Posts Tagged ‘Waytha’

Makkal Sakthi

September 26th, 2009
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Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party has thrown its support behind PM Najib and BN for the upcoming Bagan Pinang by-election. Not surprising since the PM will be launching the party just a day before the by-election.

MMSP president RS Thanenthiran said the Indian voters of Bagan Pinang have much more to gain should BN’s yet-to-be named candidate win, as the coalition is the ruling state government.

“But if the seat falls to the opposition, it will be a waste for the Indian community there, because they cannot do much in terms of social, educational and economic development,” said Thanenthiran when contacted today.

“This (Bagan Pinang) is a test ground. The prime minister has made various promises to the Indian community. We should give him and his 1Malaysia concept a chance,” he added.

Thanenthiran said a MMSP delegation has met Najib twice – in March and in July – where the prime minister listened to their grouses and pledged to resolve the woes of the Indian community.

“We appreciate that he made time for us and he realises that something must be done – education, gangsterism, alcoholism and work opportunities – these problems were highlighted and he even took down notes,” he said.

However, Thanenthiran stressed that MMSP will remain an “independent” party, despite cozy ties with Najib, adding that the latter was invited to launch the party as the prime minister, and not as the BN chair.

“We are greatly honoured because our PM has an open mind…. We are the Makkal Sakti (people’s power) party and it is clear that this PM is a people’s PM.

“We are attracted to his 1Malaysia concept. This is what we are asking for. We hope by inviting the PM, we can get a clear picture of the 1Malaysia concept,” he said.

I think deep down, people will be happy if MMSP manage to get things down. However, outwardly, it seems like Thanenthiran is riding on Makkal Sakthi and Hindraf name for his party benefit. However, they must be careful to not end up puppets for either coalition. With a claim of 50,000 members, MMSP can try to do something beneficial, but so far, I haven’t heard them speaking on any of the latest issues – Kg Buah Pala or Seksyen 23 cow head protest, for example.

MMSP has an ally in ex-PM Mahathir :

“There seems to be a lot of support for the formation of this party. I think it is a good thing because we don’t want to lose the support of the Indians,” he said to newsmen at his Hari Raya open house in Seri Kembangan on Saturday.

When asked if the formation of another Indian party would dilute MIC’s influence further, he replied: “Well, I think the influence of MIC has already been diluted.”

Ouch!

Meanwhile, HINDRAF’s Waytha is not happy that the movement is being linked with MMSP:

Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Front) chief P Waythamoorthy is livid over news reports that attempts are being made to connect the strictly apolitical human rights and equal rights movement with the newly-registered Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party (MMSP).

“There seems to be a convoluted agenda to draw similarities between Hindraf and MMSP and this is being encouraged by the powers-that-be,” said Waythamoorthy in a statement toMalaysiakini.

“It is strange that the prime minister agreed to launch a party which is not a member of the ruling Barisan Nasional. The speed with which MMSP was registered speaks for itself.” 

Waythamoorthy (left) pointed out that MIC, a founder member of the BN, has also warned several times that it would veto any application by the MMSP to join the BN. Admission to BN must be unanimous, while expulsion is by a simple majority. 

“The pair behind the MMSP were ordinary members, if the term can be used, of Hindraf,” said Waythamoorthy.

MMSP is headed by RS Thanenthiran (below), who is party president, and Kannan Ramasamy, the party secretary-general. [I thought they both were some sort of coordinators in HINDRAF]

Both men were active with Hindraf after the government crackdown where a number of the movements lawyers and a volunteer were arrested, noted Waythamoorthy.

‘Makkal sakthi’ expropriated

Explaining the differences between Hindraf and MMSP, Waythamoorthy stressed that the latter is trying to capitalise on the term “makkal sakthi”, Tamil for people power, which was made popular by the rights movement in late 2007.

… “Hindraf will continue to be an umbrella NGO for 30 Indian-based groups which agreed and contributed towards its formation,” said Waythamoorthy. “We are neither pro-Pakatan or anti-BN despite our support for the opposition in the last general election.” 

The thrust of Hindraf, according to Waythamoorthy, is to support whoever is pledged towards dismantling the apartheid-like structure of race and religion which has descended on Malaysia.

At the same time, he pledged, the movement will oppose anyone who wants to divide the people of Malaysia along racial and religious lines in politics. 

“In short, we are for the truth, regardless of how some people may feel about it,” said Waythamoorthy. “The truth cannot be politicised or sacrificed for reasons of political expediency.” 

Drawing a distinction between BN and Umno, the Hindraf chief vowed that his movement will have nothing to do with the Malay-based party, which he blames for all the woes of Malaysians of Indian origin and other Malaysians too.

He does not see Umno redeeming itself ever in the eyes of the Indian community “because it is too set in its ways and politics, and will continue on its death-wish path and implode sooner rather than later”. 

Elder brother has right to form own party

The MMSP, claimed Waythamoorthy, is like many other Indian-based political parties who want to emulate the MIC and bring in the Indian votes for the BN to shore up Umno in power “in return for some crumbs from the spoils of office”. 

“MMSP is not even a splinter group of Hindraf,” stressed Waythamoorthy. “Neither is the Human Rights Party which is headed by my brother P Uthayakumar and still awaiting registration, unlike the MMSP. 

Uthaya has never been a Hindraf activist. He was only the legal advisor.” [This is very confusing statement!]

