View Full Version : HINDRAF: ACTION BY GOVT TO BE TAKEN UNDER SOCIETIES ACT
10th October 2008, 08:38 AM
We can observe over the past fifty years how UMNO demonises any group that they perceive is a threat to their hold on power. This is consistent with the strategies that we have highlighted in the Rat Race series here:
HINDRAF is a grouping of Malaysians of Indian origins who have been so badly marginised that in desperation, they got together to protest against the discriminatory policies of UMNO. These policies were directed at them economically and at their religion - many Hindu temples were targetted for demolition. Throughout their series of protests, they have been non-violent, a bit robust at times but still within social norms. It started with the 25 Nov 07 HINDRAF protest rally at KLCC that drew worldwide attention.
During the Hari Raya Open House by UMNO at PWTC this month, HINDRAF gathered a few hundred people to make a present to Badawi and to appeal to him to release the HINDRAF leaders detained under the ISA.
We can see how this simple, gentle appeal has been spunned out by UMNO and the media to portray them as a bunch of hooligans that deserve to be harshly treated.
Hello UMNO, these people have protested peacefully so far. But don't push them too hard. Sometimes, even a Rat will turn round and bite back if it feels that it has nothing to lose anymore.
Read more ....
Action Against Hindraf Under Societies Act
October 09, 2008 15:28 PM
KUALA TERENGGANU, Oct 9 (Bernama)-- Deputy Home Minister, Senator Datuk Wan
Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, said yesterday the government will take action
against the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) under the Societies Act 1966
for causing a disturbance during the Hari Raya function hosted by the Prime
Minister and Muslim Cabinet ministers at the Putra World Trade Centre in
Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday.
10th October 2008, 09:31 PM
This poor Mat Salleh is confused by the whole issue over HINDRAF's barging in. Did they or did they not?
Open House Confusion
Posted by St Low
Friday, 10 October 2008 18:19
Posted by: engleberthumpadink
I’m a bit baffled, and am in need of a bit of clarification because I’m really not very good at fathoming out political double-talk.
This business with HINDRAF and the open house. Can you answer some points of confusion.
A) Open House: If a house is open to all, then how can somebody “barge in”? I mean, if there were police there, and the Police let them in, then how does that mean “barging in”. Surely if they had forced their way past the police then that would have meant physically forcing their way past, which would constitute “assault of a police officer”. Which is a crime. But if the house IS open, why would somebody have to “barge in”? Unless they were denied access, which would then – by default – deem the term “open house” as null and void. It would be “open to some house” or “semi-open house” or “invite only house”.
10th October 2008, 09:37 PM
Two groups visited the PM - bloggers and HINDRAF. But only HINDRAF is being threatened by the police now.
The embarrassment of injustice
Posted by St Low
Friday, 10 October 2008 18:17
By Jacqueline Ann Surin, The Nut Graph
HOW many times and just how hard do Malaysians have to try to meet Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to raise legitimate concerns about government action?
And what price do Malaysians, who will not toe the government line by speaking up against injustice, have to pay for trying to meet the self-professed "Prime Minister for all Malaysians"? The one whose smiling face on posters and postcards leads one to trust in a benevolent leader?
During the Aidilfitri open house hosted by Muslim ministers at the Putra World Trade Centre on 1 Oct 2008 or 1 Syawal 1429, two groups of Malaysians tried to meet Abdullah to plead with him over the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA). The Act unjustly allows for indefinite detention without trial and has, since 1960, been amended numerous times to allow for greater executive power to detain people without accountability.
One was a group of bloggers, including human rights lawyers that wore anti-ISA t-shirts. The other was a much larger group, numbering a few hundred Hindraf members. Both groups wanted to call on the prime minister to release all ISA detainees and to abolish the law.
12th October 2008, 09:11 AM
"Insolence" of HINDRAF to the leaders - UMNO bangsawan mentality
How do you ban the rain?
Posted by Haris Ibrahim October 11, 2008
In the song, 'How can you mend a broken heart?', the Bee Gees ask :
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
In other words, how do you stop the Divine?
Home Ministry wants to ban Hindraf
PUTRAJAYA: The Home Ministry wants to ban the Hindu Rights Action Force.
Secretary-general Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said as Hindraf was not a
registered organisation, the ministry's legal unit would look at the
technicality of disbanding the group.
He said Hindraf had on many occasions created unrest within the community,
citing the recent gate-crashing of the prime minister and cabinet's Hari
Raya open house as an example.
Abdul Aziz said Hindraf's insolence could not be tolerated as it had angered
many, especially Muslims who felt Hindraf had marred the spirit of the Hari
Banning Hindraf will be futile
By Baradan Kuppusamy
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 - Going by the increasingly alarming comments from
national leaders it appears the government is set to move against Hindraf,
an unregistered, chaotic group that was founded two years ago in Seremban to
defend temples from demolition by local authorities.
The government is currently weighing the type of action that can be taken
against Hindraf, insiders said, adding the movement is now officially seen
as extremist and a threat to national security and the personal security of
12th October 2008, 02:46 PM
they are looking ways to get rid of Hindraf and any excuse they get, they will use it. Hindraf barge into the open house they claim thus need to ban cos Hindraf needs to be checked as they have lots of support which Sany will love to have.How many times has UMNO barge into closed forum and cause a ruckus.UMNO is showing everyone the way. But it is always double standard, UMNO can but others can't. Ban or not, what Hindraf has started will continue and BN/UMNO can't stop what they have started unless they treat people with respect like they would like to be treated in return.
12th October 2008, 05:51 PM
Contrast the reception HINDRAF received from Anwar. This afternoon (12 Oct 08), HINDRAF presented a garland to Anwar Ibrahim at his open house at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Kg Baru.
No "biadab" (insolence).
No security or police blocking their entrance.
That is how leaders should treat the people - with respect!
12th October 2008, 11:46 PM
Sunday, 12 October 2008 12:34 By Helen Ang
An alert should go out to embassies in Kuala Lumpur cautioning foreign nationals. The updated travel advisory:
(1) Open houses in Malaysia are possibly illegal,
(2) If a tourist should saunter into the premises, he may be guilty of trespassing,
(3) A tour group could be banned by Malaysian authorities for unbecoming behaviour, such as all its members wearing uniform attire,
(4) Cops on duty at open houses will confiscate a greeting card and such other contraband, as well as
(5) Summon to police headquarters for questioning if someone attended open house but rejected refreshments, did not shake hands with the VIP host and failed to extend festive wishes.
13th October 2008, 05:38 PM
Contrast the reception HINDRAF received from Anwar. This afternoon (12 Oct 08), HINDRAF presented a garland to Anwar Ibrahim at his open house at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Kg Baru.
No "biadab" (insolence).
No security or police blocking their entrance.
That is how leaders should treat the people - with respect!
respect is earned and Najib doesn't understand that. He expects every to kiss his hands and feet like those in UMNO. well dear DPM, they are looking for contracts and position, we are not thus we can be civilized but we do not need to respect you.Soon you guys will wnt to be treated like royalty. WE may respect the position you are holding. Do not be confused with aku janji forms that civil servants are forced to sign. The rakyat's loyalty is to King and Country. Not the gomen of the day who are the servants of the rakyat paid by rakyat taxes!! You guys seem to think you are 1st Family...syok sendiri la. :P
14th October 2008, 07:35 PM
“Hindraf did not and will not ever insult our Malay Brethren”
14 10 2008
The article below was circulated in the email by Sambulingam Wisvalingam, Hindraf National Coordination Team, today:
Two similar occasions, one was the PWTC Open House hosted by our PM, the other Hari Raya Open House hosted by Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and yet how different the treatment…
The very same 6years old Vwaishnavi, daughter of Hindraf chairman P.Waythamoorthy with the almost similar home made, Hari Raya greeting card carrying the same message accompanied by a teddy bear.
The same Hindraf supporters of approximately 200 members, in their now familiar, orange Tee shirts.
The very same occasion of Hari Raya open house but only this time hosted by the opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur on 12th October 2008.
15th October 2008, 12:47 PM
Such tactics are passe. The Indians have been so marginalised that they have nothing to lose anymore. Using threats and harassment as such against them is going to be counter-productive.
Hello, UMNO. It won't work! How about trying LOVE?
Cops probe commotion at PM’s Raya open house
Posted by St Low
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 08:52
PETALING JAYA: Police have re*corded statements from three Hindraf organisers regarding a commotion at the Prime Minister and Cabinet members’ Hari Raya open house at the Putra World Trade Centre recently.
The three are S. Jayathas, 41, K. Shanti, in her 30s, and K. Selvam, 43. They were accompanied by their lawyers Latheefa Koya and N. Surendran.
Shanti is the wife of Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy who is in self-exile in London.
The three arrived at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters at 3pm yesterday where they gave their statements for an hour.
Surendran said the three were asked about 28 questions under Section 27 of the Police Act and Section 447 of the Penal Code.
“However, we chose to remain silent for each of the questions because we felt that the questions had nothing to do with the case we were being investigated under,” said Jayathas.
Surendran said the questioning was a form of intimidation and harassment against his clients who had gathered peacefully at the Prime Minister’s Hari Raya open house.
“It is absurd because for the first time in Malaysia someone is called in for questioning for attending a Hari Raya open house. We believe this is politically motivated and a clear case of police abuse of power,” he said.
15th October 2008, 08:57 PM
How can a non-registered body be declared illegal? It was never legal in the first place since it is not registered with the Registrar of Societies.
Does it mean we cannot wear HINDRAF T-shirts in public?
If a White man were to wear a HINDRAF shirt, is he committing an offence?
Question. Questions. So many unanswered questions.
Gov't declares Hindraf an illegal organisation
Oct 15, 08 7:10pm
The government today declared the Hindu Rights Actions Force (Hindraf) an illegal organisation with immediate effect.
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the decision was made after the ministry was satisfied with facts and evidence that showed "Hindraf had and was being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality".
syed hamid albar putrajaya pc 310708 01"Based on powers vested under Section 5(1) of the Societies Act, Hindraf from today is declared an illegal organisation," he said in a statement today.
He said the order was being made as a result of monitoring and investigation on the organisation's activities by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) and Home Ministry, since Hindraf's inception.
16th October 2008, 11:35 AM
Hindraf: Our spirit will not be banished
By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Banning Hindraf will not banish the groundswell of emotion, says its chairman P. Waytha Moorthy.
In a press statement, the organisation’s leader-in-exile said that “declaring Hindraf as an illegal organisation will in any case not banish the spirit that created Hindraf” and called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi “to advise his Home Minister to revoke the order.”
“Hindraf represents a very deep feeling experienced in the hearts and souls of millions of Indians both locally and internationally,” he claimed.
16th October 2008, 11:43 AM
UMNO still hasn't recovered from Mar 8, 2008. They are behaving like a clumsy giant flailing at the birds in the sky. They can't believe that the formulas, taught so well to them by the British, that they have so successfully used for the past 50 years can't work anymore - the formulas of George Orwell in 1984 - http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/index.html.
The Malaysian zero sum game
By Leslie Lau
OCT 16 — The government's hostility towards the Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf), culminating in the outlawing of the organisation, and Utusan Malaysia's war with Teresa Kok has hardened the position of the nationalist Malay right behind Umno.
But it will have done Umno and the Barisan Nasional few favours in winning back the hearts and minds of Malay moderates or the support of the Chinese, Indian and other non-Malay communities.
