Sunday, July 5, 2009

Uthayakumar keeps us guessing - Malaysiakini

Though only making some eight percent of the Malaysian population, political representation for the small Indian community is an increasingly crowded house.

Currently, Barisan Nasional coalition partners MIC and PPP, along with BN-friendly Indian Progressive Front (IPF), are the biggest players.

They are joined by newly formed Indian-based parties - the Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP) in 2007 and this year, Malaysian Indian Democratic Action Front (Mindraf) and the Malaysian Makkal Sakhti Party (MMSP).

The newer parties were established without much fanfare but come July 19, a grand welcoming of yet another Indian-based political party is on the cards.

uthayakumar penang waterfall temple hindraf event 160609 02This is because the new party is supposed to be helmed by lawyer P Uthayakumar, leader of the banned, yet highly influential, Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

When Malaysiakini caught up with Uthayakumar yesterday, he refused to confirm what was being planned on July 19, but revealed that there would be a mass gathering at the Hokkien Hall in Klang.

Hints of a new party are obvious. To a question, Uthayakumar said despite the saturated playing field, he believed there was still room for a new Indian-based political party.

“The other Indian parties – MIC, PPP, IPF – are all linked to Barisan in one way or another... meanwhile on the opposition's front there isn't really a strong Indian-based party,” he said.

An independent party?

Without a strong Indian-based opposition party, Uthayakumar alluded that this had resulted in Pakatan Rakyat's inability to address the interest of the Indian community.

uthayakumar in kampung buah pala penang 150609 13“Take for instance the Kampung Buah Pala crisis, PKR or DAP MPs could have pushed for a emergency motion in Parliament to debate on the allegedly fraudulent land transaction... but did they?

“Let's say a developer wants to buy over the Weld Quay in Penang, you think they (the Penang government) is going to keep quiet? Definitely not. This is simply because the residents in Kampung Buah Pala are Indians whereas the residents Weld Quay are Chinese,” he added.

“DAP claims it is multi-racial, but when a Hindu temple was demolished in Kedah, they did not threaten to leave Pakatan, but when a pig abattoir was demolished they did... what does this show, pigs are more valuable than human beings,” he added.

Such is the predicament of the Indian community, said Uthayakumar, adding that it had no political clout.

“Therefore, I believe I have the solution that is neither linked to BN or Pakatan Rakyat... but wait for my announcement on July 19,” said Uthayakumar.

No split among Indians

In November 2007, Hindraf made its mark when it rallied tens of thousands of Indians in Kuala Lumpur to protest against discrimination and marginalisation by the government.

A month later, Uthayakumar and four others were incarcerated without trial under the Internal Security Act until April this year.

uthayakumar in kampung buah pala penang 150609 07Uthayakumar argued that the spirit of Hindraf has not fizzled out, and despite the burgeoning number of Indian-based political parties, neither does he view them as enemies.

“(When we started off) everyone was already from different political parties... we just got under the Hindraf banner,” he said, in reference to other Hindraf figure heads such as DAP's M Manoharan and V Ganabatirau as well as PKR's S Jayathas and S Manikavasagam.

He brushed off suggestions that the Indian community was now seriously split along political lines and that this was a scenario created by the ruling Umno-led BN coalition.

“This is their trap to cause confusion and for us to fight among ourselves,” he said.