Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hindraf to give Indians a third voice - Malaysiakini

In November 2007, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) had rattled the nation when it staged a massive street protest in Kuala Lumpur which drew tens of thousands of Indian Malaysians.

hindraf british petition rally 251107 t-shirtFive of its leaders were subsequently detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). But the momentum generated by the movement saw the Indian Malaysian community turning its back on the ruling coalition.

The Hindraf leaders have since been released, and now the movement plans to take its struggle to the political realm.

According to sources, Hindraf has already submitted its application to the Registrar of Societies and is awaiting the green light.

The name for the new party is Parti Hak Asasi Manusia (Paham).

uthayakumar in kampung buah pala penang 150609 02Speculation that Hindraf may venture into politics started making the rounds when its leader P Uthayakumar stated that the movement was dissatisfied with both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

He lamented that Hindraf's 'Makkal Sakthi' clarion call had been exploited by all parties for their personal benefit, leaving the Indian community high and dry.

Uthayakumar had also suggested that a new political party was needed to safeguard the rights of the Indian community.

Following this, the lawyer has been touring the country to garner feedback from the grassroots and is slated to make an official announcement on July 19.

No proper avenue for Inndians

"MIC, PPP, IPF and other splinter Indian parties are linked to BN and are committed to the coalition's rules and regulations which have retarded the economic progress of the Indian community for the past 52 years," said the source.

"On the other hand, DAP is a Chinese-based party, PKR a Malay-based party and PAS an Islamic party. There is no proper avenue for Indians to voice out their grievances," he added.

indian crowd malaysia 291107The source is confident that Indians from other political parties will flock to Paham.

Asked about the possibility of the ROS rejecting the application, the source cited Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which gives a person the right to form an association and Article 8 of the same, that provides equality before the law.

"When ROS can approve another Indian political party (Makkal Sakthi Party Malaysia (MSPM) within two weeks, I don't see any reason for it to reject our application," he said.

"Anyway, in such an eventuality, Paham will continue as a pro-tem party and may take legal action as a last resort to seek justice for the new party," he added.

Contacted later, Uthayakumar declined to comment on the formation of the new party.