Archive for February, 2008

Opposition party’s YouTube is a hit with netizens

The Electric New Paper
February 22, 2008

JUST like in the ongoing race for presidential nominations in the US, Malaysian political parties are taking their campaigning to online video host site YouTube.

The English version of DAP’s video has been viewed more than 15,000 times at press time. The Malay version has been viewed almost 10,000 times.


And it seems the Democratic Action Party (DAP) has made the first inroads with a snazzy promotional video that has been delighting netizens since it was uploaded two weeks ago, reported Guang Ming Daily.

The video shows a relay race, with Malaysians of different races and ages passing the baton as they run or ride taxis along the country’s alleyways and thoroughfares.

The baton finally ends up in the hands of DAP leaders standing on the steps of Parliament.

The one-minute video comes in Malay and English versions.

Its cheeky message, ‘Just change it’, shown at the end, spoofs Nike’s ‘Just do it’ catchphrase. In Malay, the closing message says, ‘Jam ubah (Time to change)’. Read the rest of this entry »


Just Change!

DAP 2008 General Elections Theme Song

English Version
Mandarin Version
Tamil Version (Coming Soon!!)

Update : 3GP Version for you to play and share (via bluetooth) on your mobile phones.

Just Change MP3 ring tones :


Shanty Chong filed class action for 856,484 acres of land promised to Sabahans but alienated to outsiders

Two days ago, Shanty Chong, who will contest the Sandakan parliamentary seat on the DAP ticket, was the lawyer who filed legal proceedings in the Tawau High Court over 856,484 acres of land promised to Sabahans but alienated to outsiders.

Shanty is the lawyer for the class action on behalf of three plaintiffs, Nasir Manaf and Wong Chaw Yen of Lahad Datu and Henry Apok from Menggatal.

Ex-PBS Cabinet sued
Daily Express
20 February, 2008

Tawau: Three land applicants filed a suit Tuesday against the entire State Cabinet Ministers under the tenure of the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Government (1985-1994).

The suit filed in the Tawau High Court registry was in connection with a New Land Alienation Policy (Smallholders Scheme) which was introduced by the then Berjaya Govenrment on Dec. 4, 1979.

The three plaintiffs claimed that when PBS came to power, the then Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (first defendant) and his eight Cabinet Ministers failed to implement the promised policy.

Three of them – Pairin, Dompok and Kurup are presidents of PBS, Upko and PBRS parties respectively while most of the others no longer hold key political positions.

Pairin is a Deputy Chief Minister-cum-ural Development Minister in the current State Government while Dompok is a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Kurup is chairman of SLDB, a government agency.

The plaintiffs Nasir Manaf and Wong Chaw Yen of Lahad Datu and Henry Apok from Menggatal filed their writ of summons through the legal firm of Messrs Chee & Co of Tawau.

The other named as second to ninth defendants are Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Datuk Ahmad Bahrom Abu Bakar Titingan, Datuk Kadoh Agundong, Datuk Tan Kit Sher, Datuk Haji Nahalan Damsal and Datuk Chau Tet On.

In their statement of claim, the plaintiff stated that on Dec. 4, 1979 then Chief Minister Datuk Harris Mohd Salleh announced that the State Government had reserved a total of 906,330 acres of State land for landless Sabahans under a New Land Alienation Policy.

The lands were to be alienated directly or through Government agencies at 15 acres to each landless Sabahan. The landless were invited to register at the nearest Land Office throughout the State. The plaintiffs claimed that they had registered for the lands in the early 1980s and had each waited for the 15 acres land to be given to them as promised.

They claimed that the defendants, who were Ministers in the new PBS State Government that had just toppled Berjaya, had all the authority, power and obligation to fulfill the Berjaya State Government’s contracts and had even from time to time made statements assuring that every Sabahan would be given 15 acres to uplift the standard of living of the rural people. Read the rest of this entry »


Shanty Chong the new DAP MP for Sandakan?

Today, at the launching of the DAP Ipoh Timur election ops centre, I should be standing before you breathing with confidence, vim, vigour, vibrancy and vitality to plunge into the Electoral Battle of the Century.

In the past one week, I should be helping the DAP leaders to develop the great and critical issues facing the people and nation in the 12th general election when 11 million voters exercise their vote – but I feel a great sense of failure that I had not been able to do so as I had been “floored” by the Penang and Perak general election problems that had cropped up in the past several days.

In fact, for the first time I started my blog more than two years ago, there was not a single word from me in my blog yesterday!

