Monday, August 10, 2009

Batu Kawan to kick start HRP's Indian agenda - Malaysiakini

Newly formed Human Rights Party (HRP) as set Merdeka eve to launch its nationwide 'Indian Political Empowerment Plan' (IPEP) campaign at a Hindu temple in the DAP-held Batu Kawan parliamentary constituency in Penang.

Its leader P Uthayakumar announced this at a Kampung Buah Pala rally at Bukit Gelugor attended by some 250 people last night.

He explained that the empowerment plan was to transfer marginal Indian voters from various constituencies in the country to certain earmarked constituencies with a sizeable Indian electorate.

He said the move can create at least 15 Indian-majority seats in the country with at least a 60 per cent voter majority in each constituency.

With such a majority, he believes that Indians should be able to dominate and control at least 45 state seats nationwide.

"By having Indian-majority seats, Malaysian Indians can be politically stronger.

Can demand safeguards

"They could demand that both federal and state governments safeguard and enhance their political and socio-economic rights, interests and benefits," he told newsmen later.

He cited political weakness as a major reason for Indians being marginalised, isolated, sidelined and neglected where mainstream development in the country is concerned.

Though Indians formed bulk of decisive votes in an estimated 50 out of the country's 222 parliamentary constituencies, they are not in the majority in any seat.

Batu Kawan has been picked as an ideal constituency given that Indians make up 22.4 per cent of its 47,602 registered voters, according to last year's electoral roll.

The constituency consists of Prai, Bukit Tengah and Bukit Tambun state seats.

Current Batu Kawan Member of Parliamen is Penang Deputy Chief Minister 2 P Ramasamy, who is also Prai assemblyperson.

Nationwide campaign plan

According to the 2008 electoral roll, Indians comprised 35.8 per cent of Prai's 14, 108 voters, 17.5 per cent of Bukit Tengah's 14,790 voters and 16 per cent of Bukit Tambun's 17,704 voters.

PKR's Ong Win Chen is currently Bukit Tengah assemblyperson while state executive councillor Law Choo Kiang represents Bukit Tambun.

Following the Batu Kawan launch, Uthayakumar plans to expand his campaign to other similar constituencies across the country to execute his strategy.

Kedah's Padang Serai, Sungai Siput, Perak's Ipoh Barat, Bagan Datoh in Perak, and Selangor' Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor and Klang are among the other federal seats that have been earmarked.

No tears if plan fails

Supporters of HRP and Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) will be mobilised to carry out the nationwide campaign

Through Indian majority seats, Uthayakumar said the community can elect dedicated representatives to fight for their cause and vote them out if they fail.

"Indian majority seats will pose a political threat to the authorities as well," he said.

However, Uthayakumar noted that HRP would need strong Indian public support to succeed in its plan.

He said he will not weep if the Indian community is uninterested in his campaign. "As a community leader, I am offering a plan to empower them.

"But I won't be in despair if they are not keen."I am not a desperate politician," he said.