HINDRAF not racist while HRP says no to pact with Pakatan

February 8th, 2010 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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I guess when no else is bothered to fight for the community, then it will look like HINDRAF is racist. I don’t really see other people raising issue of temple demolition or lock-up deaths, unless there’s some political mileage. And its not as if HINDRAF is denying anyone of their rights (unless you consider inequality and privileges as rights). Instead they focus on creating awareness among the Indian community of the inequality that exists for the last half century. The are having their hands full with limited man power, so can’t really blame them for focusing on the Indian community. Anyway, I do remember Hindraf protesting against the death of a Malay youth who went berserk in Kedah and attacked the police with a kitchen knife. Do you think if HINDRAF had more man power, they will be able to cover more lock-up deaths, demolition of places of worship, displaced residents, and other injustices?

Another problem is their name, which implies that the group represents Hindus only. I think Uthaya had clarified in one of his interview about the origin of their name, which was due to the temple demolition cases they took up since last 10 years or so – a issue that no one else took up. He also mentioned that HINDRAF is for everyone who has been denied justice. If the name is really a bother, then just open a new group. The detractors will disappear. Anyway, what’s in a name. The important thing is the essence.

However, I don’t agree when Waytha says “It’s not my business to speak up for them” in reference to non-Indian Malaysians. Even though HINDRAF is not focused on many other issues, it did speak up for the East Malaysians and the few odd cases here and there.

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waythamoorthy has denied that he is spearheading a racist movement.

“We just can’t understand this racist label pinned on us through no fault of our own,” he told Malaysiakini.

“People who say that we are racists should first examine the meaning and definition of the term,” added the Hindraf leader who was given political asylum in Britain.

Waythamoorthy was responding to an avalanche of public comments against him.

This followed mostly calls in Sabah and Sarawak that PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim should re-assess his position in the party.

Waythamoorthy was quoted in thearticle as well.

He reiterated his charge that Umno has over the past half-century finally degenerated into a racist organisation.

But he disagreed with the assertion that Hindraf and Umno are similar or that it is a case of “the pot calling the kettle black”.

“A racist is one who denies other people their place in the sun and their legitimate rights under the Federal Constitution. That’s Umno. That’s the truth whether some people like it or not.

“A person fighting for his place in the sun and his rights under the Federal Constitution – read Hindraf – cannot by any stretch of the imagination be labeled racist. That would be defamation,” he stressed.

The Hindraf view is that Umno has in fact emerged as the single greatest threat to the security of Malaysia “because of the irresponsible and infantile manner in which they conduct their politics”.

He cited the lingering ‘Allah’ controversy as an example.

Only Indian issues

The Hindraf chair also readily admitted that he only talks about Malaysians of Indian-origin all the time and their issues.

However, Waythamoorthy sees nothing wrong with this approach “since we are in line with the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities adopted as Resolution 47/135 by the UN General Assembly on Dec 18, 1992”.

He claimed that if he and his brother Uthayakumar do not speak up on Indian issues as human rights lawyers, “no one else in Malaysia will”.

Uthayakumar, the elder brother of Waythamoorthy, is the pro-tem president of the Human Rights Party (HRP).

While dismissing MIC as a party led by a “bunch of self-serving sycophants”, Waythamoorthy also claimed that Pakatan’s Indian reps have been barred from raising issues concerning the community “for fear that they will show up Pakatan as being ineffective and antagonize the non-Indians”.

“I am an Indian. I know only Indian issues and no one is taking up their cause,” he reiterated on what “is good enough for him.”

“I know that other Malaysians are also being systematically marginalised as well by the system. It’s not my business to speak up for them,” he said.

‘Examine your conscience’

The Hindraf chair again stressed that he has done his part for other Malaysians by arranging a briefing on the Malaysia Agreement at the House of Commons in London on March 9.

The delegation of other Malaysians to the briefing is expected to be led by Jeffrey Kitingan who, among others, heads the Borneo Forum, an NGO.

Elsewhere, Waythamoorthy has also made contacts with the British Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat to bring the plight of Sabah and Sarawak to world attention.

He also hopes to help East Malaysian states at the European Parliament, the US State Department and the United Nations just as he has done for Hindraf.