Uthayakumar thinks that the objectives of Hindraf need to be given a political platform, according to Waythamoorthy.

While he has no quarrel with his brother, he begs to differ since “Hindraf is not his call”.

However, Waythamoorthy concedes that his brother has a right to form his own political party to at least drive home to the electorate the lessons that he has learned during his years in detention under the ISA.

He declined to dwell further on the Human Rights Party,which he was given to understand has no links either with the MMSP. 

Waythamoorthy is in self-imposed exile in London where Hindraf has an office, in addition to India, Australia and New York.

The movement’s main work is to liaise with the United Nations, the US State Department and the UK Parliament. Hindraf is also awaiting recognition from the European Parliament.

It also releases the Malaysian Indian Minority and Human Rights Violations Annual Report at the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin and Pravasi Bharathiya Divas international conference every year.

The latter is a gathering of the Indian diaspora where Hindraf and MIC, among others from Malaysia, are represented.

I won’t be surprised if its all some sort of drama. MMSP may end up merging with MIC after Samy leaves, or it may bring in Dato Subra as a heavy weight.  Or it could end up like KIMMA and IPF, forever waiting outside of the coalition.

Ganabatirau questions Waytha over HiINDRAF and funds

August 19th, 2009
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After Waythamoorty gave an interview in Malaysiakini (here and here), one of the HINDRAF 5 ex-ISA detainee raised some questions and allegations, mainly questioning the status of funds collected during the incarceration of the HINDRAF 5. How can they know that collection ran into millions? Bank statements?

Let’s see how Waytha replies. This kind of ding-dong war of words will reveal more and more dirt on either/both sides.  Each will accuse the other, but so far no proof from any quarters. I

Hindraf activist and former ISA detainee V Ganabatirau has accused the outlawed movements current leader, P Waythamoorthy, of using millions of ringgit collected from the people for his personal use while in self-imposed exile in London.

He said funds collected by the movement for the Hindraf 5 who were detained under the ISA, never reached them or their families.

“Initially funds were collected by highlighting the suffering of the so called Hindraf 5. From December 13th 2007, the focus was changed to highlighting the suffering of our family members. The total amount collected runs into millions,” he said when asked to comment on the funds

My family did not receive a single sen from the funds. When questioned, Waythamoorthy,the defacto head, claimed that the funds were meant for a civil suit that was to be filed against the British government.”

But the suit expired as civil matters must be pursed within three months after filing which was Nov 29 2007.

I believe that the suit was deliberately allowed to expire so that he could enjoy his exile and the good life in London.

“All our hopes vanished with Waythamoorthy when he did not pursue the suit.

“The public had high hopes. We only wanted the plight of poor and marginalised Indians here to be exposed. Not for the money,” said Ganabatirau (right).

Wayathamoorthy had last week claimed in an interview with Malaysiakini that the suit was foiled by the Malaysian government and police.

But Ganabatirau rubbished the reasoning given by Waythamoorthy saying that they could ‘never be accepted’.

“Why should he go for a pilgrimage to India on Nov 27 2007?” Ganabatirau asked, recalling the events that led the detention of five of them in Kamunting under the ISA.

According to Ganabatirau, Waythamoorthy personally assured him that the suit would be filed.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, the former lawyer also denied that Waythamoorthy was the movement’s treasurer. [i thought he was the leader, not treasurer]

In fact, Hindraf was registered as an business enterprise and as such, there was no need for a treasurer, he said

Ganabatirau also said the rift in Hindraf began after the suit failed to materialise.

“The started rift during my detention under ISA that led to Uthayakumar to accuse me of being a Special Branch (SB) agent because I raised the suit issue,” he said when asked to comment on allegations that he was a government spy.

Who is the boss?

The Hindraf leader turned activist said that he met Hindraf lawyer P Uthayakumar in December 2006.

Ganabatirau added that he actively organised forums and demonstrations together with (fellow Hindraf activist and former ISA detainee) K Vasanthakumar on temple demolitions between January to April 2007.

Both of us played key roles in pulling in the crowds. Prior to our involvement, the crowds numbered between 20 and 30 people only .”

He added that application for permission for holding the November 25 2007 rally to handover the memorandum to the British government was organised by him and Vsanthakumar.

The suit against the British government intended to claim 1 million pounds sterling for every Indian in Malaysia since independence for displacing them from their homeland.

“Waythamoorthy contributed nothing to the movement except being named plaintiff in the suit. All the trips that he made was paid for by using money collected from the people,” Ganabatirau said when asked to elaborate on the current Hindraf chairperson’s role.

He is a chicken. If there is a forum, he would ask me whether there were police or SB (Special Branch personnel) in the vicinity before coming to give a speech.”

He also commented on RS Thanenthirran’s involvement in the movement.

“Why was there no condemnation from Waythamoorthy against Thanentirran who ‘hijacked’ the term ‘Makkal Sakthi for the party. Both Vasantha and I coined the term.”

RS Thanentiran formed Malaysia Makkal Sakthi Party which made overtures to the BN government that led to the possibility of Waythamoorthy’s anticipated return to Malaysia.

‘Hijacked movement’

“Waythamoorthy also appointed himself as the chairman of Hindraf and appointed Thanenthirran and S Jayathas as coordinator. Who made him the boss? There was no election. Who gave him the right to appoint and dismiss coordinators?

Ganabatirau also added that he was also against the idea of Hindraf activists visiting the then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as it was Thanenthirran’s method of hijacking Hindraf.

