Saturday, February 15, 2014

A case of broken promises – again – to minorities, say analysts BY JENNIFER GOMEZ

A case of broken promises – again – to minorities, say analysts

BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
February 15, 2014
Malaysian Insider
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration signed a pact with Hindraf, promising to aid poor Indian Malaysians in return for their support in elections. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 15, 2014.Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration signed a pact with Hindraf, promising to aid poor Indian Malaysians in return for their support in elections. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 15, 2014.Caution to Malaysia's minority groups: beware of a government bearing promises and agreements before an election.

Several analysts interviewed by The Malaysian Insider said that this was one of the lessons to take away from P. Waytha Moorthy's resignation from the Najib administration and Putrajaya's inability to make good a 10-point solution with Christians over Malay Bibles and the use of the word “Allah”.

While they agreed that the Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) leader was equally to blame for his hasty move to sign a pact with Putrajaya days before the May 5 elections and for accepting a deputy minister's post after Barisan Nasional's (BN) victory, it was an obvious case of broken promises by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"Should Hindraf decide to engage in a public campaign to denounce the PM  and government agencies for their cynical disregard of the Indian electorate after making use of them during the recent elections, the damage to Najib personally and BN as a whole could be considerable and long lasting," said political analyst Dr Lim Teck Ghee.

He said that apart from Indians, other minority groups, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, had also been monitoring the progress of the Hindraf agreement with Najib.

Hindraf had said Putrajaya had been “dragging its feet” in delivering its promises to aid the poor Indian Malaysians in return for their support in the elections.

Waytha himself has been silent on his resignation and has not answered calls from the media. Najib, however, yesterday said he was disheartened by Waytha’s resignation, adding that the Hindraf leader should have tried to work with the administration and with colleagues to implement Putrajaya’s projects that would fulfil his cause.

In a statement, Najib had said: “I would like to stress that in line with my dream to form a more approachable government that always gives help to those who need it, we will implement socio-economic development programmes for the Indian community, as well as the other races".

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir agreed with Dr Lim, saying Putrajaya was bound to face challenges when making promises in future elections.

He said this was also applicable to the 10-point solution reached just before the Sarawak elections in April 2011 with the Christians over the import and distribution of Malay Bibles.

"Sometimes, perception is more real than reality, so it does not reflect well on PM Najib and BN that they did not deliver on their promises," he said.

Dr Lim said although Umno was a major partner in BN, there had been some optimism that it would moderate its "ketuanan Melayu" stance for the sake of 1Malaysia.

"Now it looks as if the 1Malaysia concept is well and truly buried, especially when other recent developments are also taken into account," he said in reference to recent cases of  incitement  of violence against Seputeh MP Teresa Kok over her Chinese New Year “Onederful Malaysia” video and other DAP leaders.

Independent analyst Khoo Kay Peng said the 10-point solution and the MoU with the Indian community were merely “political agreements to garner votes”.

"It is done to appease voters and cannot be viewed as a sincere effort by Putrajaya to come up with real solutions.

"This is because BN is race-based, and anything Umno does will be seen in the context of Malay rights," Khoo said.

He also said Waytha did not have any credibility left.

"Many Indians were disappointed that he had acted out of self-interest and that he and Hindraf had played a factional game.

"In this case, he is the bigger loser when compared with the BN," Khoo added.

Universiti Putra Malaysia's political scientist Dr Jayum Jawan, however, felt that Waytha had salvaged some honour by resigning.

He said this should be emulated by others in the government who did not agree with Putrajaya's policies.

"He has set a good example by resigning because he had said he would do so if the promises to the Indian community are not kept. This is what we are lacking in the government.

"As it is, there are a few of them who do not agree with cabinet decisions but are keeping quiet and staying put because they do not want to lose their government positions," Jayum said. – February 15, 2014.

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