The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy has finally announced the formation of an Indian-based party called the Malaysian Advancement Party (MAP) to advance the interest and wellbeing of Indians in the country.
With this formation, he will resign from Hindraf as its chairman. What will happen to Hindraf and who will be the next leader is not known.
Hindraf, a household name among Malaysian Indians, may now face the misfortune of being relegated to history.
Hindraf, the movement that galvanised and brought thousands of Indians onto the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest and to bring about meaningful change for the community may be forgotten.
Why Waytha didn’t retain “Hindraf” in the new political party will remain a tragedy and concern for Indians.
Nobody will forget that it served as a political catalyst for change in the 2008 general election.
Without Hindraf support, I doubt states such as Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Perak would then have been won by the opposition coalition of the now-defunct Pakatan Raykat.
It is political suicide to kill off a genuine movement and to replace it with a party that is new and lacks identification with rank and file Indians.
Indians will never forget their experience with Hindraf and how such an outfit brought dignity and respect, not to mention how it served to eclipse parties such as the MIC and IPF.
Hindraf should be credited for delivering a knockout blow to Indian-based parties in the Barisan Nasional.
Waytha might have unwittingly made the cardinal error of abandoning the “ship” that was not sinking to form a new political party that may have little relevance for the subaltern sections of Indian society.
The question is: How are Waytha and his friends going to get the support of ordinary, poor Indians in the country?
Rather than strengthening or transforming Hindraf, Waytha has sought to placate the extreme religious and racial forces in the country by abandoning the movement.
Placating the extreme forces might endear Waytha to some sections of society but then it has no relevance for the advancement of Indians.
I have nothing against Waytha forming a new political party.
Forming one is one thing and getting the support is another.
He might have a long way to go.
Waytha’s problem is not the MIC, but whether he can wean away support from the DAP and PKR.
Beyond this, whether MAP would be accepted within the fold of Pakatan Harapan remains unanswered.
Earlier PH made one exception in the admittance of PPBM, I doubt that the PH component parties would be prepared to allow MAP inside PH.
Well, after more than one year or so, Indians, in general, are not happy with the performance of PH.
Some are thinking that ethnic parties are still needed to advance Indian interests.
Perhaps Waytha might be thinking along these lines, although how he will wiggle out of the multiracial rhetoric remains to be seen.
If Indian leaders like Waytha are not fighting for the rights of the ordinary people, how can the new party obtain the desired leadership?
P Ramasamy is the Penang deputy chief minister II.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.