“Don’t you see that he is discriminating and marginalising me and Vasanthakumar even as he speaks on the discrimination and marginalisation of the Indian community ever since we were detained?

Ganabatirau also questioned the motives of Waythamoorthy who is blaming Pakatan Rakyat for the Kampung Buah Pala fiasco.

“Whom does he want to please to ensure his safe return?”

Ganabatirau, along with K Vasanthakumar, K Kenghadaran, P Uthayakumar and M Manoharan, were key leaders who led 30,000 people in a protest rally against the marginalisation of the Indian community in Malaysia in Nov 2007.

The large scale demonstration in Kuala Lumpur led to the detention of the five under Internal Security Act.

Interview with Waythamoorty part 2

August 18th, 2009
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This is the second part of the Malaysiakini interview with Waythamoorthy. Read the first part here.

Perhaps someone should verify/clarify about Waytha not having a passport.

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader P Waythamoorthy, who has been living in Britain since 2007 under political asylum, is all for returning home, regardless of the consequences that may await.

However, he said the Malaysian government has not responded to his request for a fresh passport.

In the first part of the interview held in London, Waythamoorthy had talked about the civil suit and Nov 25 rally in 2007 that placed Hindraf’s imprint on Malaysia’s human rights activism map.

In the concluding part, he talks about Hindraf came into existence and comments on current issues affecting the movement and its leaders. Edited excerpts follow.

Malaysiakini: Do you intend to return home?

Waythamoorthy: Yes. I would have come back after the five Hindraf activists were detained on Dec 13, 2007. But I rejected the idea because I would have been arrested as well.

On Dec 14, 2007, the day after the five were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), my brother sent a message through my sister that I should not come back until they are released. He suggested that I should instead promote the Hindraf cause worldwide.

I knew then that, from a ordinary social activist organisation, Hindraf had grown into a major movement. I knew that, if I were arrested, the cause would be lost and the detainees would be forgotten.

When the Hindraf 5 were released, I decided to return home. I have asked the government to issue me a fresh passport, but it has not responded to date. I am prepared to face the consequences, including detention under the ISA.

I have told my supporters not to campaign for my release if I am detained. But it appears that the Umno-led government does not want me to return.

Why risk your liberty when you can lead a comfortable life in Britain?

I have never feared for my safety. Of course I can live a comfortable life in Britain after being granted political asylum. But I live by my conscience. I have a mission in life.

My mission will never be complete until the Malaysian government grants the rights that Indian Malaysians deserve. I have been stopped from completing what I started. So I have to come home to complete it.

How did Hindraf come into existence?

It surfaced on the human rights landscape after the case of alleged Muslim convert M Moorthy in December 2005. Until then I was just involved an ordinary member of a social organisation in Seremban.

I did not want to get involved in the Moorthy case at first, but received a call from Ramachandran Meyappan (Ramaji) who convinced me that Moorthy (right) was not a convert. He said the Muslim authorities had made a wrongful claim over his body.

I suggested that Ramaji should form a coalition of Indian and Hindu based non-government organisations as an umbrella body to take up the issue, and he agreed to initiate this. I attended the meeting, but the Malaysia Hindu Sangam called on everyone to remain calm pending a court decision on the issue.

I told Ramaji to regroup the leaders to take up the matter up at a higher level. Representatives of some 20 organisations attended the second meeting held in Uthayakumar’s office, after the court decision. Ten others did not attend but assured us of their support for any decision adopted.

I was unanimously elected as the leader of the coalition of organisations. Everyone accepted Ramaji’s proposal to name it the Hindu Rights Action Force.

At the second meeting, Hindraf was formally endorsed. I was appointed chairperson. On Jan 11, 2006, I prepared a memorandum to be presented to the Agong.

It was to be the first time non-Muslims would knock at the gates of Istana Negara to seek protection of their right to religious freedom. But only some 10 representatives turned up although Hindraf had 30 affiliates.

The next day, none of the organisations attended a meeting. Everybody avoided Hindraf because they feared the ISA. The coalition collapsed, but R Mohan – the treasurer – remained on board with me.

Next, Hindraf began to take up issues especially pertaining to temple demolitions and criminal charges against those who tried to stop demolitions.

In early February 2006, Uthayakumar, who was managing the Policewatch NGO, joined me as the legal adviser of Hindraf. He used the Policewatch website to post all my activities on behalf of Hindraf.

He helped me to manage all the publicity and press coverage as I was inexperienced and new to the human rights activities.

Uthayakumar then amalgamated his work with mine. I submitted an application to register Hindraf as legal entity in October 2007.

How have you managed to run the movement from a distance? Who are the Hindraf supporters?

About 10 hardcore supporters had been helping me when Hindraf was a minor organisation. When (police chief) Musa Hassan announced that there was going to be a second round of ISA arrests, I immediately instructed these supporters to disband. It wa my duty to protect them.

With RS Thanenthiran as the next in line on the ground, I set up a new 10-member national coordination team, most of whom I had not met before. All 10 were dedicated to the cause and willing to take instructions.

Within days we had hundreds of volunteers approaching us in all states to assist in any way possible. Most of them were grassroots people, who are simple laymen and victims of the country’s unjust system.

I spoke to them over the phone daily and set up state level coordination teams to organise them to carry out activities and campaigns. This is how the Makkal Sakti or people power proved to be a potent force for change.

