Political analysts, James Chin and Azmil Tayeb, have expressed doubts over the prospects of the newly formed United for the Rights of Malaysians Party (Urimai), a political entity primarily aiming at the Indian voter base in Malaysia. This skepticism is rooted in the recent state elections where the party's allies, Satees Muniandy and David Marshel, associated with Urimai, fared poorly in their respective constituencies.
The Urimai Challenge
James Chin from the University of Tasmania hypothesized that Urimai, focusing primarily on Indian issues, might struggle to gain traction among the Indian community due to a prevailing skepticism towards multiracial parties. Azmil Tayeb, of Universiti Sains Malaysia, presented a different perspective, arguing that the first-past-the-post electoral system dissuades Indian voters from supporting smaller parties with little prospect of victory. He emphasized the trend of Indian votes swinging to the opposition rather than to other multiracial parties.
The Pakatan Harapan Factor
Meanwhile, Azmi Hassan from Akademi Nusantara suggested an interesting dynamic. He proposed that Urimai could potentially impact the share of Indian votes for Pakatan Harapan (PH). This conjecture is motivated by the dissatisfaction among Indian voters with the treatment of P Ramasamy, Urimai's founder and former Penang deputy chief minister, during his tenure with the Democratic Action Party (DAP). This dissatisfaction is evident in the 15% drop in Indian votes at the state elections, as reported by analyst Bridget Welsh.
The Road Ahead for Urimai
The future success of Urimai, launched in Kuala Lumpur on November 26, seems to hinge on its ability to end discrimination against Indians, open up employment opportunities in public and private sectors, and reduce or eradicate the quota system for entry to public universities and the matriculation program. The party has been met with both criticism and support, and its efficacy in attracting the middle and upper-middle-class Indian voters remains to be seen. While some have welcomed the party with reservations, others question the effectiveness of the already existing Indian political parties and the need for another such entity.