With however heavy a heart and mind, I call on Party leaders, members and supporters to immediately and instantly re-focus and not to allow whatever heartaches and mental agonies to undermine their single-minded objective – to fulfill the potential and promise of the March 8 general election as the political watershed for the country, marking a major stride in striking down the ever-powerful Umno political hegemony and the marginalization of other Barisan Nasional component parties by denying two-thirds majority to the Barisan Nasional in Parliament, Perak and Penang.

I call on all party leaders, members and supporters to give the fullest support to the party in this general election particularly on candidate decisions by the party leadership, as sometimes very difficult decisions have to be made, with everyone rallying behind the DAP in the Electoral Battle of the Century.

At least yesterday there is uplifting news, this coming from Sabah – that our Parliamentary candidate for Sandakan will be a person whom I had the greatest respect and admiration, who had been Sessions Court judge in Tawau and Registrar of Borneo High Court – Shanty Chong Chui Lin, 57. Read the rest of this entry »


Electoral Battle of the Century – hope or despair for the future

(Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the launching of the DAP Ipoh Timur general election operations centre at Jalan Kampar, Ipoh on Thursday, 21st February 2008 at 11.30 am)

This is the launching of the operations centre for the DAP Ipoh Timur parliamentary constituency for the 12th general election on March 8, 2008.

In another two days on Sunday, 24th February 2008, the curtain raises for what I would describe as the “Electoral Battle of the Century” as the March 8 election will decide not just the future of Malaysia for the next five years, but what Malaysia is going to be in 2020 and the next half-century of our nationhood.

It is going to be the most important general election not only in 51 years but 100 years of Malaysia – with many Malaysians waiting for the outcome of March 8 polls to decide whether there is still hope for change in Malaysia and to fully commit the rest of their lives to the building of a great Malaysian nation which can take its proud, proper and rightful place in the global arena in the face of the challenges of globalization or despair that there is no hope for the future in this land of our birth and spark another debilitating brain drain of the best and brightest to benefit foreign countries – which have already seen the exodus and brain-drain of one-to-two million Malaysian talents as a consequence of the New Economic Plan, causing Malaysia to rapidly fall behind not only Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea but in danger of being overtaken by Vietnam, Thailand and horror of horrors Indonesia.

In short, what the Electoral Battle of the Century is all about – Is there hope for change in Malaysia whether 2020 or next 50 years or one can only despair about the future of a great nation which has lost its way! Read the rest of this entry »


Greater Scrutiny Needed for UM/PPC-MINT-Glomac Venture

BY Bakri Musa

The proposal by the University of Malaya’s governing board to let a private entity, PPC-MINT-GLOMAC, develop 27 acres of campus land deserves greater scrutiny. The university’s press release of February 9, 2008 did not contain sufficient details for the public or government to make an informed decision.

I am supportive of our universities going into partnership with private entities to develop campus assets, real estate and others. That would conserve the universities’ limited financial and other resources which they could then focus on purely academic matters. Creatively and properly structured, such partnerships would benefit the university and its community, the government and thus the public, as well as the participating private companies. Handled less competently and it would result in the rapacious stripping of valuable public assets to benefit only the lucky few. God knows, Malaysia has plenty of such examples, with the boondoggle Port Klang Development Project being the latest and most expensive. Taxpayers will ultimately be left holding the multi billion ringgit tab; it is criminal that our leaders would let such scarce funds be squandered.

According to the press release, the university would stand to collect at least RM312M, or RM200M plus the profit from the project, whichever is higher. Profit figures are tricky; they can be subjected to highly “creative” accounting. Enron posted record profits the year before it filed for bankruptcy. At the other end, it is the job of smart accountants to “reduce” profits (at least on paper) especially when reporting to tax agencies. A quick and dirty maneuver would be to simply inflate your expenses by paying your executives, consultants and directors outrageous compensations. Another would be to “expense” what otherwise would be capital expenditures; meaning, charging the expense in one year instead of spreading them over many. Read the rest of this entry »


Time to walk the talk


The time has come for us to walk the talk. The time is now because we are marching into battle with little resources. We need your financial assistance to help force changes to a system that continues to repulse and insult us after 50 years of independence.

I had intended to put up the appeal for support for DAP Election Fund together with support for a Fund for the Foundation for Justice, Freedom and Equality to promote the betterment of Malaysian society, including public litigation, publications, educational programmes as well as outreach to marginalised Malaysians, but the latter project will now have to wait until after the 12th general election.