It is their power, not Hindraf or me, which has triggered the change in the Malaysian political landscape. Hindraf and I were only the tools.

The government of Najib Abdul Razak released the Hindraf 5 because he feared the long-term effects of Makkal Sakti. The federal government’s fear of Makkal Sakti was the root cause as to why the police special branch infiltrated Hindraf to cause a split.

Will this cause the movement to collapse?

As I said Hindraf is just a tool. The movement may appear split. The (government) can confuse the people with their propaganda and by creating sub-groups. But this will not last long.

I am not worried about the sub-groups. I would prefer them to grow because that would create a false picture on the ground which may satisfy the government.

After their release, the Hindraf 5 seem have gone in different directions. Why?

It’s not surprising given that firstly, they were not Hindraf leaders and were not together from Day One. Manoharan and Kengadharan are lawyers acting for me and Uthayakumar in suits filed by Hindraf.

The cases include temple demolitions and police arrests. Their contributions to Hindraf were specifically pertained to legal work. Uthayakumar (right) advises me on many legal issues.

I didn’t know T Vasanthakumar (left) and Ganabatirau until I met them in early October 2007.

Vasanthakumar said he could do the groundwork and help to organise events. He was involved in printing our leaflets and coordinating road shows. We accepted Vasanthakumar because we were desperate for manpower to carry out our work.

I knew Ganabatirau (carrying daughter in photo) as a lawyer and an aspiring DAP politician at the time. Uthayakumar suggested that speaking at Hindraf road shows would be an ideal launch-pad for Ganabatirau in the political arena. So he was tasked by Uthayakumar to speak on Budget 2008 at Hindraf forums.

It was not a surprise that, after their release from ISA, they have their own agenda, ambitions, motives and directions. I don’t blame them. It’s their right to set their own direction. I acknowledge that they have contributed in their own way to Hindraf prior to their arrest.

Uthayakumar has formed a political party – the Human Rights Party. Any comment on this?

He told me that, during his 514 days in Kamunting, he had given serious thought to becoming a political activist to empower the Indian community politically.

He felt that being marginal voters in majority constituencies was not sufficient for Indians to be politically vibrant and powerful. So he has formulated an Indian political empowerment plan.

He believes he can succeed. If he wants to do that, it’s entirely his right. He should be allowed to do that. My brother and I did not have any difference of opinion on the formation of HRP.

We have different directions and approaches to achieving our objectives. We are both right in our own direction.

Thanenthiran has formed Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party. He claimed he had received approval signals from you – is this true?

Signals? I don’t understand what he meant by signals. I never talked to anyone about forming a political party. I knew about Thanenthiran’s party much later . . . after it was formed.

If Thanenthiran (right) wants to form a political party, it is his constitutional right. If he wants to lead his group of supporters and sympathisers with a political party, it is his right. I respect it.

Hindraf has been criticised of being communal…

Hindraf is a communal-based organisation. But we are not the only one.

What about Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia, Pekida, Tamil Youth Bell Club and Chinese clan associations? Why Hindraf is being singled out as communal? It’s unfair.

I would like to point out that in other parts of the world, the onus is on the majority community to protect and safeguard the minorities. But in Malaysia, the majority exploits and oppresses the minorities.

So here Hindraf has no choice. We are minority fighting for our own cause. No one wants to fight for Indians. Many Malays and Chinese knew about the Indian plight, but are not coming forward to help us. Why can’t Hindraf fight for Indians?

Some say Hindraf will die a natural death. What do you say?

I don’t agree because we are fighting a just cause. So long there is a demand to fight for a marginalised community, Hindraf will exist. We will only die out when all communities are treated equally.

What about the allegation that Hindraf leaders have misappropriated donations from the public?

That is an allegation propagated by the police special branch and their cohorts. The reason is simple – to create doubt about the morality of those leading Hindraf.

The best way to do that is use those who were at some point with Hindraf to tarnish the image. The police should allow us to obtain copies of the Hindraf enterprise account that was opened to collect funds to raise bail for those arrested.

Only then will the truth be revealed and we will know why the alleged collection was hiked up to RM700,000 and then into millions.

Interview with Waythamoorty part 1

August 15th, 2009
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The interview appears in Malaysiakini. Second part to appear tomorrow. The problem with the interview is the status of suit, which Waytha claims as being in “status-quo”. Meaning its still a suit and no writ has been served on the defendants. So, what’s next. At least he should clarified on the next steps – continue with the suit or not.

‘Why I filed the suit againt the British’

In this first part of an exclusive interview in London with Malaysiakini, Hindraf chairperson Waythamoorthy talks about his struggle for the betterment of the Indian community, the civil suit, his ties with Pakatan and the Nov 25 rally that changed the Malaysian political landscape.

Your civil suit in 2007 propelled Hindraf into prominence. What made you file a suit against the British and not the Malaysian government?

They Indians have suffered tremendous injustices. I researched the history of the country’s independence and discovered that the British colonial governance was the root of the Indian predicament in Malaysia. The British, through its East India Company, brought in thousands of Indians from India as indentured labourers.

They failed to safeguard the interests and rights of Indians when the British drafted the Malayan Federal Constitution prior to the independence.

Because the constitution was vague, Indians remained colonialised by the Umno government.

The Indians were exploited for nearly 150 years by the British and thereafter by the Umno-controlled federal government for over 50 years until today. Therefore the British colonial government was the root of the problem. So I told the Indians that they should go after the British. Since I had no confidence in the independence of the country’s judiciary, I filed the civil suit against the British.

