If there has been one weakness in the Opposition camp since 2008, it has been their misplaced confidence — or perhaps more accurately, their overconfidence — of their popularity amongst Indian voters.
Unlike the Barisan Nasional, the Pakatan Harapan does not include an ethnic Indian party. There are Indian members in PKR and DAP of course, but these parties are not ethnic-Indian based. There are still large groups of poor Indians in the estates and urban ghettos who are as communal as other races in the country, and who feel comfortable only with an organisation of their own kind.
If Malays still feel assured only if Bersatu is an all-Malay party, and if the Chinese feel assured because DAP is a predominantly Chinese party, then we must be fair and accept the inevitable conclusion that Indians also want political representation through an Indian-based party.
Given that, I would like to propose to Pakatan leaders to rope Waythamoorthy and the Hindraf movement into the Opposition alliance. Although Hindraf will never be registered as a political party, Waythamoorthy and his friends can still be helpful allies to the Pakatan and help the coalition win crucial Indian votes in Johor, Perak, Kedah and Negeri Sembilan.
I know first-hand what Hindraf’s impact was in 2008, and although it is no longer the force it once was, it can still be harnessed and re-energised. Waythamoorthy is eager to help the Pakatan and has made a series of friendly overtures to Opposition leaders. Let’s reciprocate and bring Hindraf into the fold for that final push to the elections.
Waythamoothy has his detractors, but who doesn’t? A man who resigned from his position as Deputy Minister because he saw nothing worthwhile coming from the many Indian blueprints the Prime Minister waved around cannot be that bad. He is articulate and passionate in his belief that we must address the many problems of our country’s marginalised community. He may have made some unreasonable demands in the past, but then how do you get noticed in this country if you don’t try to shake people out of their comfort zone?
I hope that at their next meeting this month, the Pakatan Leadership Council can deliberate this issue and assess if Waythamoorthy can be a useful ally.