In most of the previous elections the bulk of the Indian community has been supporting the ruling coalition despite the poor image of the Malaysian Indian Congress amongst the Indians. It was felt that the ethnic Indians, being just 8% of the total population, can not cause much ripples in the overall outcome of the elections.
However this time the impact has been definitely felt. According to a media report, backing from the Indians for the ruling coalition had plummeted from 82 percent to 47percent. The MIC, which had a track record of winning almost all the parliamentary and state seats contested, has been annihilated in this election.
The party managed to retain only 3 of the 9 parliamentary seats and 6 of the 19 state seats it contested. The President of the MIC (Samy Vellu), Deputy President, two Vice Presidents, the Youth chief and Women’s wing chief lost in the election.
One major contributing factor for the debacle of the Indian party was the advent of the Hindu Rights Action Force and their demonstration on 25 November 2007, that rocked Malaysia and brought the plight of ethnic Indians to the attention of the international media. The handling of this demonstration and subsequent follow up action by the MIC added fuel to the fire.
Whether Hindraf can lay claim for that ripple effect is moot. But what is an undeniable fact is that it contributed to the opposition gains.
Thus by 2010, Hindraf now the Human Rights Party, began chastising the Pakatanis, "Pakatan has failed the Indians, says Uthayakumar",
“We’ve sent letters to Opposition leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak and Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, informing them that we would be here today, at 11.30am, to discuss our issues,” Uthayakumar told reporters.
“We are very disappointed that they’re not here today. Their absence reflects their refusal to solve our problems.”
An increase in the Malay, Chinese and Indian vote of approximately 3%, 1% and 50% respectively gives us the Malay, Chinese and Indian support levels for BN at 74%, 61% and 82% respectively, delivering slightly over 72% of the popular vote and a vote majority of slightly under 3,700 votes, not far from the actual results.
According to Table 2, the increase in BN’s share of the popular vote in the only non-Malay majority polling station - Kerdau - was 13.5%. This increase is consistent with an increase in the Malay (6%), Chinese (10%) and Indian (20%) support for BN in this polling station.
"the swing in the Indian vote back to the BN, which is a more recent phenomenon, continues to pick up steam. Depending on the magnitude of the swing from 2004 to 2008, the expected swing in the Indian support for the BN could be anywhere from 20% to 50%."
The DAP must have not taken Uthayarkumar's statement too kindly, and with the Indian community support returning to BN fold, accused ‘Racist Uthayakumar a BN agent’.
It comes as no surprise then that the DAP, by it's token Indian MPs needed to shore up Indian support by yet another publicity stunt which they are well known for, hence the meeting with the BJP officials as posted by Datuk Rocky.
And copycatting Hindraf for good measure.
At the height of the Hindraf demonstrations, one of India most popular youth portals, The Viewspaper, in an article had this to say,
"The protests have aroused considerable public and political interest in India. With Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Karunanidhi asking the union government to interfere and help the Tamils. Now I am no foreign affairs expert but in my opinion, the Indian government should restrict itself to expressing its concern for the ethnic Indians purely because the issue is an internal issue of Malaysia and the Malaysian government should tackle it. The Indian government should respect the sovereignty of the Malaysian government and its laws however discriminatory they may be. Moreover, the Tamils are not even claiming to be NRIs (Non Resident Indians) or PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin). That they are demanding for a share in the national wealth (of Malaysia) is proof enough that they consider themselves Malaysian nationals and not Indian nationals."
Related reading from Panchsheel.