I claimed £1 million for each of the estimated 1.8 million Indians in Malaysia in damages for the suffering of their forefathers and the present generation. Based on this, the AFP report summed up my claims at US$4 trillion.
The AFP report became international news.

What’s the status of the suit now?

I filed the civil action on the eve of Malaysian 50th anniversary of independence. But I have not served the writ on the defendant, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It should have been done within three months of filing the case. I could not serve it because I did not have English solicitors and barristers to do so. I need a legal team to proceed with the suit.

I filed the action as a symbolic gesture with the intention of serving it to the defendant. I was hoping by handing over the letter of appeal, which had 130,000 signatures, to Her Majesty the British Queen via the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25, I would be able to secure free services of Queen’s counsels and solicitors to pursue the case further at the British courts.

However, my effort was spoilt by the Malaysian government and the police. The authorities, not Hindraf, turned an originally pre-planned peaceful march to the British High Commission into an anti-government rally. As a result, the status of my suit remains as it is, pre-Nov 25.

It’s not an overstatement then to say that your civil suit shot Hindraf to prominence?

I would not agree with that assessment because my civil suit was filed in my personal capacity. It has nothing to do with Hindraf. But, since I’m Hindraf chairperson, public perception swiftly linked the suit to Hindraf, and I eventually adopted it. It put Hindraf at forefront of the Malaysian civil rights movement. The suit opened up the eyes, ears and minds of the Indian community on their legitimate rights, interests and benefits they are entitled to. They had been engulfed by a colonial mindset up until then.

Although the majority of the younger generation does not have the mindset, over the years they have been instilled by their parents and the Umno government that Indians are migrants and squatters in Malaysia. Indians have been frequently told that they don’t deserve equality, fairness and just policies. Article 8 of the Federal Constitution stipulates clearly that all citizens shall be treated equally.

Therefore the suit actually raised the issue of citizenry rights and what Indians justly deserve and were entitled to.

Why did Hindraf hold a nationwide road show?

We conducted the road show due to overwhelming public interest in the civil suit. They wanted to know more about what it meant for them. I never thought it would attract such large crowds. I was surprised by the thousands who turned up. The people trusted Hindraf. They saw a different breed of activists. They knew that we were genuine, honest and sincere in fighting for their rights, something that the Indians never had all this while.

What you plan to achieve for Malaysian Indians from your suit?

It’s an interesting and unprecedented suit. It will open the floodgates. I don’t want to reveal just what my plan are. But a close perusal of my writ and statement will give you an indication of what my civil suit is capable of achieving.

What was the Nov 25 rally all about?

The rally was originally planned as a peaceful march to handover an appeal letter to the British Queen. However, the Umno government turned it into an anti-government rally.

Firstly the police rejected our application for a permit to hold the march. My letters for a meeting with the IGPolice Musa Hassan to explain the march were ignored. Then the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister, the IGP and Attorney General issued a series of media statements to warn Malaysian Indians against attending the rally.

They threatened and intimidated the public with jail and detention without any reason. That was their mistake. This angered Malaysian Indians who have been unhappy for far too long. They wanted to show solidarity and support to the civil suit.

The government had also locked down Kuala Lumpur for four days prior to the rally.
Indians were denied entry into the city. Even those working in Kuala Lumpur had a hard time getting into the city.

Then the government followed it up by arresting me, my brother Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau on Nov 23. We were charged with sedition. This provoked the Indians.
I initially expected only about 5,000 Indians to turn up at the rally. But it ended up with tens of thousands thronging into the city.

So the Umno government was at fault for turning a simple straightforward peaceful event into an ugly and brutal anti-government rally. The Indians then realised that the government agenda’s was to stop us from handing over the letter.

Why you think the government resisted the rally?
My guess is that the Umno government got worried when it received intelligence reports pointing out that Indians across the country were united in fighting for their rights.

Umno did not want this because the government would face difficulties in handling a united Indian community. Umno was worried that the government would lose its popularity and relevance among Indians in the country. That’s the reason why I think the Umno government went out of way to clampdown on the rally.

When you were detained and charged with sedition, you refused bail. Why?

It was a protest to send a clear message to the government that Indians no longer feared intimidation and imprisonment. Secondly, since the city was locked down, I wanted to compel the government to allow Indians to come into Kuala Lumpur peacefully. We were charged with sedition because the government wanted to instil fear as a way of intimidating the Indians that something bad would befall on them if they attend the rally on Nov 25.

So I wanted to send a signal to the authorities that the days of Umno government instilling fear on Indians were over. I’m told I was the country’s first human rights lawyer to voluntarily refuse bail and stayed in jail and go on a hunger strike. I was sending a clear message we don’t fear the prison and the days of criminal intimidation on Indian were over. We are a new breed of Indian activists who are prepared to face any consequence to uphold truth and justice.

You stayed in jail for four days and missed the rally. Would you like to narrate your experience in jail?

During the four-day imprisonment in Sungai Buloh, I was jailed in the maximum security cell unit meant for suspects of serious crimes such as murder and drug traffickng. Mine was a special cell, small, filthy, full of insects, without air circulation and a locked in by a thick door. It was extremely bright with a special flickering light. Some of insects were of species that I have never seen in my life.

I was inhaling and exhaling the same air. On the second day they deliberately stopped tap water supply to the filthy toilet in my cell. I believe that I was deliberately put into it because the authorities wanted to teach me a lesson.