By targeting Kok, Utusan and the nationalist Malays are hoping to rally the community against the “threat” of the Chinese DAP, as represented by the Seputeh MP.
Cheras Umno division head Datuk Wira Syed Ali Alhabshi has even set up a Tabung Azan to aid Utusan against the RM30 million defamation lawsuit filed against the paper by Kok.
His reasoning was that a lawsuit against Utusan was an act of hostility against all Malays and all Muslims.
Even Malaysian Press Institute chief executive officer Chamil Wariya made a thinly-veiled attempt at attacking Kok by writing a short story published last week in Utusan in which the protagonist, described as an anti-Malay female MP, is assassinated.
Read on... http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/10591-the-malaysian-zero-sum-game
16th October 2008, 11:48 AM
Contrast the reception HINDRAF received from Anwar. This afternoon (12 Oct 08), HINDRAF presented a garland to Anwar Ibrahim at his open house at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Kg Baru.
No "biadab" (insolence).
No security or police blocking their entrance.
That is how leaders should treat the people - with respect!
Anil Netto's report of same event: http://anilnetto.com/ethnic-and-inter-religious-relations/hindraf-turns-up-for-anwars-open-house/
16th October 2008, 06:55 PM
Pakatan leaders condemn Hindraf ban
Rahmah Ghazali | Oct 16, 08 1:54pm
Pakatan leaders today condemned the decision by the Home Ministry to ban the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).
At a press conference in Parliament, PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar questioned why Hindraf had been singled out.
parliament 161008 kamaruddin jaafar"There are a lot of coalitions and non-governmental organisations which have emerged and bring up all sorts of issues. It is strange why Hindraf has become the only target," said the Tumpat MP.
Read on... http://malaysiakini.com/news/91366
16th October 2008, 07:05 PM
Hindraf ban: Opposition to benefit
RK Anand | Oct 16, 08 4:53pm
The government has 'fed the opposition a big slice of cake' by banning the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), said Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) president P Sivakumar today.
Criticising the ban, he said the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat would capitalise on the issue and lure more Indian Malaysians into its fold.
p sivakumarSivakumar also took Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to task for claiming that Hindraf had incited hatred between the races.
Lies, damn lies & statistics.
See how Syed Hamid twist the numbers to prove his point. Hamfisted actions may have worked in the past because the people were cowed. Not anymore.
The numbers are not important. What is important is how people are treated - they demand fair treatment.
Is that too much to ask?
[i]Syed Hamid added that there was a ratio of one temple to 149 Hindus and one mosque to 2,300 Muslims in thiscountry.[/i ]
Read on.. http://malaysiakini.com/news/91399
16th October 2008, 07:52 PM
CPPS' Statement on Banning of HINDRAF
CENTRE FOR PUBLIC POLICY STUDIES - PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) is disappointed with the decision taken by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to declare the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) an illegal organisation. This move by the Ministry of Home Affairs is an infringement on the basic human right to expression and contradicts the Prime Minister’s previous commitment to opening up the democratic space and allowing more open discussion in the country. This decision is telling of the dismal state of civil liberties in Malaysia, and sends these signals to the domestic and international community.
The CPPS finds ludicrous that HINDRAF, in trying to voice out very legitimate grievances of the consistent socio-economic marginalisation of the Indian community, has been labelled as a threat to “public order, peace, security and morality” (The Star, Thursday 16 October 2008). According to the Minister, HINDRAF would also pose a threat to the prevailing racial harmony enjoyed in Malaysia presently. This spells caution that any interest group speaking on behalf of the economic marginalisation of their particular community would be considered as a threat.
Instead of banning HINDRAF, the Government should have called for an open, rational discussion in order to ascertain the problems and issues raised, and in seeking constructive solutions to overcome them. This move may instead fuel further resentment by minority ethnic groups who are legitimately raising concerns of their particular interests. Discussion and dialogue on grievances or perceived injustices should be encouraged, not stifled. Suppressing dissent under the guise of national peace and security is in fact counterproductive to fostering true national unity amongst the citizens of the country. Genuine national unity begins by identifying real problems and struggles being faced by all interest groups in the country. The CPPS is also concerned that the government is planning on identifying specific members of HINDRAF or anyone associated with the group.
The CPPS urges the government to reconsider its ban on HINDRAF and respond to grievances of various ethnic groups by engaging in further discussion and working towards reaching mutually beneficial solutions. This draconian method of suppression is not sustainable in the long run. It is hoped that this move by the Ministry is not the beginning of a more extensive clampdown on civil society in Malaysia. If Malaysia truly desires to become a democratic country of developed nation status, it must not suppress opinions of any interest groups, much less those who are already downtrodden upon and at wit’s end.
Tan Sri Ramon V. Navaratnam, Chairman
Tricia Yeoh, Director
Centre for Public Policy Studies
16th October 2008
For more enquiries, please contact: The Centre for Public Policy Studies;
17th October 2008, 12:06 AM
Stay calm and stay cunning. Don’t react. For now.
October 16, 2008
Lil Hummingbird caught up with me at the lay-by heading out of KL last night.
‘Jaya, Shar and Chee Seng are spot on’, he said.
‘Who is Jaya, Shar and Chee Seng? And correct about what?’, I asked
‘Damn! Don’t you read the comments on your own blog? Are you sure you’re the one who administers The People’s Parliament?
The Hindraf ban? The Utusan siege of Teresa? The Tabung Azan? Don’t imagine these to be unconnected!
Najib’s got so much dirt that’s chugging out on the conveyor belt that he desperately needs a diversion.
And he needs to portray himself as the champion of the Malays and Islam, in the hope that the Malays that get taken in with the the spectre being conjured by UMNO of Islam/Malay bashing, will gloss over the reports coming out of Najib’s misdeeds.
17th October 2008, 12:07 AM
A time to come together as one and secure justice and equality for all
October 16, 2008
Malaysianatheart commented to the ‘Stay calm and stay cunning. Don’t react. For now’ post :
Hindraf is caught in a web of its own making. Several months ago I had suggested to Waytha Moorthy in London that he must re-brand Hindraf. Its far too communal. However, it seems that they fear losing the support of the multitudes that made Hindraf possible. And they lack ideas about how they ought to re-brand. In fact, even within the Indian community, there is a sense of unease about Hindraf’s clarion call.
It is now an opprtune time for Waytha and gang to re-brand. They have demonised Hindraf and “declared it illegal”. So if now Hindraf disappears from the face of the earth - and re-emerges almost immediately as something else - what will the desperado UMNO morons have to demonise or declare as illegal? In fact they will be at a complete loss. They will no longer have a whipping boy!
Read on... http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/a-time-to-come-together-as-one-and-secure-justice-and-equality-for-all-2/
20th October 2008, 12:10 PM
It's wonderful how numbers can be distorted to suit one's case. That is why it is important to be very careful when politicians quote numbers. Helen Ang has kindly resuscitated those numbers for our benefit after they had been tortured to death by Syed Hamid.
The Hundraf of Umno’s making
Posted by St Low
Monday, 20 October 2008 00:26
By Helen Ang
There is no typing error above; I did spell ‘Hundraf’ for Human Rights Action Force. Hundraf is the twin spirit of Makkal Sakthi, an expression translated as People Power, not Indian Power.
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar is reported by Bernama as saying the Indians are not neglected in Malaysia. What he implied is that Indians have little cause for complaint and thus the complaining Hindraf have no basis for their struggle.
Syed Hamid in announcing the ban on Hindraf said the Indian community was quite well represented with 14 Members of Parliament, 21.4% in the legal fraternity, 18.4% in medicine and their income was 1.2 times higher than the Malays.
Out of his count of 14 Indian MPs, only three are from MIC compared to six from DAP. There are three from PKR and one from PSM — Samy-slayer of Sg Siput, the redoubtable Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj. If Indians are ‘well represented’, it is no thanks to BN. (I could only recognise 13 Indian names, maybe I missed someone or perhaps there is a Malay Dilemma-ed MP in the House.)
Read on.. http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/14007/84/
20th October 2008, 03:04 PM
Uthayakumar in court for sedition
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — Hindraf leader P. Uthayakumar appeared in the Jalan Duta courts today, facing a charge of sedition for allegedly publishing seditious materials in a letter addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last November.
The Internal Security Act detainee’s trial, which was scheduled to begin at 9am in front of Sessions Court judge Sabariah Othman, was delayed as she ordered the court to stand down until Uthayakumar, a lawyer, was produced in court.
The four-member prosecution team, led by DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran, said it would be presenting four witnesses today. Uthayakumar is represented by M. Manogaran and N. Surendran. He was among five Hindraf leaders detained under the ISA last December for their role in the movement.
The defence asked the court to stand down slightly after 11am as they wanted to speak to their client
23rd October 2008, 04:29 PM
I love this Syed Hamid fellow. He never ceases to cheer me up with his mastery of double-speak and his talent for stretching the truth. I think he will have a starring role in a Hollywood production of 1984 -
Syed Hamid defends Hindraf ban
S Pathmawathy | Oct 23, 08 3:43pm
Peace-loving members of the Indian community would not have an issue over the government’s ban on the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), said Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar.
I think I got of support from the Indian community who are peace loving,” he told Malaysiakini in an hour-long exclusive interview at his ministry in Putrajaya on Tuesday.
“(The ban) is not against the Indians or the Hindu religion. We have no problems with the Indians or the Hindu religion.
“The Indian community and the Hindus have always worked very well with us,” he said when asked to comment on the ban which he had imposed on Hindraf last week.
“It is an extremist group. It advocates and propagates hatred, inciting feelings against certain segments of the community,” he said in justifying the ban.
“We have always lived peacefully and we have no problems but when you advocate hatred and (tell them that) the only enemies are the Malays or the only enemy is Islam...
23rd October 2008, 06:52 PM
In line with the Government's enlightened programme to start our people involved in our prison system at an early age ....
Police detain Uthaya's niece, 11 others
Andrew Ong | Oct 23, 08 6:08pm
The six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar was with 11 people arrested when they attempted to submit a letter at Prime Minister Department’s office in Putrajaya today.
Vwaishhnnavi is the daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy who is currently in self-imposed exile in London. Her mother K Shanti was also among those arrested.
24th October 2008, 12:01 PM
Vwaishhnnavi and mum freed, 10 in court
Oct 24, 08 9:46am
P Vwaishhnnavi, the six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, and her mother K Shanti were released today after spending a night at the Putrajaya police district headquarters.
Mother and daughter were with 10 others arrested yesterday when they attempted to submit a letter at the Prime Minister Department's office in Putrajaya, appealing for ISA detainees to be freed.
The duo were released late last night but they refused to leave the police station and stayed with the rest.
26th October 2008, 01:20 PM
To make sense of UMNO actions, record it and play it on fast forward. Then everything becomes clear.
Govt action not anti-Indian
Hamid also lambasted Waytha Moorthy for labeling him a "racist, extremist and liar" in response to the minister's justification in banning Hindraf.
"I cannot be a racist as in my family there are Indians, Chinese and Malays."
Yeah, tell that to Mahathir, Ismail Ahmad, Hishamuddin and all the rojaks in UMNO.
Syed Hamid: NGOs involved in Hindraf activities face action
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar ...“It doesn't matter what name they use, action will be taken...it's not an action against Indians or Hindus. This is action against groups that associate themselves with militancy and have extremist views,” he told reporters at the ministry's Aidilfitri open house, here.
