I met a Malaysian Indian HINDRAF supporter from Terengganu this morning when I had my breakfast at a restaurant opposite the Taman Pudu Ulu park in Cheras, KL.
Sensing that he was paying the utmost attention to the latest newspaper reports about tomorrow's 12th Malaysian General Elections, I thought why not interview the man and get his feelings published here in the internet since we can't expect RTM, TV3, NTV7 and ASTRO to ever have the decency to really allow the Malaysian grassroots speak their minds as they actually feel?
We can only depend on Malaysiakini.com to allow the voices of the Malaysian people to be heard through it's news portal and online tv?
So, this is my interview with Mr.Nathan and at the last part, his friend, Miss Shanti who spoke about the people's wish to see change?
Nathan spoke in Tamil interspersed with English , so I'll try to share with you the gist of his sayings.
He started by expressing his wish to see the 5 HINDRAF leaders who are now in detention under the Internal Security Act at the Kamunting Detention Centre to be released by tomorrow?
He asked :
- why the MIC is only talking about building more temples now but did nothing to stop the temple demolitions before the election campaign period?
- why the MIC is only now coming out with all kinds of pledges and not even bothered to listen to the Malaysian Indians before this?
- why does the MIC act as if there is no other person suitable to be the leader of the Indians and why do they have to suffer all these years under this fellow @ Samy Vellu?
He replied as to why the MIC did not bother to do all that before this?
There has never been anything from the MIC on TV before this elections campaign and they were simply not bothered about reaching out to the Malaysian Indians all these last 50 years?
I further asked him about his views regarding Samy Vellu seeking re-election in Sg.Siput?
He said that as far as he is concerned, he'd prefer that Samy Vellu just resign and leave.
Nathan also stressed that he supports Dr.Jeyakumar who is standing against the MIC President there in Sg.Siput.
He also said that if he was a voter there in Sg.Siput, he'd surely vote against Samy Vellu!
I then stated my opinion that HINDRAF's leaders had actually erred when they came up with their outrageous 18 points demands against the British Government and that by having done so had actually sort of harmed their legitimate grievances?
I asked him as to what he thought about that?
He said that actually the HINDRAF leaders had legitimate claims but because of the way that their protests were mishandled or turned around by the authorities, their cause had gone awry.
I did not want to aggravate matters between me and Mr.Nathan for if I wanted to I could have raised the matter of HINDRAF calling us Muslims as Islamic extremists and other foul terms that the leaders of HINDRAF had blatantly stated in black and white in their papers?
So I just let it slide and proceeded in letting him speak.
I tried to appease his state of mind by stating that unforeseen circumstances had led to the HINDRAF leaders getting detained and thus have to just bear with their current predicaments?
Nathan countered by saying if that was the situation why arrest all 5 of the leaders?
I didn't have the heart to rub it in to him that those 5 are in Kamunting today as a result of the consequences of their actions in arousing the Indians sentiments which had in effect brought about a heightened sense of fear and insecurity amongst the nation's citizens and that the authorities just had acted as they did to avoid the situation from getting out of control!
Sure people have been hurt in both sides and looking at how things turned out during the subsequent HINDRAF protests and 'rose for the PM' gathering which again saw the FRU smash down the protesters with force and arrest 200 of the gathered Indians?
I mean what can any common citizen do or say about something that is not within our control?
Nathan asked that if the BN Government was really acting out of fear of things getting out of hand as what happened to the HINDRAF protesters, why did they not arrest the PAS leaders under the ISA as a result of the Batu Burok incident during BERSIH's gathering in Terengganu?
I didn't quite catch his question during the interview and it escaped my attention for I would surely have referred him to the news of so many of the PAS supporters who got whacked and even two of the PAS members who were shot with live bullets by the undercover FRU agent?
Nathan had said that no one had been assaulted by the FRU in the Batu Burok incident!
Mr.Nathan, if you are reading this, please do a Google Search about the incident and see for yourself how many Malaysians were hurt and arrested by the security apparatus of the BN Government?
So, you are wrong there brother! People did get hurt! There were injuries suffered by the BERSIH supporters! Opposition members were arrested and whacked like hell by the FRU!
Just like your HINDRAF brothers and sisters here in KL! So, there's equality there. Both the Malays and Indians got whacked but the Malays got it worse! They got shot with bullets!
They could have died?