There were other kinds of torture and threats which I don’t wish to reveal at this point in time because I’m planning to comeback home. Even though I underwent tremendous torture, when I was taken to court on the morning of Nov 26, I told the jail director that I would come back to the cell later that evening because I planned to refuse my bail further.

However, I was surprised by the court’s decision to discharge me not amounting to an acquittal.
How did you sneak out of the country during the police clampdown on Hindraf activists?

I don’t think I sneaked out. I believe the government planned the clampdown much later after I had left the country. Following my release on Nov 26, I had nightmares of the torture and could not sleep at night. I was mentally disturbed by the memories of my four-day imprisonment. I was restless and did not have a peace of mind.

On Nov 27, I decided to go to India for my annual pilgrimage to regain my physical and mental strength. I normally do this in early December. I got my visa on Nov 27 and left for India the next day. My initial plan was to stay in India for a week.

A few days after I left for India, allegations linking Hindraf with the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers surfaced. Although Uthayakumar and I denied such links, the media was not with us.

Uthayakumar suggested that since I was already in India, I should start my international lobby to garner global support for Hindraf and its legitimate struggle. So I started my international lobby in India and finally ended up going to England.

The government linked Hindraf with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Any comments on it?

IGP Musa and the Attorney General Gani Patail maliciously wanted to brand Hindraf as a terror organisation linked to terrorists. They cooked up the story to justify the subsequent arrest of the Hindraf five under ISA.

When you realised your passport was revoked, how you managed to seek political asylum from the British government?

I found out that my passport was revoked by the Malaysian government when I returned to Britain from Geneva on April 19, 2008. The Malaysian government’s intention was to prevent me from carrying out my international human rights lobby.

Under the British immigration law, I was supposed to be deported back to my last port of entry – Geneva. I decided to exercised my rights stipulated in the Geneva Convention to seek British political asylum. On April 21, I applied for political asylum and the British authorities processed my application the same day.

The authorities sought more evidence to back my application. Through the help of a Queen’s counsel, I managed to appoint a solicitor to manage my application. A month later I was interviewed formally and in three months, my application was granted.

Isn’t it strange that the British government granted you asylum while you are suing the same government for neglecting Indians in Malaysia?

That’s the beauty of British governance. The British government knows how to differentiate between a political asylum and a civil suit. The civil suit is my personal right while my request for asylum was a matter of justice. It’s only just for the British government to grant my application.

The Nov 25 rally was hailed by many as the catalyst to the political tsunami that swept Malaysian electoral politics on March 8, 2008. Any comment?

Hindraf never planned the rally to create a political tsunami. We least expected it. It’s the Umno government fault to turn the event ugly. Assuming that the government had allowed us to handover the appeal letter and returned home safely, the Indians would have been only excited, that’s all. The hardline action taken on Hindraf activists before and after the rally, and the police’s brutal action on that day angered not just Indians but all decent Malaysians and it translated into anti-BN votes.

Why did Hindraf decide to support and subsequently called on Indians to vote for Pakatan Rakyat during the general election in 2008?

There was a groundswell of Indians demanding an electoral stand. Then we held the Rose Rally during Valentine’s Day celebration in February. A few days before the rally, parliament was dissolved. The Umno government again reacted brutally against peaceful demonstrators holding roses. Like Nov 25, chemical spraying and tear gasses marred the rally. That was the final nail in Umno’s coffin.

Indians were asking why the government did not treat them as children of Malaysia. When they asked for my advice, I told them that Indians have suffered enough under Umno’s discrimination and brutality. The Rose Rally was a message of love and peace. But we were treated badly by our very own government.

I told them to vote against BN enbloc. Thousands of our supporters were working on the ground to ensure the success of PR. For the first time, the Indians, a minority community, embarked on bulk voting in the country’s electoral process. They voted against BN and Umno.

Indians proved that a minority community’s bulk votes had the power to make a change. The Chinese were traditionally fence sitters. Their voting pattern are dependent on the political and economic climate. They knew they only could increase the number of opposition parliamentarians but can’t possibly change the government. When the Chinese saw Indians changing trend, they knew the time had come for a change.

Seasoned politician, Lim Kit Siang even acknowledged that Indians can make a difference in more than 50 parliamentary constituencies.

But I’m not sure about the Malays because they were given the impression that Hindraf comprised a group of fanatics out to topple a Malay government.
We now hope that the Malays would have a better understanding of Hindraf’s struggle and we can all work together in the next general election to effect a change at federal level.

The majority of Indians have worked and voted for BN faithfully for 50 years. I think the Umno government had taken the Indian support and votes for granted. The government has been disrespectful to Indian votes, rights and feelings by continuing to oppress and suppress them.

The best way to teach Umno and BN a political lesson is to hurt them at the ballot box. After all the Umno government leaders were arrogant enough to frequently challenge the people to demonstrate their grouses and unhappiness through the ballot boxes.They took their electoral victories for granted. So Hindraf called on Indians to vote against the Umno government and its hegemony.

Hindraf has played a decisive role in changing the country’s political landscape. Has it addressed the inequality among races that you were seeking?

No, because the same BN is ruling the federal government. The Umno dominated government has been throwing craps and scraps here and there. But it has done nothing worthy. The Pakatan states too, have done little for the Indians.

