Hindraf – the Hindu action force group supposedly defending the rights of Indians in Malaysia – is said to have made a statement in which it wishes to join the ranks of the Pakatan Harapan (Pakatan) opposition coalition.
Political analysts, divided on the issue of why the Hindraf should not join the Pakatan, told The Independent there were two theories at play in this move.
The first one is the Hindraf want to play the ‘king maker’ in the opposition group – being pure optimists as they are and or they want to be the ones who can sink the Pakatan Harapan boat, like the Islamists of the PAS did in the last General Elections!
“Pakatan should say no to this move, as it will derail the opposition’s plans for a non-racially-oriented society and it will also defeat the purpose of the opposition groupings existence,” said one of the experts who spoke to The Independent incognito.
In its statement reported by Malay Mail Online yesterday, Hindraf said it would apply to join the Pakatan Harapan federal opposition pact with the plan to take on the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) in straight fights in the next General Elections or GE14.
One of the Hindraf chiefs, Waythamoorthy Ponnusamy was appointed Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department but resigned subsequently, claiming his community did not get any advantages with him joining the Barisan Nasional government.
Hindraf Support Dents Pakatan’s HOPE
However, his support for the BN in the GE13 did dent the chances of the Pakatan in some marginal seats, won by the MIC in the 2013 elections.
If the Pakatan were to allow the Hindraf to join the organisation, it will impact the Muslim votes and it will also lead to a mighty battle on the air waves between the Hindraf (in Pakatan) versus Islamist preacher Zakir Naik (in Barisan Nasional).
This will tilt the Muslim votes against the Pakatan in the Malay heartland, certainly in the areas where only government controlled television stations are dearly watched and followed.
Hindraf was created an Indian rights non-governmental organisation and once it started to do politics, it lost its momentum but that does not mean it should be allowed to join Pakatan.
However, a political expert – whom we cannot name here – told The Independent the Hindraf joining the Pakatan would result in a low shift of votes among the Malays and the Hindus.
He said the marginalised Hindus in the country would continue to support the Pakatan Harapan as they did in most of the elections where they supported the opposition.
But in the villages, he said, the tendency will be for the Hindus to accept electoral bribes and swing their votes towards the Barisan.
“But that will not impact on the overall support the Pakatan has from the Indians, as they are not primarily in favour of the BN regime,” he said.
Nevertheless, it will definitely pit the Hindraf against people who supports Zakir Naik, he said.
“The Hindraf is actually playing a political game in which it is telling the BN that they are too close to Zakir Naik and his perceived anti-Hindu rhetoric,” he said.
Another expert in local politics told The Independent on the phone that while the Hindraf sees itself as influential, it should go fight the MIC on its own.
This will prove that the Hindraf has lost its glamour, once and for all.
The expert also said Hindraf is only a marginal force and joining the Pakatan opposition will “not bring any benefit for the Pakatan, though they might have a little impact on the vote count.”
Waythamoorthy said the Hindraf can help the Pakatan win in the 31 parliament seats; which are rural seats.
He said the Hindu movement have enough ground support to move the voters in those 31 seats.
“That’s why we can add value to them. We give and take,” he said as reported by the Malay Mail Online.
The 31 federal seats, he said, are in Kedah, Perak, Selangor, the Federal Territories, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Pahang.
However, our political experts said they may still have influence in only 4-5 seats, where the Hindus have a larger voting power.
“The Hindu vote is not strong in 31 constituencies, and that means the Hindraf is not capable of moving non-Hindu votes in those areas,” said one expert.
In the 13th general election, MIC won four out of nine parliamentary seats, and five out of 18 state seats it contested.