Syed Hamid: Hindraf 10 could be jailed 5 years!
Surendran said the 10 detainees and a six-year-old girl had gone to the prime minister's office to hand over a memorandum, seeking the release of all Internal Security Act detainees and to invite Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to their Deepavali open house.
Inviting the PM to a Deepavali open house can be construed as a threat to public order.
26th October 2008, 05:53 PM
By definition, any group that is opposed to UMNO is deemed to be extremist.
Renounce 'extremist groups'
KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S leader urged the country's minority ethnic Indians on Sunday to renounce 'extremist groups' that he said threaten national unity.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's comments, in which he also promised to address complaints of discrimination, came three days after police arrested a dozen members of a banned ethnic Indian rights group.
Indians are the smallest of Malaysia's major ethnic groups, accounting for 8 percent of the country's 27 million people, and are typically at the bottom rung of Malaysia's social ladder. Muslim Malays account for 60 per cent and ethnic Chinese 25 per cent.
In a message marking the Hindu celebration of Diwali, or Deepavali as it is known here, Mr Abdullah called for unity and understanding among Malaysia's three main ethnic groups.
'In the spirit of Deepavali, with the understanding that goodwill always prevails, Malaysians must remain together and not allow extremist groups and individuals to cause tensions to rise,' he said.
27th October 2008, 03:04 PM
See related articles here:
27th October 2008, 10:25 PM
Hindraf and the supremacy of State
Posted by St Low
Monday, 27 October 2008 09:40
NEW DELHI, Oct 27 — Of unusual international importance is the fact that Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has, with a topical political touch, extended Deepavali greetings to the Hindus among the country's ethnic Indian minority.
Unlike in India, where even the greetings of interest to only some sections are extended to all citizens regardless of their sub-national identities, it is customary in Southeast Asia to specify the target group on such occasions. This, of course, is not the real issue at stake now in Muslim-majority and multicultural Malaysia, insofar its two-million-strong ethnic Indians are concerned.
The relevant point is that Najib, who has been designated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to succeed him next year, linked the mystique of Deepavali to the challenges faced by the Indian-origin citizens today. Noting that the festival marked a traditional celebration of the triumph of good over evil, Najib expressed the hope that Malaysian Hindus would, in that "spirit," seek to "resolve any problem in the best way possible." Why has he chosen to strike this line? The answer is not far to seek.
Malaysian Indians, many of them mobilised by the recently-banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) for over a year now, want to keep their grievances in global focus. And, Najib is equally determined to reassert the supremacy of the state. The authorities have recently taken actions that the opposition parties in the country see as a political "offensive" against an outfit with "a core human rights agenda."
An alternative view, favoured by the Malaysian government, is that Hindraf, which began making its presence felt at the time of Deepavali last year, is divisively communalist, as different from being merely ethno-centric. The country's social contract has fostered power-sharing among race-based political parties that are drawn from the ranks of either Malays or ethnic Chinese or, indeed, the people of Indian origin. However, these predominantly ethno-centric parties have, by and large, fought shy of readily accepting religion as the wellspring of a political or social outfit.
A striking example is the general hostility of race-based parties in the ruling coalition towards Pas. Over a noticeably long period, Pas stridently advocated Shariah-based Muslim polity as the best model for the country. In the run-up to the recent snap general election, though, Pas publicly gave up its political patent — the advocacy of an Islamic state. This aspect clearly helped the fast-changing party endear itself to secular voters across the spectrum. And today, Pas is a proactive member of the three-party opposition alliance, the Pakatan Rakyat, at the federal and state levels. Two of the PR's constituents are multiracial in outlook, while Pas fielded an Indian-origin candidate for a state seat in the last poll.
Viewed in this perspective, Hindraf leaders have not tried so far to distance their outfit from its religious mooring. They have instead specialised in using the Hindu temple as "a safe sanctuary" to carry forward their campaign for a "fair deal" for the Indian-origin minority. The temple, they say, is the only platform accessible to them in the face of a "state-sponsored crackdown."
Debatable as this argument might be, especially so in the eyes of the Malaysian government, the fact remains that Hindraf, proscribed with effect from Oct 15, had not adequately disputed its “religious orientation”. On the other hand, Hindraf activists are often accused of having capitalised on the sentiments that gripped the ethnic Indians when an “unauthorised” temple was demolished, for “development” purposes, before Deepavali last year. Soon thereafter, this outfit, led by lawyers and other professionals, began articulating an ethnic Indian political agenda of seeking rights "on par" with those of the other communities.
And, after Hindraf's campaign picked up momentum, evident during a mass protest rally in Kuala Lumpur last November, a senior Malaysian Minister apologised for the temple demolition which had served as a “flash point”.
Five proactive Hindraf leaders — P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganapati Rao (also known as Ganabatirau), M. Manoharn, T. Kengadharan, and T. Vasanthakumar — were served with two-year detention orders last December under the Internal Security Act. The law provides for detention for prolonged periods without any formal charges and judicial trial. Another leader, P. Waytha Moorthy, who was abroad at the time his colleagues were detained, remains in self-imposed exile.
Political speculation is rife that the current ban on Hindraf is an aspect of Malaysia's national security update, with or without reference to the ongoing preparations for a smooth transfer of power to Najib.
On a parallel track, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has publicised his "plans" to unseat the present Prime Minister and form an alternative administration. Sympathetic to the cause of ethnic Indians, Anwar wants the equality-agenda articulated in a non-polarising fashion in multi-religious Malaysia. In another development in the opposition camp, Pas, shedding its “Islam-exclusive” image, has now offered to mediate between Hindraf and the authorities.
- The Hindu
28th October 2008, 02:07 PM
29th October 2008, 12:07 AM
Hindraf's Review Adjourned, Federal Court Ordered To Write Judgment
October 28, 2008 17:29 PM
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 28 (Bernama) -- The hearing of an application for a judicial
review by five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders detained under
the Internal Security Act was adjourned today because there was no written
judgment by the Federal Court.
Federal Court judge Datuk Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman, who presided over the
hearing, ordered the previous Federal Court panel which made the decision to
write the judgment as the court could not proceed without the grounds of
2nd November 2008, 10:51 AM
Hindraf may re-emerge as a political force
Athi Veeranggan | Nov 1, 08 6:38pm
The Federal Government's ban on Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) may pave the way for disgruntled ethnic Indians into championing their cause through political platforms.
The ban has resulted in Hindraf’s key leaders mulling how the movement and its 100,000 followers could play a role in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
It has been suggested that Hindraf followers can join either DAP, PAS or PKR en bloc or form a separate political entity and join Pakatan as equal partners.
26th April 2009, 01:03 PM
My 500th day under ISA
P Uthayakumar | Apr 26, 09 7:55am
Today April 26, 2009, marks my 500th day under Umno’s captivity without being charged, tried or found guilty in a court of law. I suppose this is ‘justice’ for me, an Indian ethnic minority and human rights lawyer of 18 years.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s continued unilateral decree is that I be made to serve a jail sentence of two years and indefinitely thereafter under his regime. There are prisoners here at Kemta Kamunting, Taiping, serving their eighth year of their ISA sentences.
But I have no regrets. I know in my heart that every day of my imprisonment will liberate and open up a thousand new minds against Umno’s atrocities and injustices in their marginalisation, discrimination, suppression, oppression and the exclusion of Indians from the mainstream of national development in Malaysia.
Today, I have grown 500 days older. Today, I have lost 500 days of my precious freedom. Today, it is 500 days since I shaved my beard or combed my hair to protest my ISA detention. Today, it is 500 days since I have been made to wear the very same two pairs of dark blue baggy pants and white restaurant waiter-like prison uniform.
My left foot
On Jan 31, 2009, I had accidently injured the last toe of my left foot, which had gotten worse because of my long standing diabetic condition. From day one of my injury, I had repeatedly asked to be treated at the Gleneagles private hospital as I no longer have confidence in the independence of government-service doctors, which I believe had been compromised by the Home Ministry and its Special Branch police officers.
Under protest, I agreed to be treated at a government hospital on Feb 3, 2009. As I had anticipated, the doctor refused to admit me despite my swollen leg and blackening left foot condition. The doctor told me there were no hospital beds and neither did she want to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon or a consultant physician, as well as a cardiologist to treat my silent heart attack during my ISA detention.
No cast was put on my leg. No medication was prescribed. This doctor told me that my leg would heal on its own. My suspicion was confirmed when the doctor, who had written my medical notes in a police file, gave it back to the police officers accompanying me.
By the second week, my leg got even worse and despite repeated pleas, the prison authorities refused to take me even to a government hospital, which I agreed to go under protest. I had lodged four police reports but again zero action was taken. Even my statement was not recorded.
The worst case scenario ran across my mind. I may lose my left foot. For the first time, I realised that as a lawyer, I could not even save myself. There was nothing I could do, I was a prisoner.
But even then, I had thought to myself that should the worst happen, I would put on a prosthesis (artificial leg) and keep walking. I feel that at the end of the day, it was the prayers held at scores of Hindu temples nationwide by supporters of Makkal Sakthi that had actually saved my leg and ensure my well-being in prison.
Surviving on bread and biscuits
On March 22, 2009, I found pieces of beef in the chicken sambal served to me. Mohamad, a Pakistani national, and Abdul Sarjon, a Sri Lankan national, and fellow detainees who worked at the prison kitchen confirmed that chicken and beef were cooked in the same pot after which the chicken was scooped out and served.
I immediately lodged a police report. But again nothing happened as usual. But had it been the other way round - the victimisation a Malay Muslim - a different set of rules would be applied by Umno.
But I suppose this is all part and parcel of PM Najib’s One Malaysia policy. One Malaysia, two systems. Since that day, I have refused to consume cooked food from the prison kitchen in protest against the violation of my religious rights in contravention of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. As a Hindu, I do not consume beef. I am now surviving basically on bread and biscuits.
Throughout these 500 days, there was never a single day that I ever regretted starting and spearheading this struggle. I believed in justice, including for the minority ethnic Indians, in Malaysia.
In these 500 days, I have refused to meet any of the Special Branch officers who came to meet detainees once in every two to three months to “plead for my release”. I have done no wrong and I am not prepared to beg for my freedom. I had earlier also refused to meet Umno’s home minister, knowing fully well that my release from prison is in his hands, for the very same reason.
My biggest satisfaction and what keeps me going in prison is the true and sincere spirit of the struggle through Hindraf’s Makkal Sakthi.
It moved me to see thousands of Hindraf supporters who had braved FRU’s tear gas and water cannons, who were roughed up and beaten by the police, arrested, handcuffed, thrown into jail, prosecuted in court and bravely standing up in the dock to face possible jail sentences, losing their jobs, and with their wife and children suffering.
All these sacrifices, just for a public cause to put to an end to Umno’s racism, religious extremism and exclusion of the Indians from the mainstream of national development. To all of you, I salute you and I am proud of you. Makkal Sakthi Valga.
I miss my freedom
I am suffering from this imprisonment daily. I miss my freedom. I miss my family, my wife and children.
But I am prepared for the worst, even if it means another 500 days or more of imprisonment. I will do this just for the cause of Hindraf. Umno can imprison me but they cannot imprison the forces of Hindraf’s Makkal Sakthi.
