Soon upon his release, P. Uthayakumar, the Hindraf founder, told The Malaysian Insider that he is considering establishing a new political party.
Q: What are your political plans? Would you join PKR or DAP?
A: (Laughs uproariously…) Out of the question. I am not happy with the two parties and what they have done for the Indian community. They did not do enough in the critical areas that really matter.
Q: What are the critical areas?
A: One is land… land for Tamil schools, temples, squatters and crematoriums… they did not do much. The Pakatan ruled five states and they were masters over land but they did not do much. In Penang there are only 28 Tamil schools but nothing has been done… even with an Indian as deputy chief minister. They could have done, but have not in over one year in power. If they solved the land matter they could have solved 70 per cent of the problems of the Indian community. How can I join their political parties?
When asked if his struggle for the oppressed would include other races. Uthaya replied "Only Indians, for now."
Uthaya should take a leaf from the fate of MIC, a smallish race-based party representing the Indian community. Uthaya may have inspired the community to stand up against being oppressed and marginalised but a political party which depends on the Indian community alone is hardly going to make a big impact in any electoral competition.
Indian voters represent at most 30 percent of total voters in a constituency. It is highly unlikely that Uthaya's party is going to make any headway if it intends to become a third political force in the country without seeking the alliance of either PR or BN.
Going to the BN to form an alliance is highly unlikely. The way Hindraf leaders were detained and released at the whim and fancy of the BN government is irresponsible and high handed. Now, the 5 leaders have an option to sue the government for a just compensation.
Moreover, if the Najib administration is seriously seeking to redeem itself an action must be taken against Syed Hamid Albar for his part in approving the detention. Any minister cannot hide behind an executive order which cannot be challenged in the courts. This is the first legislation which must be deleted if any administration is keen to promote democracy and accountability.
Uthaya's Indian only party will have to seek an alliance with the PR. Hindraf was effective as a movement but the same cannot be said when this movement restructures to become a political party. As a political party, it needs the support of multiracial voters. Continuing its struggle purely from a race-based perspective is going to put off a number of potential supporters.
Its seat options may also be quite limited due to a low proportion of Indian voters in all constituencies.
A new Indian-based party in PR may create unnecessary frictions with both DAP and PKR, both with quite a high number of Indian voters and elected representatives.
What Uthaya needs to do is to seriously consider all available options and choose the best one which can help to end racial politics in the country and not trying to deepen it. Racial politics which appeared to favour one race against the rest is the main cause of marginalisation faced by the Indian community.