Saturday, March 29, 2008

Some advice for the new MIC Minister

Some advice for the new MIC minister
Dr AM Raj | Mar 25, 08 4:26pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Dr Subra: March 8 an awakening.

As a politician he knows how to be evasive when asked an uncomfortable
question like why was not the MIC given the Works Ministry. The fact
of the matter is that the MIC did try very hard to retain this
ministry but failed to do so.

Umno has been wanting to wrestle the portfolio from the MIC for a long
time. Of course, many in Umno fail to understand that the works
ministry is better off in the hands of a non-Umno minister so the
Umnoputras can shamelessly demand and get government contracts without
raising any eyebrows.

Nevertheless Dr S Subramaniam comes out in the interview as an
intelligent and dignified bearer of public office. The good doctor is
going to have his hands full. In all fairness, it must be said that
his predecessor in the cabinet, S Samy Vellu, was probably the most
hardworking cabinet minister.

How he managed with so little sleep and a frugal diet is a wonder. He
was also probably the only minister who personally answered phone
calls from the rakyat. The fact that Samy Vellu totally misread the
people's sentiments (probably aided and abetted by his staff of
various secretaries) contributed to his downfall.

The thousands of Indians helped by him to get contracts, loans,
scholarships and medical benefits did not count finally. He was like a
zamindar (land owner/chieftain) who dished out goodies on an ad-hoc
basis truly believing that he was doing the right thing. Indeed, many
Indians did benefit from his largesse and in a way, it is pitiful to
see them going for his jugular now.

So, Dr Subramaniam, I do have a few tips for you;

1. Emulate your predecessor in being a hardworking, disciplined
minister. You don't have to sleep only five hours a day like Samy
Vellu does and yes, you may continue being a vegetarian .

2. You don't have to inherit any personal staff of your predecessor.
It is better for you to bring in your own team if you are concerned
about your image.

3. Do not behave like a zamindar dishing out goodies. Those who get
the goodies will end up being ungrateful and those who do not not get
them will end up being your enemies. Instead, conceptualise your
vision to help poor Indians into a policy and demand that the
government act on it.

4. Do not be seen to be subservient member of the ruling coalition.
Demand that MIC be treated as an equal component of the ruling
coalition failing which you should consider pulling out of BN.

The MIC maintained the status quo by feeding on the fear that without
adequate Indian representation in the administration, the community's
needs would not be met. It may have been true in the past but not any

The 2008 general election has showed that the rakyat has matured and
voted across racial lines. The only ones who seem obsessed with race
seem to be the politicians. However, the MIC need not be written off.
It has a golden opportunity revamp itself into a dynamic party that is
sensitive to the needs of the poor and downtrodden Indians.

Eventually it is hoped that MIC, along with its friends in the BN will
form a single multiracial party a la PKR. Only then can we have a
truly credible two-party system that would be the envy of any plural
society. Someone did say that politics is far too important to be left
in the hands of politicians!

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