Makkal Sakthi was the tipping point in the March 8, 2008 general elections. It was the triggering factor which resulted in Umno/BN losing two-thirds majority in Parliament as well as political power in four west-coast states.
Makkal Sakthi once again showed its prowess at the Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang by-elections. I never, even in my wildest dream, thought I would see Makkal Sakthi forces to this extent in my lifetime.
I am no Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, but Umno has to understand and accept that it was the genuine grievances of the people - the pent-up pain and suffering, misery and heartache - that brought about the unprecedented 100,000-strong Hindraf rally on Nov 25, 2007.
Please be patient. Umno will not change, but we will change Umno in the 2012/2013 general elections. We will put an end to Umno’s bully tactics and its rule by fear. We have waited 52 long years.
Please be patient. In another three or four years, there would hopefully be a new beginning, a new political structure and a Malaysia with equality and equal opportunities, including for the Indians. A Malaysia where the Indians would be a part of the mainstream in national development.
Every day and every moment of my imprisonment, my thoughts and prayers are with Makkal Sakthi. I have plans for our further struggle. Please pray for my freedom, and for Umno’s end of its rule so that justice will finally prevail.
Umno may have punished me with this 500 days of imprisonment but you, the Makkal Sakthi, will in turn punished Umno/BN where it hurts them most - the ballot box.
Kamunting Detention Camp, Perak
Malaysiakini Link here… (http://malaysiakini.com/news/103103)
18th May 2009, 02:31 PM
Interesting to observe how Najib and his keris-wielding perwira cousin will react to this. If I am not mistaken, they will bluster and threaten and eventually quietly back down. UMNO is just a cowardly bully abusing the govt machinery for their own ends.
Revoke order or it's war, warns Hindraf
Athi Veeranggan | May 18, 09 1:35pm
Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader P Waythamoorthy has given an ultimatum to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's government.
uthayakumar batu cave hair offering 170509 03Revoke the order on his brother and fellow Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar to appear before the Advisory Board or be prepared to face fresh street protests by supporters across the country. More…[/color] (http://malaysiakini.com/news/104535[color=orange)
6th September 2012, 02:43 PM
'Indian representation, not Indian representatives' (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/208133)
Dr Paraman VS
1:03PM Sep 6, 2012
COMMENT Since the return of Hindraf Chairman P Waytha Moorthy early last month, Hindraf has held dozens of road shows and public forums across West Malaysia.
From Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah, these gatherings to meet the people have attracted large crowds, packing indoor halls with enthusiastic Indian Malaysians, wanting to hear the message of Hindraf.
Initially it was intended to register 10,000 Indian Malaysians with their personal contact details like email addresses and handphone numbers within a space of six months of Waytha's return.
The reason being Hindraf is well aware that its message is not going to be carried by the mainstream media who is biased towards BN. Neither is it going to get any favours from the online media which is tilted towards Pakatan Rakyat.
For every single Indian registered in the nationwide tours, it is hoped that he or she will spread the Hindraf message to a further 10 by word of mouth.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/507/330x220xd148f2bca307cbd9a11fc0f2aa9bffd4.jpg.pages peed.ic.Jud_os-8-C.jpgAstonishingly, the target of achieving 10,000 was achieved within a space of 1 week of Waytha's (right) return.
Currently more than 20,000 have registered and Hindraf has now raised the bar to register 100,000 Indian Malaysians so that it will be able to reach out to one million Indian Malaysians effortlessly in the near future.
The Shah Alam forum attracted 1500 people and the recent Seremban meet brought almost 1400 Indian Malaysians in attendance.
Overall more than 30,000 Indian Malaysians have come forward for these gatherings.
Not a spent force
Looking at the large turnouts, Hindraf may have been subdued before but it certainly was not a spent force.
Like it or not Hindraf is very much alive within the hearts of every Malaysian Indian in this country.
Armed with this mandate, Hindraf most certainly has the moral right to speak on behalf of the marginalised Indians in Malaysia.
So what is this Hindraf message? Hindraf requests Indian representation and not Indian representatives.
Throughout these nationwide tours, the Indian Malaysians have been giving a resounding ‘yes' to Hindraf to be given the mandate to speak on their behalf to voice their critical issues to the federal government and state governments of Malaysia.
The message is loud and clear.
Indian Malaysians want comprehensive changes and not just cosmetic changes to their critical issues.
It is for this reason that Hindraf has chosen the path to be apolitical and to engage with all state governments as well as the federal governments to provide comprehensive solutions to the critical problems of Indian Malaysians.
Hindraf intends not to be mere Indian representatives but to become the marginalised Indians representation.
In fact Hindraf's vision is to be a primary comprehensive change agent in leading Malaysia towards the creation of a society based on equality, justice and freedom.
Hindraf's mission is to create an empowered civil society movement that strives to bring all the marginalised segments of Malaysian society into the mainstream of national development which includes a particular focus on the marginalised Indians.
Hindraf intends to contribute positively to changing the social values in Malaysian society so that institutionalised racism and religious supremacist policies is dismantled and may be completely eliminated.
Hindraf believes the British civil suit will be the foundation stone to bring about comprehensive changes in Malaysia the way how apartheid in South Africa was dismantled.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/516/300x200xe7b007eee0456b7a02402edf63527258.jpg.pages peed.ic.m29-ZTXlNI.jpgRecently the Hindraf Chairman had issued a letter requesting to call upon both Premier Najib Abdul Razak (right) as well as Anwar Ibrahim, the prime minister in waiting, to meet up separately, to discuss approaches to permanently addressing the socio-economic problems of the marginalised Indian Malaysians.
Below the power curve
Hindraf believes that all past and current approaches fall well below the power curve needed to resolve the problem permanently.
A permanent solution and the mechanics to arriving at the solution lies in the Hindraf request of Indian representation and not Indian representatives, and proper definition of the problem, something which has eluded policy makers and problem solvers till date.
First and foremost a prerequisite political will needs to be demonstrated followed by working out the details and modalities of the solution.
Considering that it has become very clear that Hindraf enjoys the support of the vast majority of the Indians in Malaysia, how much respect these leaders have towards the Indians and how genuine they are in resolving the problems of the Indian community remains to be seen in how these leaders are going to respond to this Hindraf initiative.
If it needs be reminded, the Indians are the third largest voting race in Malaysia and have collectively around a one million voting strength.
From the 2010 Population census, Indians who are 21 years and above (voting age) comprise in percentage strength of 8 and statewise:
8.59% of Johor's population
10.89% of Kedah
15.55% of NS
12.69% of Perak
10.45% of Penang
13.92% of Selangor
10.55% of KL
These states hold 126 Parliamentary seats and 311 State assembly seats.
The predatory elites as always, will try to shade this pertinent fact.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/509/3b2fc5923e6e3422a6ff928705224d63.jpg.pagespeed.ce. HgVTcWNcHa.jpgNajib must realise that BN's support is dwindling by the day.
Even the Malays are slowly ditching their traditional support towards Umno.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (left) must realise that Pakatan is not an official coalition as far as the EC is concerned and as such a simple majority will not be enough to ensure victory.
Moreover Pakatan itself alleges it may be facing unfair tactics like postal voters, tainted electoral rolls, foreigners as voters, abuse of government machinery, money politics, and even a biased Election Commission to say the least.
It can even be imagined that some of Pakatan's selected candidates may not even turn up on nomination day.
Therefore for both parties every race and every vote has to be accorded with equal respect.
Dr PARAMAN VS, a general practitioner, strongly believes Malaysia requires comprehensive changes for the creation of a Malaysian society based on equality, justice and freedom.
7th November 2012, 10:21 PM
The cutting of Pakatan's Indian cord (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/213633)
8:33AM Nov 7, 2012
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin
COMMENT Post-2008 tsunami, which Hindraf (however much revisionists wish to claim otherwise) played a part in has been left out in the cold as far as mainstream politics is concerned. This cold spell seems to be abating.
Hindraf's audience with PAS' Nik Aziz Nik Mat and the recent Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim meet-up are interesting developments for the most credible Indians rights group often vilified as "racist" by the supposed multicultural alliance and their supporters.
Only DAP has yet to hold "high level" talks with P Waythamoorthy (right) and Hindraf. No surprise there. DAP these days accuses Hindraf of exactly the same thing Umno accused them of being - a "racist" organisation hell bent on destabilising the status quo. Of course Umno still accuses them of that but DAP has PKR and PAS, which act as a multicultural shield, to withstand the worst of these attacks.
Hindraf under P Uthayakumar and the Human Rights Party's rhetoric concerning the DAP did not help matters either. I have said exactly this in my conversations with Uthayakumar.
Waythamoorthy's "different approach" has Pakatan kool-aid drinkers painting the relationship between the brothers as some sort of Remus and Romulus retelling but as always nobody wants to acknowledge that different approaches to communal problems have always been the reality here in Malaysia.
Not too long ago, the Chinese community clapped enthusiastically as the MCA and DAP did the good cop bad cop routine on the political stage. Meanwhile, Hindraf supporters come up to me claiming partisanship to a specific brother and sniping at each other when solidarity between the Human Rights Party and Hindraf should be the objective.
n the partisan alternative press, some kudos is thrown Waythamoorthy's way but most of it sounds like a pat on the head for the Indian community for finally jumping on the Pakatan bandwagon.
Uthayakumar (left) though has to suffer the further indignity of the accusations of being a BN turncoat, when he is currently facing sedition charges and battling a system predicated on exacting its pound of flesh for imagined slights.
Uthayakumar is mocked as stubborn, arrogant and unyielding but the truth is this is exactly what the disenfranchised of the Indian community needs after decades of Umno-BN.
I have argued that the Human Rights Party is the perfect pressure group - vocal and uncompromising - but Hindraf could act as the bridge that links the polemics of Human Rights Party and the reforms needed, that can only be achieved by working with groups of power.
The Indian underclass
This is not to say that Pakatan has been derelict in its obligations to the Indian community.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/483/300x200xd728fb240cd41fbf1e752dc9028cf52b.jpg.pages peed.ic.dJp7osUPvu.jpgPKR's N Surendran and Latheefa Koya (left) do sterling work for the Indian community but the reality is that only Hindraf and the Human Rights Party (in its role as a pressure group) is capable of galvanising the marginalised Indian community into forming a cohesive force so they would be a formidable participant in the political process.
Honestly, the pro-Pakatan Indraf (Indian Rights Action Force) was an embarrassment that painted the alternative alliance efforts in wooing the Indian vote as a shoddy afterthought and was a great disservice to the people who marched on that fateful day (for various reasons) under the Hindraf banner.
As I have written in various piece - much to the ire of Hindraf supporters - Hindraf itself is also to blame for not being cognisant of the change of terrain in the battlefield in the coming Umno-Anwar showdown for the future of this country.
Pakatan has the middle-class Indian vote more or less locked down. In fact, there is a tendency by middle-class Indian voters to dismiss Hindraf as "troublemakers" and bemoan the reality that Indians are "so divided".
The MIC that many have written off (including me) has been making inroads into the disenfranchised Indian communities and spreading the wretched poison that the BN has been manufacturing all these years. Pakatan by alienating the only credible movement gives MIC the ammunition it requires in an undeclared culture war that Pakatan seems ignorant of waged from within and without the Indian community.
The marginalisation of a certain segment of the Indian community lies squarely on the shoulders of MIC and the separation of the public and private sectors of this country that is divided along racial lines, which the other ethnic groups are jealously guarding their turf.
