Veteran observers of Malaysian politics must have been amused by the return of MIC to news headlines through its youth chief’s allegation that former PM Mahathir Mohamad implemented racist policies and did not care about non-Malay communities.
When one considers how much care MIC has shown towards the community it’s supposed to represent, the irony of that statement becomes almost worthy of a Shakespearian comedy.
Under Barisan Nasional’s racial representation system, every major ethnic community is represented by a party to champion its needs. As part of the ruling coalition since Merdeka, MIC holds the responsibility of being the voice of the Indians. As such it falls on its leaders to listen to the pleas of the community and to relay them to the ruling government.
And so the blame for MIC’s fall into irrelevance can be placed only on its failure to elect good leaders.
By and large, the MIC has been a nonentity in Malaysian politics for the last eight years. It is too immersed in its vicious internal politics to properly do its job of representing the Indians. That’s also the reason for the emergence of Hindraf as a representative of the Indians, who, when they vote, are more likely to choose DAP or PKR.
It does appear that the Indians are sick of the incompetence of the party that is supposed to care for them.
At one point, the infighting in MIC became so bad that Muhyiddin Yassin, who was DPM at the time, was forced to plead for the MIC leadership crisis to be solved politically instead of through litigation. The then Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, made the same call. The party, of course, vehemently rejected the advice with cries of independence.
MIC’s problem is that it assumes it is relevant when it is not, and that makes its accusations against Mahathir vapid and laughable.
Mahathir’s policies, at their roots, may or may not have been racist, but at least ostensibly, he was a genius at balancing the demands of the different ethnic communities, or perhaps their leaders.
S Samy Vellu, who was the MIC President when Mahathir was in power, delivered the votes, and thus was given enough power and privilege to enable him to change the fortunes of the Indian community if he wanted to.
His failure to do so despite his long tenure as one of Mahathir’s Cabinet ministers is the MIC’s legacy now, and the attempt to shift the blame to someone else is a ploy everyone can see from a mile away.
Perhaps the MIC should make the headlines again for actually doing something to uplift the Indian community, given that its being part of BN means there will always be space for an MIC man in the Cabinet.