grassroots oriented.
“PSM on the other hand talks about poor Malays, Indians and Chinese, including those above 65 years of age with no savings, no pension, who have used up their EPF savings and are forced to rely on their children. If the children are from the lower-economic class, they find it hard to support their parents.”
A pension scheme for all races has always been on the agenda of PSM, said Jeyakumar.
“PSM has suggested that a pension scheme should be set up for all races above the age of 70. This is because those above 70 find it hard to work.
“We never suggested that this should be done for just one ethnic group because all ethnic groups would need something like this. We have a better chance of making this happen when we include all races.”