Let us unite with single-minded objective – to turn the 12th general election into the electoral battle of the century to initiate meaningful change in Malaysia, first time in the nation’s 50-year history. For this we need your generous support for the DAP Election Fund.

* This post was originally blogged on 2008-02-13 5:02:47 pm Read the rest of this entry »


Po Kuan incommunicado

Media Conference Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang at the Perak DAP State hqrs in Ipoh on Tuesday, 19th February 2008 at 1 pm

There are four days left to Nomination Day on Sunday. It is most unfortunate that in the past few days, particularly in the past 72 hours, the DAP had shifted from pace-and-agenda setting for the 12th general election, which is the “Battle of the Century”, to one of complete disarray because of party problems particularly over Fong Po Kuan’s shock announcement that she will not contest in Batu Gajah parliamentary seat and other general election and candidature questions.

DAP leaders have been trying to reach Po Kuan since Sunday but have not been successful as she is incommunicado. From the public responses to her and my blogs, she should know that she is held in very high regard as the voice of the oppressed and beacon of hope of the marginalized.

We all hope that Po Kuan can reconsider to return to the frontline of the Battle of the Century in the 12th general election for the third contest in the Batu Gajah parliamentary seat.

I fully respect the right and responsibility of the media to report and chase news and undoubtedly, Po Kuan and the DAP’s general election problems are newsworthy.

However, the media should be fair and balanced in the coverage of all newsworthy party developments, not just of the DAP but also of Umno, MCA, Gerakan,, MIC and all other Barisan Nasional component parties. Read the rest of this entry »


Samy Vellu’s days are numbered – Subra as next MIC leader

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has become the most unpopular politician in the country and probably in Malaysian history, being booed, jeered, car blocked, thrown stones, rotten eggs and even slippers almost every day in public places.

This public rejection of Samy Vellu has spread to MIC and Barisan Nasional (BN) functions, with other MIC and BN leaders becoming also the target of public resentment and fury, as illustrated by the meet-the-people session led by Perak Mentri Besar and Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali in Buntong, Ipoh yesterday.

The political days of Samy Vellu, MIC President and sole Indian Cabinet Minister for over 28 years, are numbered. Moves in fact are afoot for the former deputy president, Datuk S. Subramaniam, to become the next MIC leader as Samy Vellu is slowly phased out of the political scene.

I expect Subra to make a political comeback on Sunday on his nomination as a Barisan Nasional candidate for the 12th general election and preparatory to his joining the Cabinet – something Subra had been denied and been waiting for nearly three decades. Read the rest of this entry »


Mandate of heaven this nation awaits

Dr. Azly Rahman

Sometime ago, I wrote these:

1)”Let our children learn that it is terrifying to be corrupt; such as to build palaces while the homes of the poor are demolished. Let us teach them to vote with their conscience.”

2) “The current regime cannot solve the problems it creates. It must dismantle itself, die a natural death, destroy the symbols of power it has abused, and let a peaceful renewal take its natural course.”

We have 13 days of campaigning period and after that, the opportunity to exercise our fundamental rights as Malaysian citizens. We are doing this at a time when our political system is in utter chaos – the three branches of government are growing more visible thorns and climbing onto each other, while the roots are diseased in this wasteland called democracy in which the air is foul and toxic. Is this a curse of our obsession with the number 13?

These 13 days are crucial for our nation’s future. It might not be as dramatic as 10 days that shook Russia in October 1917 but nonetheless it is a time when the change we need is now. The process of getting there is “perestroikic”. The previous ruling regime that has served Malaysia for 50 years too I believe is asking for radical change to happen. This feeling resides in the collective unconscious of our race-based politics. It will be our bipolarist Freudian moment of Malaysian Machiavellianism. The calm of Mahathirism is now creating a storm of unknown proportions. Read the rest of this entry »


Just Vote opposition to deny BN 2/3 Majority

by Richard Teo

I would like to refer to the Malaysiakini article ‘Finally a chance to wrest Penang.’

In this article, Ronald Quay seems to contradict himself.His caption seems to suggest there is a good chance of the opposition wresting Penang from B.N and yet in the same breathe predicted that’B.N will still win the General Elections ,hands down’What is perhaps galling is his statement that’the Barisan national is still the best party to govern Malaysia today’.

