Thursday, July 2, 2009

Despite Hindraf protest all calm on DAP front - Malaysiakini

Tarani Palani & Wong Pheak Zern

2:07pm The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) protest at the DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya attracted only a handful of activists from the banned movement and was over in less than 30 minutes.

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at dap hq petaling jaya 300609 selvamLed by Hindraf coordinator K Selvam, about 10 people gathered opposite the building to protest mainly over the Kampung Buah Pala issue in Bukit Gelugor, Penang.

In Petaling Jaya, there were more police personnel than the Hindraf protesters.

Some protesters carried banners lashing out at DAP for not helping the villagers in Kampung Buah Pala in DAP-led Penang.

The protest was part of a nationwide demonstration in front of DAP offices organised today by Hindraf.

There was a bigger crowd in Penang where some 150 Hindraf supporters gathered at the state administration centre in Komtar.

And in Ipoh about 10 Hindraf supporters turned up at the DAP office to protest.

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at penang kamtar 300609 02Developer Nusmetro Venture Sdn Bhd has obtained a writ to evict the Kampung Buah Pala villagers from their homes, which generations of their families have occupied for more than 200 years.

DAP ready to talk

Hindraf's point of contention is that the land is the last remaining Indian traditional urban village on the island.

“We consider it (Kampung Buah Pala) to be a heritage land,” Selvam told reporters after police had dispersed the gathering in Petaling Jaya.

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at dap hq petaling jaya 300609 06Asked why the turnout was abysmal, Selvam said the protests were being carried out nationwide, and so there was no need to have many people at any one location.

Although there were no untoward incidents, there was momentary tension when the police ordered the protesters three times to diperse. This led to the deployment of a light strike unit.

Petaling Jaya police divison chief Arjunaidi Mohamed later confirmed that 50 police personnel had been deployed.

Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang, who arrived later, said DAP MPs do not run away from problems and were willing to talk to Hindraf on the matter.

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at dap hq petaling jaya 300609 03He said DAP stands for “justice for all races”, and that Hindraf should not hurl allegations at the party.

The matter is of great concern, he said, but the hands of the Penang government were tied because of decisions made by the previous Gerakan-led state government.

Other DAP leaders present were Ipoh Barat MP, M Kulasegaran and Perak exco member A Sivanesan.

'Not unduly worried'

Earlier today, staff at the DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya said they were not unduly worried about the protest.

Head of staff Foo Yueh Chuan said when contacted that Hindraf had not provided direct information about the protest.

She said the party only found out about this through media reports and text-messages that were circulated.

The party headquarters, with a staff-force about 15, is located in a housing area in Paramont Garden, Petaling Jaya.

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at dap hq petaling jaya 300609 05Apart from the Kampung Buah Pala issue, Hindraf is also unhappy that the DAP-led government in Penang has not tackled problems affecting the Indian Malaysian community.

The organisers had planned to mobilise some 10,000 activists to demonstrate outside Komtar - which houses the Penang government office - and DAP offices in Petaling Jaya, Ipoh, Damansara, Seremban, Johor Bahru and Malacca.

These rallies, the first by Hindraf against a Pakatan Rakyat ally, are a blow to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who has positioned his government as one based on competency, accountability and transparency.

The federal government banne