“We have been reaching out to other Malaysians in our own way although we are very busy pushing our own case worldwide.

“If I am a racist, surely I won’t lift even a finger to help others fight for their place in the sun,” he said.

Following that, HINDRAF says it would not create a pact with Pakatan Rakyat again, having learnt its lesson from the earlier liason. This may be a ploy, maybe to get the attention of the other coalition or to warn Pakatan.  HINDRAF on its own can only be like a pain in the posterior, never really able to make a crucial impact on the overall election process.

Hindraf brothers P Waythamoorthy and Uthayakumar have categorically ruled out another polls pact with Pakatan Rakyat, with their previous support for the opposition alliance being seen as “a flash in the pan”.

“Any debate on Hindraf backing Pakatan at the polls is like flogging a dead horse. The question does not arise at all,” Waythamoorthy said by phone from London.

He added that the two brothers are willing to work with anyone “short of the devil”, on the agenda for change and reform.

“This must not be seen as a polls pact. No one is going to ride to victory any more at the polls on the backs of Indian Malaysians.”

He was giving his take on a report that Pakatan can win back its lost Indian votes by teaming up with the now-outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

It was the Indian vote in 67 key parliamentary seats that gave Pakatan the winning edge in five states and Kuala Lumpur, in the 2008 general election.

The votes were marshalled by Hindraf after the Nov 25, 2007 street demonstration in Kuala Lumpur and the more peaceful ‘rose rally’ in Putrajaya on Feb 16, 2008.

Waythamoorthy further claimed that Pakatan is doing nothing in the states that it governs to end the continued marginalisation of the Indian community from the mainstream.

This is the main reason why a future election pact is not on the table.

“Indian legislators in the opposition have been forbidden from raising issues of the community in any forum, public or private” he alleged.

Complaints against Pakatan

Waythamoorthy said his brother is in agreement with him that they need to keep a good distance from Pakatan, explaining this was on a ‘once bitten, twice shy’ basis.

Uthayakumar (left) is pro-tem head of the Human Rights Party – described as Hindraf’s political wing – while Waythamoorthy leads Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, the new face of Hindraf.

Waythamoorthy trotted out a litany of complaints against Pakatan, in particular, several of its leaders.

De facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim is said to have misled the Indian community on the post of deputy menteri besar in Selangor, among other matters.

Both Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his deputy P Ramasamy are seen as having turned against the community since the last general election.

And worse is HINDRAF’s political arm, HRP, says it may stand for election in Perak if there’s a snap polls. Imagine HRP candidate taking up PAS’s Nizar. Hmm…sure recipe for a disastrous loss for HRP.

The Human Rights Party may pose a candidate against former Pakatan Rakyat menteri besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin in Pasir Panjang, Perak, should state elections be called.

HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar announced at the Sitiawan Recreation Club over the weekend that the party – the political wing of Hindraf – will also contest in six other seats.

These are Buntong, Hutan Melintang, Jalong, Changkat Jong, Jelapang and Sungkai.

As a result, there will be a likelihood of a three-way contest in these seats. There are 59 state seats in Perak.

The Federal Court will rule tomorrow as to whether to allow Nizar’s appeal to challenge Barisan Nasional’s Zambry Abd Kadir as the menteri besar.

Nizar has promised to call for state elections to resolve the political imbroglio if he wins. Zambry, however, will continue to lead the silver state if he emerges victorious.

Perak’s constitutional crisis has been going on since Feb 6 last year.

Buntong has 46.2 percent Indians

Uthayakumar said it is likely that the HRP may contest, either under its own banner or field Independents.

Of the seven state seats, Buntong has the highest number of Indian voters, comprising 46.2 percent of the electorate.

It is followed by Hutan Melintang (32.1 percent), Jalong (26.7 percent) and Changkat Jong (26 percent)

Jelapang, Pasir Panjang and Sungkai have fewer than 20 percent Indian voters.

Uthayakumar announced the formation of the HRP, which he described as a multiracial party, on July 19 last year.

“We will fight our own cause… we can’t count on others to do so for us,” he said, adding that Pakatan Rakyat, like Barisan Nasional, is not addressing the needs of marginalised groups.


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