Did you know that after the two Opposition members were released from hospital after surgery, they still got arrested and charged in court for taking part in an illegal assembly?
I then said I understand about his feelings but also referred him to the root cause of the HINDRAF grievances - the illegal Hindu temple demolitions!
I pointed out to him that the reason behind the authorities action against such temples was because those temples were deemed to be illegal and built without local authorities approvals?
He agreed but said that he is perplexed as to why only lately has the government @ MIC started to look into the matter of the illegality of such temples and stayed aloof all these 50 years?
He then asked about :
- why only now did the government bother to consider the Indians demand for more cabinet ministers from their community?
- why only now are the government considering making Thaipusam a public holiday?
- why only now are the government starting to look into their problems?
He also pointed out the way that things were run in the MIC where there was a lot of internal squabbling and finger pointing amongst the leaders who were constantly bickering amongst themselves, giving rise to internal divisive factions and creating separate camps within the Indian community themselves! He lays the blame on who else but Samy Vellu?
I then told him that had MIC practiced a one term, two term period for it's leadership to hold on to power, the MIC would not be in it's present predicament?
He nodded in agreement to that.
I was telling him about the onemanship practiced by Samy Vellu when he interjected by saying that at the moment there is no difference between the way politics are run in India and Malaysia?
I then asked him about how things are for Indians in Terengganu?
He replied that there are only about 200 Indian families in Terengganu and not much is being done by the MIC in Terengganu for them.
Nathan also pointed out that in Terengganu there are certain provisions for Muslim students to enter universities by way of scholarship from foundations such as Yayasan Islam Terengganu but nothing being provided by the MIC for Indian students?
He lamented the fact that when his child entered university, no one from the MIC bothered to come and even acknowledge or give any show of support to them?
He said that he didn't make any noise about it for if he had done so, he would only have been deemed to be a troublemaker and may even get shot?
I countered that we must speak out the truth and not fear no one for our lives are only temporary here and we wouldn't be here forever?
He said that he doesn't fear speaking out and he told me to just publish this interview as it is.
Mr.Nathan also said that for Malay students, there were certain assistance from the authorities by way of certain grants in cash form to the tune of RM1800 each but for Indians there was nothing?
What did the MIC do for them?
He said that he had been in Terengganu for the last 5 to 6 years but no one from the MIC has ever come and done anything for them?
He said that if they wanted anything, it is they themselves who had to go seeking help from anyone but the MIC has never bothered to come see them?
I concluded the interview by asking him if he had anything to say to the Malaysian Indians with regard to tomorrow's elections?
He asks that Malaysian Indians consider properly as to their present situations and vote only those who they can expect to serve them properly and to cast their votes to only those who are deserving of the people's support?
Nathan also asks Indians to think before voting and as a final statement expressed his appreciation to the HINDRAF's leaders for their sacrifices and prays that success comes to the sole HINDRAF leader who is contesting the elections even from the Kamunting Detention Centre?
I then asked Shanti, his friend about what she wishes for tomorrow's election?
Shanti then said that she wishes the Indians to vote only those whom they know can serve the public well and not simply waste their votes for just anyone?
I then added that it's been 50 years of rule by the BN over us and it is high time for the nation to see a change in government.
There must be change because the incumbent ones are getting too big for their breeches and have turned arrogant over the years!
Shanti pointed out how the BN are running their campaign ads in Astro and trying to intimidate the people in not changing the government and risk their future by going against the BN run coalition government?
Shanti says that it is not that the people want to go against the government but it is only their situations that they want to change!
I absolutely agree with that!
As citizens of this country, they too have their rights to be given government assistance ( in their case from the MIC) and deserve to receive all forms of assistance from all government agencies.
Not that they were born in the skies and do not deserve to be called as 'bumiputra's'?
Has anyone here been born in outer space?
I am sure that there is none right?
Maybe Malaysia will send it's 'Angka Sawan' to space next with his spouse to achieve that record?
What record you ask?
Why the unthinkable smashing record of having the first human couple to have marital relations in the International Space Station!
Maybe they could conceive a child in space to merit achieving such a super blockbuster record for the Malaysian Book of Records?
Jokes aside, I concluded the interview by thanking both of them and am wishing here for all Malaysians to vote responsibly tomorrow and bring the much needed change in government for Malaysia!
Selamat Mengundi Malaysia!