If Ronald is so confident that his theory of opposition contesting the State seats as oppose to contesting the Read the rest of this entry »


Freedom of the press

By Ishwar Nahappan

Dr Mahathir thrust a deep dagger into the heart of fundamental and civil liberties of Malaysia. This is the legacy that he will be known best for. Progressively under his rule the concept of “Free and Fair” elections were thrown out of the window.

The expression “Free and Fair” incorporates many underlying principles including legal, ethical, and internationally accepted historical conventions. It does not just mean the freedom to vote. An open free press to express its views without duress and manipulation is a fundamental liberty which is the absolute right of ALL MALAYSIANS OF ALL RACES.

The newspapers and visual media (government controlled) are blanketed and filled with goodies and ang pows from the barisan government and all opposition activities are blocked and blacked out by a pliant press and media under the control and ownership of the constituent parties of barisan. UMNO or UMNO members control the New Straits Times, Berita Harian, The Malay Mail, the Utusan, etc. MCA control the Star and Nanyang Siang Pow and Datuk Samy Vellu’s personal family members control the Tamil Nesan.

Freedom of the press in Malaysia is like a wayang kulit, now you see it now you don’t. Or a water tap which can be turned on and off or reduced to a trickle whenever the government so chooses.

The press deliberately ignores:

• Any mention by the opposition of continuing breaches of civil liberties, the incidents of endemic corruption, acts of wasteful expenditure, the list could go on and on but I will save that for another day.

• It now appears that Bukit Bintang has 5,000 new postal voters who have suddenly appeared without any logical or legitimate rhyme or reason. One should ask WHY and the reason being is to neutralise one community’s voting strength.

• The leadership of the MIC is fast losing any residual credibility with the Indian community. Its great leader Datuk Samy Vellu has been harassed on two occasions in the last few days and just yesterday with eggs and slippers. Consequently more and more Indians are joining the DAP, totally frustrated with Samy Vellu’s self-centered and self-aggrandizing leadership. Last Thursday evening, at a dinner I hosted in Klang, 250 ordinary Indians, many of them from the MIC openly joined the DAP.

• Samy Vellu can’t even speak out and on behalf of 300 men, women and children who were demonstrating peacefully and calling them criminal to boot. Perhaps he should look at a mirror himself and adjust his coiffeur (hairdo), it might help him see things more clearly. A meaningful response to this horrendous act by the police was made by Datuk Anwar yesterday. His speech was reported in The New Paper.

Fortunately for us today and what makes this election a watershed is the power of electronic media communication both through the internet and the sms. The Thaipusam celebration which was boycotted by the Indian community at large resulted in the number of devotees visiting Batu Caves reducing to a generous estimate of approximately 250,000 people as opposed to the usual 800,000 – 1 million people. Samy’s days are numbered. It could not happen sooner. He will be the fourth of a pack of rotten apples who came to power in the seventies who so spoiled Malaysia. I wish him a peaceful retirement.


How to Stop Cars and Win Enemies

By Farish A. Noor

When it comes to dealing with the grouses of the Malaysian public – many of which happen to be legitimate, mind you – it would seem that the benighted leaders of our blessed country have read every single page of the stupid book.

We recall the period when we, the Malaysian public were told by our – Malaysian – government that we had the right to speak up and that our voices would be heard. We were assured that we had the right to speak, to raise our concerns, to voice our opinions and to even state our differences and disagreements in this new Utopian, idyllic public space that had appeared out of nowhere. But no sooner than had we opened our mouths to utter the first sentence beginning with “But…”, the tear gas canisters were shot in our faces, the batons were raised, the water cannons were put to work. It is hard, as I wrote not too long ago, ‘to listen to the people while you gas them in the face’.

The latest (of many) instances of back-tracking came with the defensive posture taken by the senior leadership of this country in the face of the demands voiced by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) of Malaysia. I write this as someone who is concerned about the poverty and growing income gap among all Malaysians, and not Hindus solely. And while I cannot lend my support to any grouping that is sectarian and exclusive by nature, neither can I deny the fact that many of the complaints raised by Hindraf happen to be real – or at least really felt – by the members and supporters of the movement itself. Read the rest of this entry »


Financial Autonomy To Universities A Good Start

by M. Bakri Musa

The decision by Minister of Higher Education Datuk Mustapa to grant financial autonomy to public universities is a good start. He should not stop there however; he should also push to extend academic, management, and other freedoms. Our universities will forever remain trapped in mediocrity as long as they remain within the clutches of the civil service.

University of Malaya Law Professor Azmi Sharom says it best, “If we love our universities, we must set them free!”