The inclusion of Indians in opposition parties that claim multiracialism is regarded by those disenfranchised from the political process as mere tokenism or at worse, collaboration.
Hindraf may have given voice to these concerns but MIC has been quietly reaping the benefits of the resultant fallout. Something is better than nothing, they claim, and the old game of BN is better than the so-called new one of Pakatan.
Championing of communal rights
The more Hindraf is marginalised and painted as a racist group by Pakatan, the more apathy sets in a certain section of the disenfranchised section of the Indian community. For the crypto-racists within Pakatan who have always been contemptuous of the Indian community, this is not a problem until they lose a seat and blame the loss on the Indian community.
The wonderful aspect of free speech on the Internet is that under the cover of anonymity the Indian community (like everyone else) can be bashed with impunity.
What I get from the rhetoric emanating from Pakatan and its kool-aid drinkers (a distinction should be made between them and the true believers) is that multiculturalism/multiracialism means the inclusion of cultural identities for everyone, except the Indians.
The championing of communal rights for the other two races in this country conveniently escapes the all-encompassing multicultural rights (sic) rhetoric whereas Hindraf's "demands" are supposedly anathema because they follow the racial formula of the BN.
An example of this dissonance can be observed in PKR's Tian Chua who said that Pakatan's support for Indian Malaysian issues are not contingent on Hindraf support.
Never mind the fact that the only time Indian issues get play is when Hindraf (and the Human Rights party) scream their heads off. Why wouldn't you want to reassure the only credible Indian rights group in this country that their support is needed?
After all, DAP is chasing the Chinese educationist groups, Chinese commerce groups and Chinese/Christian evangelical groups, just to name a few. Of course, the argument here is that said groups are merely fighting for their "rights" (sic) as enshrined in the constitution whereas Hindraf advocates a quota system.
PKR may claim to be committed to Indian issues but you can bet your bottom ringgit that if Hindraf and the Indian community stood side by side, Tian Chua would not be so cavalier in dismissing this rights group when his allies and he go chasing after every "other" rights or pressure groups out there.
Moreover, Tian Chua, spare me "we are not there to exchange political favours" spiel. Only a complete moron would believe that Pakatan is immune from the reality of the political process where horse trading, political favours and all the other necessary evils of achieving and maintaining political power is practiced.
Compromises from both sides
This of course is a question of degrees and while we abhor the blatant and criminal way Umno has been doing this all these years, I would like to believe that most Pakatan supporters are not blind to the reality that Pakatan would have to do this to remain in power if it ever sits on the Putrajaya throne.
Never mind that the Malay-Muslim community is constantly reminded that a "need-based" affirmative action policy would see their "rights" secure and the DAP being Chinese dominated is an extremely influential voice in the alliance which means that Chinese "rights" would be taken care off.
This leaves the Indians in the position of having no choice but to buy into the whole multiracial/cultural idea in the hope that the rhetoric translates into action.
Hint. It is extremely difficult to make the argument that you are an alliance committed to the ideals of egalitarianism and/or multiculturalism when your rhetoric and strategies relies on claiming the racial roles created by Umno under the guise of an all-inclusive alliance.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/462/300x200x303252e391adb12e351a990be980a27d.jpg.pages peed.ic.hOLVOSIgZx.jpgAt the end of the day, as a supporter of Pakatan I believe that Pakatan should acknowledge Hindraf and the Human Rights Party as the only game in town when it comes to the issue of Indian communal interest.
These two rights groups are the only sociopolitical entities which have a genuine commitment to the plight of the disenfranchised and if Pakatan is sincere in their commitment to the Indian community, they would harness the potential of these groups as a means of drawing the disenfranchised section of the Indian community into the mainstream.
At the same time, Hindraf and the Human Rights Party have to drop their extremely polemical discourse and their own role in exacerbating the culture conflict within the Indian community and realise that just as Pakatan has to make compromises, so would they.
As long as the compromises they make serve some utilitarian value that favours the Indian community even at the expense of the principal, well that is the hard cold reality of politics especially racial politics anywhere in the world.
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.
10th November 2012, 07:21 PM
One of the things people learn in history is that you cannot do business with UMNO.
Hindraf doubts Najib’s sincerity (http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/11/10/hindraf-doubts-najibs-sincerity/)
Alyaa Azhar (http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/author/alyaaazhar/)
November 10, 2012
The movement is however willing to give the prime minister the benefit of doubt but insists that he must shed his 'current box of thinking' in order to have meaningful discussions.
http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/10112012959-300x225.jpg (http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/11/10/hindraf-doubts-najibs-sincerity/attachment/10112012959/)PETALING JAYA: Hindraf has cast aspersions on the sincerity of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s invitation to hold a discussion.
The premier’s courtship, said Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy, had not left the movement flushed with excitement as it could be related to the coming general election.
“We are not exactly excited about this invitation but we have decided to give him the benefit of doubt,” he told reporters here.
He said the invitation had come late on the part of the government since the Indian poor had been marginalised for decades.
Waythamoorthy also urged Najib to lift the ban on Hindraf imposed by his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration.
“It does not make sense for the prime minister to meet leaders of a banned organisation.
“There is no timeline on when it should be lifted but of course we would like for the ban to be lifted as soon as possible,” he added.
Hindraf had become a foul word during Abdullah’s tenure after the movement staged a massive street protest in 2007, which was seen as the catalyst for the following year’s political tsunami.
Meanwhile, Waythamoorthy also called on Najib to shed his “current box of thinking” in order to facilitate meaningful discussions between them.
“He must be able to come far with us to consider our suggested solutions which are permanent, comprehensive and practical,” he added.
On Aug 29, Hindraf made open requests to both Najib and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to hold discussions on finding solutions to the long-standing problems plaguing the Indian poor.
Anwar responded first and talks between them had started, with more meetings in the pipeline.
On a related matter, Waythamoorty said Hindraf would unveil its five-year blueprint to bring the Indian poor into the mainstream of national development on Nov 25.
This would be its prioritised plan as derived from its 18-point demand given originally to the government in August 2007.
Asked for a preview of the blueprint, Waythamoorty said he was not in a position to reveal its contents but gave an example of the condition of 350,000 stateless Indians in Malaysia.
“The solution would be for anyone born in Malaysia from Aug 31, 1957 onwards to be declared as citizens of Malaysia.
“A statutory declaration by those involved should be sufficient for the National Registration Department (NRD) to issue them with a blue identity card,” he added.
10th November 2012, 08:00 PM
Why Hindraf should meet the Prime Minister (http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2012/11/09/why-hindraf-should-meet-the-prime-minister/)
November 9, 2012
FMT LETTER: From Wong Mun Chee, via e-mail
After the recent meeting with the de facto leader of Pakatan, it appears that the government is now interested in meeting Hindraf. Although an interesting development, in most minds, it is nothing but a political gimmick in view of the general elections.
Hindraf had made its stand to be a non-partisan movement, interested only in protecting and enhancing human rights and basic needs of the poorer socio economic segment of Malaysian Indians.
The rapid increase in proportion to their population in deaths in custody, statelessness, level of suicide, single parents, homelessness, forced conversions, temple demolitions, etc. and negative vices perpetrated by downtrodden Indians since the premiership of Dr Mahathir, is a clear depiction of how lopsided policies have contributed in neglecting this community, mainly through their displacement from the plantations without any solutions or remedies.
Hindraf probably realises that unlike their Malay and Chinese comrades, the poorer segment of the Malaysian Indians don’t have any safety nets such as the political muscle for the Malays nor the economical strength of the Chinese.
The discrimination and oppression faced by the poorer segment of the Malaysian Indians have never had a room to voice in seeking relief for their grievances, although lawmakers from both the ruling government and opposition will say they have been there, though only in namesake.
The regular run of the mill consisting mainly of middle class and upper class Malaysians, including the Indians, fail to recognise the dire straits of the poorer segment of the community in a pragmatic sense but rather through a coloured lens.
Similarly, many echo that there are also others who face similar position. Fair and well, nobody is stopping them to seek redress but not for this typical middle class and upper class Malaysian who can only blow their trumpets like the politicians without addressing the core issues.
The issues and obstacles facing the poorer segment of Indians in Malaysia is a reality that needs the support of the whole community irrespective of their origins, rather than the bickering and bad mouthing that we often see amongst the politicians.
I’m sure Hindraf with its motto ‘Rights not Mercy’ in its negotiation, is well equipped in seeking a concrete blueprint to ensure that the poor segment of the Malaysian Indian community is lifted without strings attached to ensure fairness and equality is in tandem with the rest of the community without exclusion or what is politically expedient.
I feel that Hindraf, being a non-partisan movement, should put forward their proposals to both BN and Pakatan and we the community need to support their drive to ensure that our fellow poorer segment of Malaysian Indians can participate in a positive way in our growth as a nation.
5th January 2013, 03:55 PM
Time to set up a Ministry of Minority Affairs (http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2462:time-to-set-up-a-ministry-of-minority-affairs-&catid=228:commentary&Itemid=196)
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Written by Dr. Lim Teck GheeFriday, 04 January 2013 09:19
http://english.cpiasia.net/images/2012/minority-report.jpgAs we begin a new year, a rash of old issues and challenges confront the country. Chief amongst them are racial and religious tensions and a rising sense of marginalization and alienation among our minority communities while at the same time the majority community feels threatened and insecure.
Many of these problems are deeply entrenched. Their effects are no longer confined to a small part of our body politic or emerge as isolated and unconnected events. They have infiltrated into all sectors of society and cast a shadow in the life of every Malaysian – in our everyday thought processes, in our consciousness and in our actions.
The problems that are associated with the ethnic and religious divide between Malays and non-Malays and between Muslims and non-Muslims will not be resolved quickly. There is no magical remedy.
Many of these problems stem from our seriously weakened social cohesion and the growing disunity that our nation has experienced during the past four decades. The intangible but potent glue of harmony, sense of community and commitment to realizing the common good that binds countries and their people together has long broken down in Malaysia.
The start of a new year is a good time to spend pondering on how to recover this spirit of lost social cohesion and to focus on what can be done to rebuild it.
Addressing the plight of small minorities
The sense of alienation and marginalization is most palpable among Indian, Orang Asli and other small minority communities. Although some members of these groups can make their way up the socio-economic ladder with their own resources, nonetheless many of the rest are wallowing in poverty and deprivation. They will require a special helping hand if they are able to ever escape from the straitjacket of impoverishment and stagnation.
As the race-oriented New Economic Policy is jettisoned in place of a new national policy paradigm based on need and not race, how do we ensure that these groups –which have badly lagged behind other communities in every single important indicator of development and wellbeing – do not lose out again in the implementation of the New Economic Model during the next decade?
How do we guarantee that poor and needy members of small minority communities will be scrupulously and fairly targeted for assistance and do not disappear or are lost sight of in our national agenda of development that will be inevitably dominated by the concerns of the dominant Malay, and to some extent, the Chinese community?
To undo the negative impact of decades of government neglect and discrimination against the smaller minority communities as well as to steer a new path for social cohesion and social justice that will embrace all Malaysians, it may be necessary to establish a new Ministry that can mobilize and lead future efforts in the public sector aimed at improving the life prospects of downtrodden minority Malaysians.
