Race-based parties still relevant, says MIPP president

Ravin Palanisamy

P. Punithan, president of the newly revamped Malaysian Indian People’s Party, says race-based parties are still very relevant in the current political climate. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 23, 2023.

P. PUNITHAN, president of the newly revamped Malaysian Indian People’s Party (MIPP), said race-based parties are still very relevant in the current political climate. 

“There must be an Indian political party to address Indian issues,” he said.  

“Multiracial political parties have multiple agendas, multiple people to represent. 

“Even the Indian leaders in the multiracial parties can’t be the voice for the Indian community,” the former Selangor MIC youth chief told The Malaysian Insight.  

Following the unveiling of its new line-up, MIPP, which was formed four years ago, will submit its application to be part of Perikatan Nasional (PN) as the coalition does not have Indian representation. 

Punithan, who is also the deputy chief of PN’s Indian committee, said MIPP seeks to strengthen Indian support for the coalition. 

He said the last general election as well as the recent six-state polls showed that race-based support for political parties was still relevant.  

“We have to be very clear of the current political situation and also the voting trends in the past elections. 

“The Chinese are voting for Pakatan Harapan (PH) because of DAP. The Malays are voting for PN because of Bersatu and PAS. 

“In PH, DAP is multiracial but dominated by a single race and its vote bank is also very much race-based. 

“There is a clear race-based voting trend. We cannot deny this. Otherwise, PN will not have 80% of Malay support and DAP 90% of Chinese support. This trend is expected to continue for maybe the next three general elections. 

“All the races are somehow inclined to race-based voting,” he said. 

Community agenda 

Punithan added that a race-based party could better address a particular community’s needs, saying that this could not be fulfilled by leaders from multiracial parties. 

“The problem with multiracial parties is they think they can handle all race-based issues, but we must be clear that until and unless they have an ethnic leader at the executive level, only then can it be implemented and bring changes. 

“But when it comes to providing leadership, how are you expecting a Chinese to provide leadership for the Malays or for the Indians? 

“Same goes for the Malay leaders. How are you expecting them to provide leadership for the Chinese and Indians, unless there is a particular ethnic leader there to tell them this is what they want? 

“If Malay and Chinese leaders can address Indian issues, why is it still that the Indian community is left behind?” he asked. 

Punithan said his party represented the Indian community and was answerable to them. 

“My members are Indians; I’m Indian, our audience and the people we are serving are Indians. So, in the end, we are answerable to the community. 

“Maybe 20 years down the road we can think about it (non-race-based parties) but not now. 

“We have Tamil, Chinese schools… but when it comes to politics, you speak about multiracialism,” he said. – December 23, 2023. 

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  • It is relevant for your own agenda.

    Posted 3 months ago by G Tan · Reply