It shows how cumbersome the administrative machinery of the government is that such a simple decision would take months if not years to implement. It would involve among others changing the various laws and regulations, right down to employment and procurement practices.

Further, with the coming elections, there is no assurance that Mustapa will remain in his present post. His successor may make yet another policy U-turn that regularly afflicts our education system. Even if Mustapa were to keep his present position, there is no guarantee that he could overcome powerful forces that would resist ceding control of our universities. Read the rest of this entry »


Po Kuan – Malaysia needs you to create history to deny BN 2/3 parliamentary majority

It’s 2.45 am. Endless series of meetings, internal and external, in the past 72 hours, putting me on the road from Petaling Jaya to Perak, Penang and down to Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, including two ceramahs with Po Kuan in Batu Gajah parliamentary constituency on Friday night and the launching of two election operation centres (Tebing Tinggi and Menglembu in Perak) as well as visit to traditional DAP stronghold in Kuala Lumpur, the Bukit Bintang parliamentary constituency, but which has now become a “danger” seat because of electoral manipulation in the influx of over 6,000 postal voters.

Have been up for 22 hours – including a five-hour marathon meeting of DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat leaders which ended with primary agreement for one-to-one contest between DAP or PKR with the Barisan Nasional in Peninsular Malaysia states – with the last meeting just ended an hour ago.

Very tired but no thought of sleep until I blog about Fong Po Kuan. Not just because I have been made the villain causing Po Kuan’s announcement that she would not contest in the 12th general election but also because of her qualities.

At about 2.30 p.m., I received calls asking why I had forced Po Kuan to retire from politics, as AIFM (Chinese) received by motorists had carried news flash that Po Kuan had announced her resignation from the DAP because of her unhappiness with me in forcing her to contest in another constituency.

I never did such a thing and Po Kuan never resigned from the party – but the damage was done, as first impressions (however false) are most lasting, that I had forced Po Kuan to resign from the DAP because I was forcing her to contest in another constituency apart from Batu Gajah. Talking about “eating dead cat”!

The party never asked Po Kuan to change constituencies, as all party leaders had expected and fully supported her to contest for the third time in the Batu Gajah parliamentary seat. Read the rest of this entry »


Traditional DAP stronghold Bukit Bintang has become a “danger” seat – the Battle for 5Cs

I have chosen Bukit Bintang as the first DAP parliamentary constituency to visit after the dissolution of Parliament on Wednesday because this traditional DAP stronghold for over three decades has become a “danger” seat through dirty electoral tricks with the influx of over 6,000 postal votes since the 2004 general election.

DAP can lose the Bukit Bintang parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election, not because the people of Bukit Bintang have ceased to support the DAP and decided to abandon their historic role as the national political vanguard for justice, equality and freedom in Malaysia but because of electoral hanky-panky and the most lopsided playing field for Bukit Bintang parliamentary constituency in 50 years.

If the two-term DAP incumbent Fong Kui Lun loses Bukit Bintang parliamentary constituency on March 8, it is not just a personal or a DAP party loss, but a major setback of historic proportion for the long, hard and grueling political struggle to create a fair, just and equal Malaysia where all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, can have an equal place under the Malaysian sun.

If Fong Kui Lun is defeated in the traditional DAP stronghold of Bukit Bintang, it will be the triumph of all that is wrong with our country not only in the past quarter-century, but also in the past four years of Abdullah premiership. Read the rest of this entry »


Samy Vellu should apologise to ISA detainees and peaceful demonstrators for equating them as “criminals”

MIC President and the sole Malaysian Indian Cabinet Minister for over 28 years, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has become the most unpopular Malaysian Indian leader in the country, being booed and jeered almost daily by the Malaysian Indians in the country.

Last night, as reported by the press, Samy Vellu was again the target of boos and jeers by Indian crowds in Prai, Penang. This is the New Sunday Times report: “Mob jeers Samy Vellu, blocks his car”:

BUTTERWORTH: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu went through a harrowing experience last night when some 100 people blocked his car and demanded the release of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) protesters detained at an illegal rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The crowd surrounded and banged his car as he was leaving SRJK (C) Chung Hwa 3 in Prai here after attending a function at 9pm.

The works minister was earlier escorted to the car after a mob started to jeer him. Read the rest of this entry »


Police crackdown on Hindraf rose campaign – another day of international shame for Malaysia

Another day of international shame for Malaysia – the firing of tear gas, chemically-laced water cannon and use of excessive force by the police against peaceful demonstrators and children during today’s Hindraf rose campaign in Kuala Lumpur .