Two months ago, to mark the fifth anniversary of the movement’s rally in KLCC on Nov 25, 2007 – the event which precipitated a new dawn of political consciousness in Malaysia – Hindraf unveiled a blueprint proposing solutions to overcome the plight of ethnic Indian community, especially the 800,000 displaced estate workers and 350,000 stateless Indians.
Towards the end of the blueprint document is a proposal to establish a Ministry of Minority Affairs that would plan and execute development efforts to address the educational, housing, resettlement and employment needs of marginalized Indians.
This proposal to set up an entirely new Ministry may seem like an inappropriate one, coming at a time when the efficiency and efficacy of a bloated civil service has come under severe public scrutiny and censure.
However, it is in my view worthy of serious consideration by the Barisan and Pakatan parties, whichever coalition comes to power in the coming elections.
Justification for the new Ministry
The justification for establishing an entirely new Ministry devoted to the smaller minorities is compelling. Numerous studies have established that relations between and within communities suffer when people lack work and endure hardship, debt, low esteem, poor skills and bad living conditions. These basic necessities of life are the foundations of a strong social fabric but are lacking for many in the smaller minority communities.
Also, unlike the Malay and Chinese communities that dominate our public and private sectors, Malaysia’s small minority communities lack the resources and clout to compete for the opportunities ostensibly available to all stakeholders in our economy and society.
Already marginalized, when left to fend for themselves in the future, they are likely to fall further behind as the competition for scarce resources becomes more intense.
How much will it cost?
During the past ten Malaysia Development Plans, a total sum of over one trillion ringgit was spent. Little of this development expenditure was committed towards or trickled down to the smaller minorities (see table).
Development Expenditure for 10 Malaysia Plans
Total: RM1.155 trillion
Ninth Malaysia Plan
Eighth Malaysia Plan
Seventh Malaysia Plan
Sixth Malaysia Plan
Fifth Malaysia Plan
Fourth Malaysia Plan
Third Malaysia Plan
Second Malaysia Plan
First Malaysia Plan
Hindraf has estimated that a small fraction of this massive expenditure – RM25 billion – provided to the new Ministry will provide the first ditch effort to permanently improve the life of marginalized Indians. The cost for uplifting the conditions and life chances of other minorities will be more modest.
The total bill for improving the life chances of marginalized Indians, Orang Asli and others and restoring dignity and a sense of belonging to the smaller minorities is a price the country can well afford. But is the political will there – in either Barisan or Pakatan parties – to take this small step forward in what could lead to a momentous paradigm shift in our journey towards a fair, just and compassionate society?
A just multi-ethnic society is judged by how fairly it treats its smallest minority communities and provides them with access to opportunities that can improve their material circumstances and future life chances.
In India, the Government recently established a Ministry of Minority Affairs in 2006 as the apex body for the central government's regulatory and developmental programmes for the minority communities which include Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians identified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Other countries which have established similar Ministries include Pakistan and Israel.
We should do no less in Malaysia.
26th January 2013, 09:56 PM
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/images/uploads/2013/january2013/0126hindrafletter.jpgThe letter to Hindraf chief P Waythamoorthy.
As polls loom, Putrajaya lifts Hindraf ban (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/as-polls-loom-putrajaya-lifts-hindraf-ban/)
By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor
January 26, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Putrajaya has finally lifted its over four-year ban on the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), the organisation responsible for the massive 2007 protest march that was seen as a major factor that swung Indian voters to the opposition in Election 2008.In a letter addressed to Hindraf chief P Waythamoorthy yesterday, the Registrar of Societies (RoS) informed the organisation that it was the Home Minister who had made the decision, after reconsidering the its appeal.
"Please be informed that the Home Minister, after reconsidering your appeal, has agreed to rescind the Section 5 order under the Societies Act 1966 issued on October 14, 2008, which had gazetted the Hindu Rights Action Force as an illegal organisation," said the letter which was signed by one Dasmond Das Michael Das of the RoS.
Waythamoorthy, who is believed to be abroad at the moment, forwarded a scanned copy of the letter and emailed it to several media organisations this evening.
The lifting of the ban comes at a most strategic time; on the eve of Thaipusam, a very significant festival to the the Hindus who form the majority of the country's Indian community; and even more notable is that in just months, the country will head for federal polls, which is seen as likely to be the most toughest electoral battle yet for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
It has been over five years since the group of nearly 30,000 Indians led by Hindraf marched into the capital city to protest what they had claimed were "unfair" policies of the BN government.
But since then, many political leaders and observers have said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his repeated attempts to appear more inclusive and his administration's purportedly conciliatory policies appear to be recapturing the support of the country's minority group.
BN has also regained Indian votes in several of the 16 by-elections since Election 2008 where the country's estimated three million Indians form a sizeable minority.
Since Election 2008, the then outlawed Hindraf movement that organised the November 25, 2007 march has also split up, with some leaders favouring the BN government while others either continue with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties or have grown disenchanted with both coalitions.
It was also Najib who had strategically agreed to free a few of the "Hindraf Five" who were taken in by the authorities under the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA).
In fact, several Indian leaders in BN's MIC believe that in the party's tussle for the Indian vote in the coming polls, the most important element to recapture lost support from the community would be Najib himself.
The Indian vote is seen as crucial to determine BN's future in the country as the next general election is expected to be a neck-and-neck race between the ruling coalition and the fledgling PR pact.
Observers have claimed that Najib and BN leaders have lost confidence in the MIC's ability to score the Indian vote, resulting in efforts by the prime minister to engage directly with the community, who form nearly 1.8 million out of the 28 million population in Malaysia. Some 800,000 are registered voters.
Just recently, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz announced in Parliament that Najib was ready to hold a dialogue with Hindraf to discuss the community's key concerns.
But in an interview with The Malaysian Insider in December last year, MIC secretary-general Datuk S. Murugesan noted there was nothing wrong with relying on the "Najib factor" to boost Indian support, adding that humility has been important in wooing support back into BN's fold
"We have a good PM (prime minister)... what's wrong with that?" he said.
"It is only to be expected. All this while, people have been saying - why hasn't the government done this or done that... and the face of the government is the PM.
"So if they think we have a good leader with good heart, good ears and a sound mind at the helm, they will support us.
"So... yes, Najib is an important factor and I've got no issues with that," he added.
27th January 2013, 11:41 AM
Despite ban lift, Hindraf vows to hound Putrajaya on Indian issues (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/despite-ban-lift-hindraf-vows-to-hound-putrajaya-on-indian-issues/)
By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor
January 27, 2013
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/images/uploads/01/indias0127.jpgThe lifting of the ban was simply BN toying with Indian sentiment, said Manoharan. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 ― Putrajaya’s decision to lift its four-year-old ban on Hindraf appears to have caused barely a ripple in the tussle for the Indian vote as activists in the now-legal movement remain bent on pursuing the demands they raised before Election 2008.This comes even with the group having split into several factions since leading the massive march of 30,000 Indians in the city’s capital in 2007.
When contacted yesterday, Hindraf leaders said that lifting the ban was “nothing to celebrate about”, serving only as a reminder of how much more powerful their political foes are and how, just with a simple signature, these enemies could pull the carpet from under them.
“Nothing great at all. What we want, what we must seek, is compensation. And our 18-point demands from before... it still stands.
“We must make them pay for what they have done to the Indian community,” Hindraf legal adviser M. Manoharan told The Malaysian Insider last night.
Another Hindraf colleague, P. Uthayakumar, lamented of the legal suits that the four-year ban had accumulated for the movement and how most were still pending in court.
“We have an appeal pending in the Federal Court on March 5 on Hindraf’s application to be declared legal... right now, that case has become academic.
“We also have 54 Hindraf activists who were prosecuted for their involvement in an illegal organisation’s rally... all that is pending,” he said.
But the two activists, who were among the “Hindraf Five” sent to the Kamunting Detention Camp under the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA), believed Hindraf’s struggle is far from over.
“The struggle goes on. Until we see Indians treated equally, treated fairly, this is what we will do.
“Our 18-points... I personally cannot compromise on these demands,” said Manoharan, who is also a DAP member.
Key among these demands are equal rights and opportunities for all races in Malaysia and the scrapping of Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which outlines the special privileges and positions of the Malays.
“So the government is doing this, lifting the ban to play politics, to play with Indian sentiments. What we want are merely our fundamental, basic rights,” Manoharan continued.
On the flip side, Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders appeared keen on using the lifting of the Hindraf ban ― timed strategically on the eve of the Hindu celebration of Thaipusam and just months or even weeks before the coming polls ― to their benefit.
The move could reinforce for BN previously pro-Hindraf Indians who have been enticed back into its fold over the years, having grown starry-eyed with the attention that the Najib administration has paid to their needs.
MIC secretary-general Datuk S. Murugessan pointed out that, legal or not, Hindraf had kept operating in clandestine fashion and, as a result, the movement was no longer the force it used to be.
“Due to the fact that it has splintered so many times and its leaders are not able to agree on so many issues,” he said.
Indeed, within Hindraf, or better known as the Hindu Rights Action Force, much has transpired since the movement led over 30,000 angry Indians to march against the government, just months before the historic 2008 polls.
The group appears to have fractured, with some having joined its offshoot party ― the Malaysian Makkal Sakhti Party (MMSP), which sides with BN ― and others, spreading out to parties within the federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), mostly to DAP or PKR. Hindraf itself appeared to stay afloat mostly thanks to loyal core of anti-government protagonists who, with the ban lifted, are again keen to continue their struggle.
To MIC’s Murugessan, any struggle for Indian rights would be welcome, so long as it stayed within the acceptable boundaries of a country that is multiracial and multireligious.
“Some of those things that Hindraf fights for overlap with the MIC’s aim
“On that, we agree with them. However, the MIC has its own time-tested methods that although may not be as dramatic, but produces results and also advances the national interest,” he said.
7th February 2013, 11:01 AM
And yet they want to talk to UMNO! Einstein defined Insanity as the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!
14th February 2013, 09:05 PM
Hindraf blueprint needs amendment — Kua Kia Soong (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/hindraf-blueprint-needs-amendment-kua-kia-soong/)
February 14, 2013
FEB 14 — I have all along been supportive of the Hindraf movement because I believe that Malaysian Indians are a marginalised minority and are victims of state racism, often resulting in their forming the majority in statistics on deaths in police custody and police shootings. The marginalised Indians in this country are a specially oppressed section of the working class - it is an oppression that has taken on a racist character through the years.
SUARAM has also been approached to endorse Hindraf's blueprint. Now, while the blueprint has some good policy proposals, there are contradictions with its own professed "multi-ethnic paradigm" and human rights assertions. Consequently, Hindraf has neglected certain fundamental demands that we would have expected the movement to stress especially in the coming general election.
Racism or more specifically, "Bumiputeraism" has been the dominant ideology of the UMNO ruling class ever since May 13, 1969. It has been practiced under the guise of the "New Economic Policy" and that racism has been covertly disseminated through state institutions such as the Biro TataNegara and other "bumiputeras only" institutions all these years.
Thus, it is in the common interest of all communities at this 13th general election to call for an end to this institutional racism and Pakatan Rakyat must commit to this before they get our vote. In this day and age, affirmative action is not justifiable for any ethnic community which has undergone class differentiation. Thus, neither the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazanmurut nor Iban communities can justify any affirmative action for their own community. The best non-racist approach to progress is still affirmative action based on class or sector. Thus, if the affirmative action is for the plantation poor, clearly the beneficiaries will be Malaysian Indians, and so on.
