BERITA DAILY LETTER: From Raghavan Nair, via e-mail

Another Indian group joins in the deluge of parties in Pakatan Harapan, what seems to be a political gambit towards capturing the elusive Indian votes by Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Pesta Ponggal Vanniar” held by the Indian Advisory Council, saw none other than the ex-prime minister on his supposed plans for the Malaysian Indians if Pakatan comes into power.

It has been three years since the launch of IACM by Mahathir himself, which promised to conjure up a workable plan for the Indian community as their founding priority, but little has come of this so far.

As the name of the event would suggest – Vanniar is a caste – is this yet another caste-based system being deployed by Mahathir to split and rule the Indians?

First, by having multiple parties fighting over Indian votes within Pakatan, then now a caste-based divide to further their cause.

Whatever happened to Hindraf, who ceremoniously joined Mahathir to go on a nationwide roadshow?

The formula being deployed by Mahathir is to be expected. One could take the a look at the legacy he created when he was the boss in BN by creating multitude of Indian parties other than MIC within BN to champion the Indian cause, which exist even till today.

At the event, the former premier said that he has not had many opportunities to address the Indian community. He even informed the crowd that he did not know what Ponggal is, after 22 years of serving as prime minister for all Malaysians.

Yet, he had the cheek to say that given the opportunity to rule once more, he would do more for the community.

What was the outcome of his rule? A grave decline in Indian intake into universities, further erosion in civil service employment, or rather the systematic reduction of Indian representation in all government posts. The only increase was in the negative spaces of criminality.

Indians were courted for all the wrong reasons, being a gangster paid the bills and took them out of hardship.

There was no other way out of the shackles, which were ignored by none other than Mahathir when he was the prime minister. If this was a court of law, he would be an accessory to a crime and be served due justice.

It was current Prime Minister Najib Razak who took steps to uplift Indians a little bit more seriously.

The infamous Hindraf five were freed in April 2009, the same time Najib stepped into office. After the historic Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur in 2007, five of its leaders — P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, K Vasantha Kumar, V Ganabatirau and Kengadharan — were arrested under the now repealed ISA on Dec 14, 2007.

Hindraf was then given the handshake and welcomed into the government fold, with a deputy minister post in hand.

Genuine or not, Najib took the first bold steps to change the course of history for Indians in Malaysia. Even now he has launched a 10-year plan called the Malaysian Indian Blueprint to progressively mainstream Indians into the country and its existing policies within this 10-year period.

Having ruled Malaysia, Mahathir’s racial influence trickled down from top to the lowest level and has remained saturated ever since. He swayed all important areas and institutions of the country towards race-linked differences, which did the Indian Malaysian community no justice.

Despite this man’s years of wrongdoing, it is preposterous that some Malaysians would actually root for him now. To Mahathir, the country has to remain his political fiefdom with people continuously falling for his baloney.

Today, there can be no more talk of exclusivity but only inclusivity. If there are any affirmative action policies to implement, then it should be based on needs rather than ethnicity, suiting only one particular race.

I may seem biased, but given the facts, all the verbal diarrhoea put forth by the opposition has not resulted in any workable nor concrete plan to date for the Indian community.

From the Gelang Patah Declaration, all that’s left now is just a void of uncertainty within Pakatan.