Thus far Pakatan states have not formulated, let alone implemented, any worthy long term policies benefiting Indians. Pakatan leaders claim that they are new to state administration and are not in control of the federal government.

They have been in power for 15 months now and the Pakatan states cannot go on singing the same tune. They are duty bound to carry out constructive policies to upgrade the Indians. Pakatan states must do something worthy for Indians before the general election.

Lately though, it seems Hindraf and Pakatan are having an uneasy relationship.

Hindraf will remain apolitical. We will point political mistakes committed by both BN and Pakatan. Just because Indians supported and voted for Pakatan, Hindraf will not remain idle if the coalition made a mistake.We must speak out. It’s better for us to speak out now than later. Pakatan states must understand that they have a responsibility to help the marginalised minority communities, especially Indians. They will have to rule with justice, equality and fairness to all. Currently there are rifts between Hindraf and Pakatan in certain states, especially in Penang on Kampung Buah Pala.

What about the Kampung Buah Pala issue?

Firstly, DAP leaders had promised to safeguard the village for the residents before and after the general election.

DAP acknowledges the land deal was a fraud committed by the previous BN government but why are they now siding the developers and the Koperasi who are part of the fraud?
And it’s puzzling that the DAP government accepted the balance payment of the land premium and effected the actual land transfer of Kampung Buah Pala.

This happened even after the DAP government was advised against it by a senior lawyer and its own leaders have promised to secure the village land for the residents prior to the last elections. The DAP government may have condemned the previous Gerakan government for alienating the land.

But now it is colluding with the land owner Koperasi Pegawai Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd to evict the residents from their own land.We are shocked. We are shocked that the same socialist DAP leaders, who are supposed to champion the cause of poor and the marginalised communities, are now collaborating with capitalists.

What you think the DAP government should do now?

Simple. They have to undo it, with a mere stroke of a pen. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has the power under the National Land Code and Land Acquisition Act to acquire the land for the villagers and undo the unjust.

He is dragging his feet and deliberately refusing to exercise his power. He is also justifying his inaction by lamenting that he had to spend millions to acquire the land. First he claimed it was RM150 million and now he had lowered the sum to RM100 million to acquire the land. How did he pluck out those sums? According to the land law, an independent land administrator shall assess the land value.

So how did a responsible chief minister come up with such sums? The land was sold for RM3.21 million. The state government could buy back the land for the same amount or even lesser. The residents are not squatters. They are rightful owners of the land. It was stolen from them. If the DAP government fail to acquire the land for the villagers, I think the Indians in Penang will punish them in the next general election. Hindraf will be duty bound to expose DAP’s inaction to Indians in Penang and nationwide. The party should not hold Hindraf responsible for it.

Will the Kampung Buah Pala crisis affect the DAP in long run?

The ball is in DAP’s court. DAP can choose to maintain its position or the party can forsake justice and fairness. If the DAP allows the village to be demolished, it will be the beginning of its demise. Guan Eng will be another Khir Toyo.

There seems to be concerted effort in the media and in blogs to attack Hindraf, you and Uthayakumar personally over the village crisis. Any comment?

Normally I don’t read blogs but I have heard criticisms leveled at us. I have read this in Pakatan, and DAP linked websites. Obviously these mails were posted by DAP supporters. I would like to stress here that I was inspired by DAP senior leader Lim Kit Siang…inspired by his book ‘Time Bombs in Malaysia.’ I was inspired by Karpal Singh (right). Indeed DAP’s political struggle over the years has inspired and shape up my political thinking.

But if the DAP commits a wrong or an unjust act then I’m duty bound to point out the mistake. It is the bloggers fantasy to accuse me of being bought over by BN and collaborating with Umno to comeback to Malaysia. I’m not a politician. I have forsaken all that I had, to fight for justice and truth which is often is buried and clouded by the rich and powerful.

These die hard supporters of DAP should in fact find out the truth and advise their party to act in accordance to what is right and just. But such criticisms will not deter me. I will continue to oppose any form of injustice and unfairness.

Certain DAP leaders are allegedly touchy whenever criticisms are levelled at them. They allegedly use bloggers and ghost writers to launch personal attacks on their critics. What you think about it?

I think some DAP leaders are instigating certain ghost writers and bloggers to attack their critics by feeding wrong information, facts and figures. I don’t think this propaganda would benefit the DAP in the long run, like how the pro-establishment mainstream media had not really benefited Umno. People finally realised that Umno controlled the mainstream media, spreading lies and disseminating false information.

People have now refused to believe the mainstream media. Eventually this will happen to DAP. Just because bloggers played a big role in creating awareness among the people in the last general election, it doesn’t mean that the people will continuously believe bloggers. Malaysians from all walks of life are politically matured and they can see lies.

Maybe in the short term DAP could succeed. Eventually they will say all these lies were spread and instigated by DAP leaders. I just hope DAP can come out of this denial syndrome and address issues intelligently – after all I’m one of those Malaysians wishing and praying to see PR take over the country from the clutches of BN.

Premier Najib Razak has come up with a 1Malaysia slogan. Any comments on it?

I noticed that each time a new prime minister comes to power, he comes up with a punchy slogan to woo the people. Dr Mahathir came up with ‘cekap bersih amanah’, then Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with ‘Islam Hadhari’, now Najib with ‘1Malaysia.’