Eradicate institutional racism
Despite their efforts in recent years highlighting the entrenchment of racial discrimination in the Constitution, I am surprised that the Hindraf Blueprint does not call for the abolition of the "New Economic Policy". Any corrective action in all economic and education policies must be based on need or sector or class and not on race with priority given to indigenous people, marginalised and poor communities. Since their blueprint extols human rights, Hindraf should put forward their demands for all minorities and not just the Indian community. Thus we find a gaping "disconnect" between Hindraf's noble challenge to racial discrimination entrenched in the Constitution and their "Indians Only" proposals in the blueprint.
And to be consistent in their human rights stand, Hindraf should also call for:
· the repeal of Amendment (8A) of Article 153 that was passed during the state of emergency in 1971 and was not in the original 1957 federal constitution;
· institutionalising means testing for any access to scholarships or other entitlements;
· implementing merit-based recruitment in civil & armed services;
· enacting an Equality Act to promote equality and non-discrimination irrespective of race, creed, religion, gender or disability with provision for an Equality & Human Rights Commission;
· institutionalising equality and human rights education at all decision-making levels, including state and non-state actors/ institutions;
· ratifying the Convention on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Ministry of Minorities' Affairs
Such a ministry is a good idea in a government that is committed to equality, justice and human rights. This point is not clear in Hindraf's blueprint. At the moment, the Hindraf leadership is even contemplating talking with BN leaders while voicing impatience with PR. Do they believe UMNO will commit to such reforms before the 13GE? If they can allow an "Orang Asli Department" and "Ministry of Women's Affairs", why should another cosmetic "Ministry of Minorities' Affairs" be a problem for them? And when they do, would Hindraf be prepared to accept a BN government?
The crucial question is: Which is the priority for Hindraf? Do they prioritise the demands for reforms or the demand for a ministry post? If it is the latter, then it is out and out opportunism of the elites in the movement which should be condemned by all progressive Malaysians.
Does Hindraf believe in consultation?
A critical principle in human rights and democracy is respect for others. The rights of minorities in any society mean just that - all minorities have rights and no minority group has more rights than others. That being the case, why does the Hindraf blueprint insist that the post of Minister of Minorities' Affairs HAS to be filled by Hindraf? Surely, all the minorities in the country have to get together and decide who should be nominated for such a post? This is called consultation.
Hindraf must also work alongside other campaigns for justice, democracy and human rights. Besides "eradicating institutional racism", Malaysian civil society has at least nineteen other demands in the 13GE for the political parties to commit to. The point is, we can only mobilize all the people if we fight on all fronts, against all oppressions and against the divisions within the masses. As the Black Panthers said in the sixties: "We do not fight racism with racism...We fight racism with solidarity".
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
11th March 2013, 01:30 PM
I am very sympathetic to Hindraf's struggle to uplift the Indians. Along the way, I see that they seem to have lost the plot. Sad as I am to say it, I think the author has made a fair and accurate assessment of Hindraf's position today. If they don't change tack, they risk the danger of being ignored by both sides and become irrelevant.
Hindraf is no longer the force they were (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/223413)
M Kulasegaran (http://www.malaysiakini.com/browse/a/en/M%20Kulasegaran)
10:50AM Mar 10, 2013
COMMENT I would like to weigh in on the ongoing discussion on the demand (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/223348) by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) that their blueprint for the Indian poor be endorsed in a binding way by Pakatan Rakyat.
But before I come to that, I would like to relate some background on the matter.
Several weeks ago, it was suggested to me by higher-ups in my party that I should go sit in on the meetings then being held between Hindraf officials and representatives of Pakatan who were mainly from PKR.
I was given to understand that the aim of the discussions was to arrive at an electoral understanding between Pakatan and Hindraf in preparation for GE13.
I was reluctant to go to the discussions.
I felt that after I had received my share of derogatory terms in recent years from Hindraf firebrands - being called on occasion a "mandore" and "oodampillai" (Tamil for "running dogs") - I would not like to sit down and discuss issues with people who think their campaign on the plight of the Indian poor gives them a monopoly on self-righteousness.
I had always understood myself to be a striver for justice for all Malaysians, irrespective of race, with a specific concern for the Indian segment on the grounds that their plight has reached wrenching levels and deserved urgent attention.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/103/250x215xc3d431a54596720318c49594d322dca3.jpg.pages peed.ic.oxwhm6xA5A.jpgI participated in the historic march organised by Hindraf on the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25, 2007 - the ‘Rosa Parks' moment in the struggle for the socio-economic advancement of the Indian poor.
I'm of the view that the march catalysed the groundswell of support that enabled the opposition coalition to deny the BN at the March 2008 general election its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament.
To think that Hindraf thereby enjoyed monopoly rights of ownership to that electoral triumph was vain and presumptuous.
Demand for seats
Unfortunately, presumption and self-righteousness were the traits displayed by some Hindraf leaders since that protest march of November 2007.
Especially wounding and unwise were the derogatory terms they hurled at leaders in opposition parties belonging to Pakatan who were also striving to uplift the Indian poor.
These traits and the radical tone of the demands contained in their 18-point manifesto that Hindraf espoused on behalf of Indian Malaysians did not endear a minority rights movement to the more sizeable other sections of the Malaysian poor.
Thus when, in the course of the ongoing discussions between Hindraf and Pakatan, I heard that the movement had made a demand that Pakatan hand several parliamentary and state seats for Hindraf to contest, my initial reluctance to join in was confirmed as sound.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/574/300x199x8d1371b602f3d10520e6d6e52d5f2d13.jpg.pages peed.ic.9HSh4x-XNM.jpgIn recent years, while Hindraf contented themselves with self-righteous derogation of others, those who strived for the cause of the Malaysian poor and in particular the Indian destitute, kept busy, and in the areas where they happened to be elected as legislators, they render whatever help they can muster to all and sundry Malaysians in need.
When the cause of the huge numbers of stateless residents - a large proportion of whom are Indians - became urgent in the last year or so, it was politicians from PKR, DAP and PAS who coordinated the drive to press the issue in the public domain.
I'm not saying that Hindraf went AWOL during this period and over this issue but, let's say, a whining presumption and derogation of others on behalf of the marginalised is a polarising attitude to assume.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/528/300x202x5fa43b34b9b36f53c90365e3928f4419.jpg.pages peed.ic.BsHKh74DjG.jpgFurther, when concern over irregularities in the electoral rolls grew in the last two years to become a major issue, Malaysian activists watched as a dignified leader, Ambiga Sreenevasan, emerged to become prominent in articulation of the public pressure that was brought to bear on the Election Commission to make the necessary reforms to our electoral process.
I witnessed the effect of this newfangled leader on the Indian poor and the middle class.
Last October, at a leading hotel in Ipoh, I saw 1,000 Chinese and Indian Malaysians pay RM50 per head to hear Ambiga on the issue of electoral reform at a fundraising dinner.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/590/300x224xe3604c3c44d61bb7061e97ac3021f1c8.JPG.pages peed.ic.QG-YIWMk-c.jpgScores of Indians were seen milling at the entrance to the sold-out function, wanting to fork out the RM50 to get in but there was no more room.
Last Saturday about 2,000 people, the bulk of them Indians, braved heavy rain to gather at the community hall in Buntong, Ipoh, to hear Ambiga on the issue of clean and fair polls. The hall was packed and many were forced to stand outside.
What is the moral behind this anecdotal evidence?
It is that a leader who espouses a cause in terms that are reasonable and dignified will gather broad-based support.
I know that I would invite a hail of derogatory epithets from Hindraf supporters by saying that dignity and manners matter.
But, to me, it has been evident since last year that Hindraf's presumption and derogation of others who work for the cause of the Indian poor have rendered them a marginal presence and not the force they were in late 2007 and 2008.
On Nov 5, 2012, at a Deepavali dinner in Wangsa Puteri in the Tebrau parliamentary constituency in Johor, I had some inkling of the waning influence of Hindraf.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/554/300x200x1dcdc4259792dcb9fefbef8ef7c6e4bd.jpg.pages peed.ic.645TZOBeyY.jpgEight thousand diners, overwhelmingly Indian, attended the function organised by the Indian cohort of Johor PKR with Pakatan supremo Anwar Ibrahim in attendance.
On the same night, Hindraf organised a similar function in Kulai. The crowd at this function occupied something like 70 tables out of the 200 that were touted as sold.
I do not desire to press this anecdotal evidence to the detriment of Hindraf. I do so in pursuit of a position that invites collaboration rather than contention.
We are presented with a historic opportunity to change the Malaysian polity from its decades-old mania over race and religion to one about justice, equality of opportunity and dignity for all, especially the poor and the marginalised.
We weaken the equally decades-long quest of the opposition if we whittle aspects of that liberating quest down to the narrow specifics of race requirements rather than steering by a need-based approach to poverty eradication and the uplifting of the marginalised.
We need all parties opposed to the policies and practices of recent decades to join in a collective endeavour for reform. Tunnel vision and myopia will lose us more than it will gain us.
M KULASEGARAN, a DAP leader, is member of parliament for Ipoh Barat.
2nd April 2013, 06:25 AM
Waythamoorthy’s betrayal of the rakyat (http://www.freemalaysiakini2.com/?p=73344)
Three pro-Hindraf people contacted me in the last three weeks to write about Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy. I wanted to gain an objective and balanced report because Hindraf’s exposé of the marginalised Indians and Waythamoorthy’s contribution to help them is well-documented.
However, many questions that puzzle the Malaysian public remain unanswered. I sent the questions I had to Waythamoorthy, twice, but there has been no response from him, or from any of his aides.
Easter is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, but it also signifies sacrifice and a new beginning. Waythamoorthy made a political statement through his hunger strike, but his sacrifice may end up dividing the nation further.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/590/330x220x36358c0584a2074c507ce1ed132b9e02.jpg.pages peed.ic.PomRsG0mqw.jpgWhen Malaysians go to the polls in GE13, they want this opportunity to breathe new life into the nation. The marginalised Indians are euphoric about being kingmakers in GE13 but if Umno wins, it would not be difficult to imagine who the nation will blame and who will be the biggest losers.
Waythamoorthy’s hunger strike has provoked both political and race rows, besides enraging Malaysians and some allies in England, his former country of exile.
Instead of gaining additional support for Hindraf, Waythamoorthy has, to his chagrin, been treated with contempt. He has been accused of using emotional blackmail to force either BN or the opposition, to accept his blueprint. He has been branded an opportunist.
Six years ago, Waythamoorthy rode high on the tide of public sympathy for the plight of the marginalised Indians; but in 2013, he may have miscalculated the mood of the nation. His hunger strike was given the oxygen of publicity by the alternative media, but the mainstream media made reference only after his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Various people in England, who had met Waythamoorthy and supported his cause, were asked to comment on Hindraf’s latest approach to both BN and Pakatan. The reactions were varied.
‘I’m not sure of his objectives any more’
There was disappointment. One response: “I used to think he was courageous. I am not so sure of his objectives any more. After lambasting Umno, why make overtures to Najib?”
One was puzzled: “The Malays are openly criticising race-based policies. Now, Waythamoorthy appears to incite Indians to back policies that champion only Indian causes.”
Another was vexed and said, “I think you need to be an Indian to understand what Hindraf and Waythamoorthy are campaigning for. Few Chinese and certainly even fewer Malays will understand. They have not been subjected to the same treatment.”