Over 200 people have been arrested, reportedly including children, with allegations of manhandling by police.

Why was it necessary for the crude display of police force against peaceful Malaysians and children who wanted to use the Valentine Day to present roses to the Prime Minister at the Parliament grounds and to appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the five Hindraf leaders unjustifiably detained in Kamunting Detention Centre under the Internal Security Act? Read the rest of this entry »


Sack Zam as “caretaker Information Minister” if he continues to misuse RTM/Information for BN propaganda and spread falsehoods against Opposition

I had commended the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman for fixing a 13-day campaign period for the 12th general election, which is longer than the previous five general elections between 1986 to 2004, i.e. 10 days each in 1986, 1990 and 1995, nine days in 1999 and eight days in 2004.

This is however only a small step towards conducting a free,fair and clean general election and there are many areas which the Election Commission Chairman must address to ensure that the Malaysian election system can be internationally acclaimed as of world-class standard in terms of its efficiency and being fair, free and clean.

For a start, I call on Rashid to address two issues:

Firstly, make nomination for the general election a disqualification-free process. At present, preparing for nomination is as traumatic as preparing for a major legal case for lawyers or sitting for higher degree examinations in universities.

Let us have a disqualification-free nomination process whereby no proposed candidate could be disqualified for any technical mistake in filling up the nomination form. There should only be disqualification of candidates for fraudulent claims but not for technical mistakes which should be allowed to be corrected during or even after the nomination. Read the rest of this entry »


Hindraf and the Pluralisation of the Malaysian-Indian Community

By Farish A. Noor

Since it came to the public stage of Malaysian politics the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) of Malaysia has been cast as a troubling phenomenon, but to whom? Predictably the reaction of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and its leadership has been to respond to Hindraf’s demands by stating that it is a troublesome organisation that is bent on dividing (and consequently weakening) the Indian community. Hindraf however has defended its actions on the basis that the MIC has singularly failed to defend the interests of the Hindus of Malaysia, and that the leadership of the MIC is entirely beholden to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition instead. The vernacular Malay press in turn has attacked Hindraf on the grounds that it was seen and cast as being ‘anti-Malay’; though Hindraf in turn has proclaimed its loyalty to the concept of Malaysia as a universal idea while rejecting the notion of Malay cultural and ethnic supremacy.

Needless to say, these manifold configurations and postures has made it difficult to locate Hindraf on the Malaysian political landscape; but it has also expanded that very same political landscape to include a new range of disaffected and marginalised political actors. What many critics have failed to recognise is that despite the verbal pyrotechnics employed by Hindraf, it has actually contributed to the pluralisation and complexification of the Indian minority, and by doing so has rendered the simplistic mode of race-based politics in Malaysia more and more difficult.

While Hindraf’s appeal to the Indian minority in Malaysia is primarily communal and sectarian it has also introduce a cleavage – both political and ontological – in the Malaysian-Indian community itself. Hindraf’s sustained efforts to highlight the marginalisation, alienation and discrimination in all walks of life did not merely challenge the staid rhetoric of the Malaysian state whose brand of multiculturalism dates back to the mode of race-relations first developed during the colonial era, but more importantly rendered hollow the MIC’s claim to be the main representative, patron and protector of the Malaysian-Indian community.

Many of the accusations levelled by the leaders of Hindraf towards the leadership of the MIC and its President Samy Vellu in particular were based on long-held grouses that were nurtured over Samy Vellu’s long stewardship of the party: During the time of Samy Vellu the MIC expanded its patronage machinery and used its educational outreach unit, the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) to sponsor the education of more than 10,000 Tamil schoolchildren. In 1982 Maika Holdings was created by the MIC to help pool together the economic resources of the Indian minority so that they could collectively invest in Malaysia’s economic development. Maika however was criticised by some as a patronage arm of the MIC, despite the fact that it was built from the collected sum of RM 106 million that was raised by many poor Tamil families. Following a succession of mismanagement scandals, Maika faced serious losses and many of the Tamil families could not recover their investments. In the face of growing criticism of his leadership Samy Vellu maintained a strong grip on the MIC: S. Subramaniam, who was brought into the MIC during the time of former MIC President Manickavasagam, was one of the strongest opponents of Samy Vellu, and accused the latter of mismanagement of the party. Nonetheless Subramaniam was defeated at the MIC Annual General Meeting of 2006, shoring up Samy Vellu’s position in the party even further. Read the rest of this entry »