Three years ago, 30,000 Indians of the Hindraf movement protested against the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) ethnically “unfair” policies. Three years later today, Najib’s policies and good attendance at Indian gatherings (organised by Sikhs, Malayalees and Telegus) are gathering more votes from the Indian community.
The Indians form a sizable 3 million of the population. According to a source, Mr. Najib identifies the importance of gathering this minority’s support. R S Thanenthiran, one of the five leaders of the then Hindraf who is now a pro-BN Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party founder, remarked that Mr Najib’s policies had eased many areas for the Indians. They include birth cert issuance, housing and welfare benefits. A Special Implementation Task Force set up to resolve Malaysian Indians’ issues also calmed protests.
The treatment of Hindraf leaders seem to have a great impact on the number of Indian votes BN gets. Two years ago, the BN lost its majority in Parliament after the Internal Security Authority’s (ISA) detention of Hindraf leaders. Using this assumption, Thanenthiran’s current lead in pro-BN looks looks set to bode BN well.
According to the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), which is BN’s main Indian party, nearly 60 to 65 per cent of the Indian population has returned to their side. But it may be just something on paper as according to Hindu Sangam deputy president Dr M Bala Tharumalingam, the Indian community still has emotional strings attached to the Pakatan, an opposition party, despite fledged confidence. So it seems like the BN will have to continue their campaign to triumph in winning full Indian hearts.
—Edited from The Malaysian Insider