Najib is talking about 1Malaysia but it two systems, one system for the Malays and another for non-Malays.
The 1Malaysia concept is obviously a non-starter when the government runs two systems. If he is serious in realising 1Malaysia, first and foremost Najib has to educate and revamp Umno and its members, and stop propagating the Malay supremacy agenda.
If he can do that then all his 1Malaysia programmes would be successful.

Can the Pakatan states work to meet Hindraf’s 18-point demand?

Maybe not all of them. The state governments are vested with certain powers to carry out policies that could meet our demands. For example, the federal government claims that it cannot make Tamil schools fully aided because most of them were sitting on private lands. Land issues are under the purview of state governments.

The Mentri Besars and Chief Ministers can acquire these privately-owned Tamil school lands under the National Land Code and Land Acquisition Act, and handover the lands to the federal government. Thereafter, we will go after the federal government if it fails to make the schools as fully aided.

On the religious aspect, the state governments can enact amendments to the State Islamic Laws to provide greater freedom for religion. Additionally they can gazette all temples that existed before independence in 1957 as places of worship. Pakatan state governments are vested with the power to do that.

They could also open up the state government policies to include all marginalised societies to be included in the mainstream economic upward mobility programmes and get all races equally entitled to all state economic and development projects. If the state governments refused to use their power then there is no difference between them and Umno governments.

How can the BN government meet Hindraf 18-point demand?

For a start, the BN government could hold a dialogue with Hindraf, which we have been asking from the very beginning. The dialogue can be the forum to explore various ways and means to resolve the plight of the Indian community.

Do you think Indians would stay with Pakatan in the next elections?

It depends on how Pakatan leaders address the Indian issues. They have to address the problems objectively and not adopt the Umno method of employing mandores to address the Indian issues.

BN is already working out a strategy to win back the Indian voters and thus gain the 50 odd lost parliament seats whereas Pakatan are in their new-found shell of fiefdom in their respective states as menteri besars and are not looking beyond their states.

The four Pakatan states have to prove themselves as leading the onslaught to capture the federal administration in the next general election. Unfortunately they are not addressing the issues let alone resolving them. From 2010, I believe Umno-led BN are going to implement major strategies to win back the Indian voters.

The Indian grassroots are already complaining about the inaction of Pakatan states mainly Selangor, Kedah and Penang. My sincere hope is that Pakatan does not make the same mistake BN did, that is living in denial.

Pakatan states have to show they are people-friendly governments, easily accessible and work for people. Immediate and simple problems that have existed from the BN rule has to be resolved or else I can’t see how they could maintain the trust of Indian voters. Indians are politically mature these days compared to few years ago.

Would you prefer Pakatan take over the federal administration in the next general election?

Yes. But it is not going to be easy. Pakatan national and grassroots leaders have to stop their infighting and present themselves as the future government. A shadow cabinet is essential. Alternative national policies have to be formulated and presented to the people.

There is no point talking about change when the people are not given the opportunity to envisage the change. You can’t expect the people to fantasise the change without concrete plans and policies. The current four Pakatancontrolled states must present itself as a truly democratic and people friendly governments.

Waytha plans to return home

May 11th, 2009
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Regarding his warrant of arrest/detention, Home Minister Hishamuddin said he will check with the police.

PRESS STATEMENT 11.05.2009

RE: Waytha Moorthy to return to Malaysia with or without any Government assurance or condition

I have decided to return to Malaysia now since the HINDRAF lawyers have been released.

When the tsunami of November 25, 2007 took place, HINDRAF was still in its infancy in addressing the plight of the Malaysian Indians. The arrest of the HINDRAF leaders was meant to curtail its legitimate concerns for the Malaysian Indians and allow it to be a lost cause for them.

As the chairman of HINDRAF, at that juncture, I decided that somehow, HINDRAF concerns needs to be brought in light in the international arena since the local government had used oppression towards the public and the operation of the ISA to stifle and vilify the voice of HINDRAF.

As such I had left to UK to continue its struggle and keep the movement alive and bearing the international support that HINDRAF was getting from various international bodies and governments, the Malaysian government subsequently revoked my passport and forced me to seek asylum which the British government granted bearing the fear of persecution faced by me from the authorities in Malaysia for upholding truth and just cause for the Malaysian Indians.

Now that my comrades have been released, I have decided that I shall return to Malaysia to continue and forge ahead with the objectives and goals of HINDRAF in seeking what it had originally set out to even at the risk of me being arrested under ISA or any other repressive Laws.

I shall return knowing the risks involved, as I honestly believe that HINDRAF cause was just and fair. I had sought the advise of many grass root supporters and they are in the opinion that I should not return as I would be arrested and incarcerated.

This does not fear me anymore as the objective to obtain the release of the HINDRAF lawyers had been achieved and now it is the time to press forward with the objectives for the community that has been systematically discriminated, marginalized and sidelined for 52 years.

HINDRAF is now a strong mass movement and can never be suppressed any further. If the government arrests me or detains me, there will be many others within the community with conscience who will spearhead the struggle for the betterment of the society and the nation. The spirit of HINDRAF invoked within the Malaysian community is inerasable, and I can only hope for the betterment of the nation and a fast evolving universe in its struggle for equality, fairness and justice will prevail over selfishness and ignorance.

I rest my faith in DESTINY and its people, as HINDRAF is an organization that dared to be different, dared to go right to the core problem to tackle the issues rather than appeasing institutions for piecemeal offers for the betterment of the nation.

P.WAYTHA MOORTHY

CHAIRMAN

HINDRAF