In a recent interview with Free Malaysia Today ex-premier Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had pledge to economically empower the Indian community if the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) comes to power. It is a timely pledge particularly since a day earlier the former leader met with Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) chief P Waythamoorthy. The two men had discussed the possibility of the non-governmental organization (NGO) forming an alliance with the opposition either as the fifth component of PH or at least a partner to it. Ironically Tun Dr. Mahathir confessed in the FMT interview that during his 22-years of ruling Malaysia he had failed to improve the livelihood of the Indian community when he had the opportunity to do so. Tun Dr. Mahathir has however assured Waythamoorthy that things will be better for the Indian community under PH.
Thus far PH coalition members Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the People’s Justice Party (PKR) are receptive to HINDRAF joining given that its presence would boost support from the Indian community for the opposition coalition. Nurul Izzah has however stressed to HINDRAF though that it should agree to the conditions and the agenda of PH before it could be accepted into the coalition. Even so PH is acutely aware that Indian voters are the potential kingmakers in the forthcoming general elections because Malay voters are expected to split three ways – PH, Barisan Nasional and PAS. Notably the opposition is banking on HINDRAF’s disappointment with Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak to swing the Indian votes in their favor.
Lately the Indian community and the NGO finds themselves receiving a lot of attention from both sides of the political divide. It remains to be seen if HINDRAF will officially align itself with PH. HINDRAF must now weigh its options and carefully decide as to which side to support. The fate of the community it represents hangs in the balance. Does Tun Dr. Mahathir genuinely want to help the Indians or is this simply another one of his political ploy? A wrong decision and HINDRAF may find itself once again relegated to the periphery along with the hopes and dreams of the Indian community.