It appears that the majority of the Indians in Tenang will vote for the ruling BN on Sunday. Considering they are the most marginalised, poor and underpriviliged community in Peninsular Malaysia, this self-imposed masochistic tendency is certainly curious.
Since BN has been the government for the past five decades, a rational voter would have to arrive at athe inevitable conclusion that BN is responsible for their sad plight today. Therefore, you would have to vote for the alternative, if for no other reason than to send a message that BN must change their ways.
Visiting Tenang, one is presented with a stark vision of poverty and deprivation in the estates. Little has changed from 50 years ago. The Indians in the estate have received no benefit from the current rising commodity prices that have enriched their Malay and Chinese brethren. Their votes are cheaply bought by the BN; a bag of rice, paltry sums and yet more false promises. An oppositionist attempting to bring his message to these communities would find himself faced with numerous obstacles, including paid hecklers, threats and security guards who would not even allow them into the estates. Civil election campaigns, it would seem, are an anathema to the BN.
No comprehensive plan or strategy appears to have been envisaged by the BN or its Indian component, the MIC, to help these people. Surely a clear plan should have been put in place on how to help, educate and develop these hapless estate communities. If such an agenda is in place, it is certainly remarkably ineffectual.
The MIC, plagued by an autocratic structure and little room for free discourse, is able to attract few genuine, educated members to its fold. It seems to attract instead, for the most part, a type of mean and self-serving politician who has neither the vision nor the will to truly help his constituents. There can be no arguing with this, the current state of the community is living testament to their mediocrity.
Dominated by UMNO, MIC politicians rarely dare to fight or confront the government when their communitys rights are infringed. In the case of the destruction of the temple that led to the Hindraf rally and eventually BNs debacle in the 2008 elections, they were weak and vaccillating. And in their weakness, complicit.
In the never-ending death in custody cases they have largely remained silent and unwilling to provide leadership. When A.Kugans alleged beater was released by the court, and the outrage that followed that decision, a few lower ranking MIC politicians finally spoke up, but could only manage a weak parroting of PKRs quixotic Mr.Surendran.
And so the Indian community staggers on, to an indeterminate and clouded future. While always, like so many lemmings, voting for their oppressor.