Hindraf’s role in empowering the people

November 25, 2011

What we need is a revolution that brings people-orientated supervision of the elected reps so they don't run away with the loot after they are elected, says Hindraf's national advisor.

By N Ganesan

Today Nov 25, 2011, marks the 4th anniversary of the Hindraf rally that shook the Malaysian polity like nothing since 1969. It sounded the death knell for the old and heralded the beginning of the new.

Much is happening around in the world today that mirrors what took place on that fateful day, four years ago. It behooves us now, to take stock.

One very clear change that has occurred in our country is the heightening of political contention among the various political forces in the country.

The fact that BN had lost its long held ground and that the opposition in the country had gained ground now makes BN try harder to regain the lost ground and Pakatan to hold on to and increase the ground gained. A lot of the politics you experience today is all about that.

BN is still essentially Umno with a multiracial mask and Pakatan claims to be multiracial but has very little to show for that, at best is biracial.

The basic policies of the two coalitions are not fundamentally different. Nothing earth shattering has changed for most of us, beyond the illusions. Their policies are essentially the same, only they pander to different factions of the elite both in the country and internationally.

Anyone who disputes this either does not understand political economy or just want to conceal this fact as it is obviously detrimental to their cause.

The much touted two party system is nothing more than an illusion of a better democracy. Just having two parties and going through the rigmarole of choosing one over the other does not make for democracy as many in the elite will have us believe.

What is happening around the world today is revealing – very revealing of this political process we call democracy, where we go to the polls once in every so many years to choose one over the other.

Look at what is happening in the Middle East, in Egypt, in Syria, in Bahrain, in Yemen – specifically in Egypt. Look at Portugal, France,Germany,Italy,Greece,Ireland in Europe. Look at the Occupy movement across the United States.

Some countries which have not even seen election based democracy, as in the Middle East, are already sensing the lie in that. And they are attempting to go beyond that. The people in the European countries and in the USwho have had this brand of democracy for almost forever, are fast losing hope in what it can bring them.

Mass based organizations are springing up all over the world questioning the worth of this brand of Anglo Saxon democracy. The people are all fed up. Fed up of the nonsense the politicians spew – politicians of all shades. The democracy as we know it now is in shambles.

There is no more elite class

Even as parliamentary polls are scheduled for Nov 28in Egypt, the people are rallying in Tahrir square as I write this, and asking the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces who are calling the polls, to step aside and go back to their barracks.

The people have whizzed past the politicians with an understanding of how the system really works, way beyond the understanding any politicians of the country. They understand that the sacking of Husni Mubarak is not the end of their revolution, but rather the beginning.

Until they get the iceberg underneath of the ruling class out, they have not achieved anything from their revolution. It is the people of Egypt who should be ruling Egypt and the army should, like all the other departments of government be in their barracks.

The elite – there is no more elite. This is the understanding the people of Egypt have mustered in their short foray into public policy.

The Egyptian politicians have not gone as far as the people. Not that they do not know of such possibilities, they just probably do not seek it themselves. They have not sought out true change.

They just seek to give the current politics, new faces. That fits their real purpose. Of course if you asked them, they will reject such a scheme and say that they are really making the revolution happen. The Egyptian people have called their bluff..

It does not matter if the politicians are Right Wing Extremists or Centre Right or Centre Left, Moderates, or Socialists or Communists. They all cannot be trusted with power. They all begin to run riot after they are elected .

What we need in Malaysia

Yet the politicians will tell us we need a vanguard group or party, to work out what is in the best interest of the people, because the people are ignorant, they do not know. But yet look at Egypt, the people are showing wisdom way beyond anything the politicians and the elite are capable of.

The people are showing that they can well decide what is right for them. They are turning that conventional wisdom that the people do not know or cannot understand and must be led by a vanguard – upside down.

This brings me to the point about all of this on the 4th anniversay of the Hindraf rally. What we need in Malaysia is not a democratic revolution or democratic reform, that leads to nothing more than a two party system – what we need in Malaysia is a neo–democratic revolution.

A revolution that brings into place people orientated supervision of the elected representatives so they do not run away with the loot, after they are elected, as experience time and again shows.

The elected representatives have to be continuously supervised and held accountable by the people.

This is the role we in Hindraf have tried to play in the last four years for the marginalized and the poorest in our society.

For 51 long years the BN created, unfettered, the marginalized sections of our society. Then Pakatan in the three odd years after they took over in five states have just kept the marginalized where they had always been and nothing of any substance was changed in their lives inspite of all the “Makkal Sakthi” rallying calls by these same politicians.

Just promises, promises and failed promises. Or some lame excuses for their inability.

The Hindraf that rose four years ago, will continue to hold all our politicians accountable – politicians of all shades.

The lesson we are learning from what is happening around in the world now, only reinforces what we instinctively have picked up.

We will continue on this path of the neo-democratic revolution till others begin to see the wisdom that is so required, to bring about true change to our country and join us to ensure the politicians do what they really should be doing and do not run off.

N Ganesan is Hindraf’s national advisor.

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