Some offered blind allegiance: “I support his call to abstain from the next election, for the next 56 years if necessary. Public opinion is fickle.”
Waythamoorthy is responsible for the consequences of his hunger strike, but the emotional scenes of friends, supporters and family pleading with him to end his strike, have brought mixed reaction.
Some claim that Waythamoorthy is distracting the nation from the more serious issues of a delayed election, corruption, national security, the Suluk invasion and the disturbing presence of frigates from the People’s Republic of China, just off Bintulu in Sarawak.
Only a naïve politician, or one who is desperate for power, would think he could move BN, Pakatan Rakyat or the Malaysian rakyat in this manner.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/105/260x148x08441ab2382ba03036a43e150cd42e4f.jpg.pages peed.ic.PazzCqDq_g.jpgOne political observer said: “Gandhi went on many hunger strikes to protest about the injustice of British rule in India. Fearful that he would die on their watch, the British made concessions.
“Do you think the ruling BN cares? Gandhi fought for all – that means Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians – in the Indian subcontinent. Waythamoorthy is thinking of only the Indians.”
Having failed in his attempt to get either BN or Pakatan to endorse his blueprint, Waythamoorthy has threatened to instruct Hindraf’s supporters to abstain from voting in GE13. His action is reckless and a complete betrayal of the rakyat. Punishing BN and PR may mean that the marginalised Indians whom he claims to represent, will also end up as losers.
This writer has unsuccessfully tried to approach Waythamoorthy, or a person who will speak on behalf of Hindraf. These questions were put to him, and to date, the questions remain unanswered:
1. You appear to target the opposition, instead of focusing your ire on BN, whose policies corrupted the country and its institutions. Some people accuse you of prostituting yourself by approaching both parties. What have you to say about this?
2. For 56 years, BN continually broke its promises to the Indians. Do you like the Umno/BN style of governance? What is your view of Umno’s corruption? Can you continue to claim to be principled when you enter into talks with BN?
3. You were given your passport, safe passage into Malaysia via the Causeway and later, the ban on Hindraf was lifted. Some people allege that Hindraf had done a “deal” with Umno, perhaps, even with Mahathir, the former PM. Is there any substance to this allegation?
4. Is Hindraf trying to fill the vacuum left by the MIC?
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/555/300x200xc545d45c871f24bbf7f40c97d42ef25f.jpg.pages peed.ic.A04FEHWIRO.jpg5. Hindraf started as a human rights organisation, but has morphed into a race-based political party. How is Malaysia to move forward and reject racial politics if you continue to play the race card? How are your policies better than Pakatan’s?
6. You appear to be fighting racism with more racism. Not all Malays or bumiputeras benefit from the NEP. Many indigenous peoples from Sarawak are also stateless. Hindraf will look after the Indians, so what will Hindraf do for the poor people from the Malay, Chinese and other communities?
7. Many people have been played out by Umno and Najib. What makes you think that they will honour their promises and keep their “janji ditepati” to you?
8. Hindraf demanded 10 parliamentary and seven state seats for it to contest from Pakatan. Have you made a similar demand to BN?
9. Do you seriously think you will win the 17 parliamentary and state seat allocations you demanded from Pakatan? Is it wise to tell your followers to abstain from voting?
10. Do you think BN is alarmed about the consequences of your hunger strike? Do you think you will make a significant impact on Malaysians? What are your real reasons for going on this strike? What do you seek to accomplish with this hunger strike? What will make you start eating again?
Hindraf exposed the displacement of the estate workers over the last four decades. Private estates were purchased and taken over by the government-linked companies (GLCs) to create vast plantations. The bottom line was profit.
Why labour, immigration laws not challenged?
Umno knows that cheap labour fuels the Malaysian economy. Umno’s madness was a three-pronged attack: Immigrants, both legal and illegal, provided cheap labour. Immigrants who were predominantly Muslim could be manipulated to uphold racial and religious policies. Immigrants provided Umno with votes.
Why has Waythamoorthy not challenged the labour and immigration laws, and attempted to force the GLCs to absorb the displaced Indians?
Malaysians abhor racial and religious-based politics. Waythamoorthy’s intransigence fuels further persecution of the marginalised Indians.
If the Indians follow Waythamoorthy’s call to abstain from voting, both Hindraf and the Indians will be isolated from any role in the governance of Malaysia. They will play no part in the shaping of policies to help poor Malaysians, regardless of ethnicity.
Waythamoorthy has a long way to go before he grasps the enormity of Hindraf’s betrayal. Perhaps, he could swallow his pride and accept the face-saving offer by Karpal Singh to resume negotiations with the opposition.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.
Short URL: http://www.freemalaysiakini2.com/?p=73344
9th April 2013, 01:42 PM
Pakatan and Hindraf - the missed opportunity (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/226111)
Kua Kia Soong (http://www.malaysiakini.com/browse/a/en/Kua%20Kia%20Soong)
12:12PM Apr 8, 2013
COMMENT I attended a Hindraf dinner a few weeks ago at which they explained their blueprint for GE13. After the presentation, I posed the hypothetical question which seemed a likely scenario: “What if the BN embraces your blueprint? What then?”
P Waythayamoorthy’s reply was “We would rather Pakatan Rakyat accepts our blueprint after all we have gone through under BN since Independence…,” or words to that effect.
Well, now the election has been called and what is the scenario? BN is at the point of embracing Hindraf’s blueprint, whether in toto or in part.
What is politically bewildering is that Pakatan has rebuffed Hindraf and has not included the proposals from the blueprint in its manifesto or that challenges the institutional racism (in particular, the NEP) that has been part of BN policy since 1971.
The rationale was that Hindraf’s blueprint was based on race while Pakatan's manifesto was based on need of all classes.
http://mk-cdn.mkini.net/584/7b9a30457a8823da605310b5bc27c336.jpgAfter Hindraf’s criticism of the Pakatan manifesto, the Indian Malaysian leaders in Pakatan gave the lame excuse that they were not in the drafting committee of the manifesto. This was hardly convincing, while giving the public a poor image of the way in which policies are made within Pakatan.
Soon after that, the DAP saw fit to include several proposals from Hindraf’s blueprint in its post facto ‘Gelang Patah Declaration”’ and after it did that, Hindraf accused the DAP of plagiarising the blueprint.
The bizarre and total inconsistency of this Gelang Patah Declaration is the fact that it was promulgated as a DAP rather than a Pakatan policy statement.
Why wasn’t it a Pakatan declaration? Is the declaration only acceptable by the DAP but not PKR and PAS? Why was this not ‘racist’ when Pakatan had said that the Hindraf blueprint was racist? Politically, it looked ridiculous while providing more grist for BN fire against Pakatan.
Whatever happens to this blossoming BN-Hindraf romance, we will have to see if the union is eventually solemnised. It should not if the Hindraf leaders have any political nous and honesty regarding Umno’s cynical use of institutional racism through its 56-year reign, which is the root cause of national oppression of the ethnic minorities.
http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.malaysiakini.com/mk-cdn.mkini.net/603/330x220x66bfc6d6079a936c6f97658cb4b697fc.jpg.pages peed.ic.GPSRHADBB8.jpgIf BN can accept Hindraf’s blueprint, something’s wrong with the blueprint
I have pointed out previously that the main failure in Hindraf’s blueprint is its failure to demand the eradication of institutional racism.
I have shared several fora with Hindraf leaders at which we have condemned institutional racism in Malaysia. And despite their efforts in recent years highlighting the entrenchment of racial discrimination in the constitution, I am surprised that the Hindraf blueprint does not call for the abolition of the NEP.
Pakatan cannot claim to be holier than thou because it does not condemn this institutional racism or announce readiness to abolish the NEP in its manifesto.
Any corrective action in all economic and education policies must be based on need or sector or class and not on race with priority given to indigenous people, marginalised and poor communities.
Since its blueprint extols human rights, Hindraf should put forward its demands for all minorities and not just the Indian Malaysian community. Thus we find a gaping ‘disconnect’ between Hindraf’s noble challenge to racial discrimination entrenched in the constitution and its ‘Indians only’ proposals.
And because the blueprint is couched in terms of ‘Indian demands’ as MIC has traditionally done, it is easy for BN to accede to the blueprint. In fact, it is back to the quintessential ‘Alliance formula’ of 1957 except that BN will then (if they accept Hindraf) have a new associate tagged onto the MIC.
I have also earlier pointed out that to be consistent in its human rights stand, Hindraf should also urge:
Repeal of Amendment (8A) of Article 153 that was passed during the state of emergency in 1971 and was not in the original 1957 federal constitution;
Institutionalising means testing for any access to scholarships or other entitlements;
Implementing merit-based recruitment in the civil and armed services;
Enacting an Equality Act to promote equality and non-discrimination irrespective of race, creed, religion, gender or disability with provision for an Equality and Human Rights Commission;
Institutionalising equality and human rights education at all decision-making levels, including state and non-state actors/institutions; and
Ratifying the Convention on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination.
If the Hindraf blueprint was couched in these human rights terms, do you think BN would accept it? Certainly not, because BN has always been a ‘racial formula’. The coalition is the sum of its racialist parts - Umno, MCA, MIC and associates”.
Is Pakatan suffering from a mental block on the national question? Why is it averse to coopting Hindraf’s blueprint, thereby losing the opportunity of an historic alliance with Hindraf? Is it because Pakatan is more purist than BN on the national question?
http://mk-cdn.mkini.net/335/52d960b0dc4ccf0b4a793dad06214ca3.gifI don’t think so because, if the Pakatan manifesto can take into account Felda settlers, there is no reason why it cannot make considerations for displaced plantation communities or the stateless, among others, that are in the post facto Gelang Patah Declaration. The DAP, as usual, are ‘wise after the event’, a euphemism for opportunism!
Or could it be that incorporating Hindraf’s proposals would pose a threat to the jostling for seats among the Indian leaders in Pakatan? If this realpolitik is indeed one of the reasons for the Pakatan-Hindraf fallout, it is a let down of serious proportions for all Malaysians who hope for change in GE13.
And having been spurned by the Pakatan manifesto, we could only expect the fury of the Hindraf backlash against the DAP’s ‘plagiarism’.
No, in the end it boils down to Pakatan’s failure to come to terms with the national question, and that involves taking a stand on the NEP.
http://mk-cdn.mkini.net/282/4fb5a65bfe87a7032d2d2d03ae31da33.gifIsn’t it time for real change that will set our nation on a new footing of reconciliation and reconstruction, when we are no longer divided into ‘races’ and progressive policies can be put in place to help the truly needy?
Alas, I am afraid the ‘Ubah’ in Pakatan does not go far enough. (And I would ask all the homespun political philosophers to spare me their pearls of wisdom about the ‘pragmatic’ reasons for ‘not frightening the Malays’ in GE13).
Ultimately, a nation that is unequal can never be free or be at peace. Hindraf has already announced that it will be fielding candidates in several seats. Likewise, Pakatan’s ambivalence toward the left, namely PSM, will likely see three-corner contests in those constituencies that PSM contests.
I am afraid this historic non-compromise between Pakatan and Hindraf in GE13 will probably go down in Malaysian history as one of the most unfortunate missed opportunities in the overthrow of BN rule.
DR KUA KIA SOONG is director of human rights NGO Suara Rakyat Malaysia, a former member of parliament and former principal of New Era College, Kajang.
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