Five points in defence of Gobind

Yesterday the pro-tem chief of Urimai, P Ramasamy lamented the lack of Indian representation in the cabinet reshuffle even though Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Damansara) was made Digital Minister.

He viewed the new line up that dropped V Sivakumar who held the Human Resources Minister portfolio and Gobind’s appointment as a “big disappointment.”

“Surely, if Anwar had any respect for Indians, he would have appointed two Indians as full ministers. There are candidates in PKR and DAP who are qualified,” Ramasamy said, Malaysiakini reported.

“This is not to forget MIC candidates like M Saravanan – who served as human resources minister in Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s cabinet.

“Whatever happened to the promise made by Anwar to MIC during a meeting before the last state elections, where he promised MIC posts in the government,” Ramasamy asked.

Similar sentiments was also seen on social media.

The messages were cryptic as it did not mention Gobind directly.

“Now you can’t say you don’t know Hindi,” read one post.

Many wrote their messages in Tamil.

On that note, Punjabis speak Punjabi not Hindi even though they do understand and are competent in that language. Another point to note, Gobind is not the first Punjabi Sikh to face such criticism.

Earlier this year, eldest brother Jagdeep Singh Deo who is Penang Deputy Chief Minister II also faced similar issues. At that time, Ramasamy was ranting over the need to have a Tamil DCM II.

Gobind has already allayed these concerns. However I would like to put forth some points to those who are echoing Ramasamy’s sentiments.

First of, the Tamils, Malayalees, Telugus, Kannadigas, Punjabis, Gujaratis are all Indians. They trace back their ancestral lineage to India. So how is Gobind any less Indian than another ethnic Indian in Malaysia?

Second, going by ethnicity the Indians constitute only about 6.6 percent of the Malaysian population. Out of this percentage, there are about 100,000 Punjabis who are mostly Sikhs. There are Punjabi Hindus, Christians and Muslims too.

The 6.6 percent population is not even adequate to have a majority in any parliamentary seat.

Third, segregating a minority within a minority is bad.

India is having the Khalistani problem post 1984 because of the policies implemented by the late Indira Gandhi.

Malaysia cannot afford that. Thankfully the Punjabi Sikh community in Malaysia are not involved in such movements.

My fourth point is even in India everyone is a minority. Tamils are minority in all the Indian states apart from Tamil Nadu.

Fifth, at the end of the day, the competency of the ministers in resolving the issues faced by the public is what matters, not ethnicity.