Saturday, September 26, 2009

Makkal Sakthi Party - Hindraf cries foul - Malaysiakini

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).

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will be officially launching MMSP, which is headed by a former Hindraf leader, on Oct 10.

“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 to Malaysiakini.

“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.”

NONEWaythamoorthy (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 Hindraf 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.

makkal sakti party pc 060609 thanenthiranBoth men were active with Hindraf after the government crackdown where a number of the movement leaders were arrested, noted Waythamoorthy.

Hindraf legal advisor P Uthayakumar, Waythamoorthy's elder brother, the movement's organising secretary T Vasanthakumar and three other lawyer sympathisers of Hindraf were incarcerated at that time under the draconian Internal Security Act after a Singapore paper linked the movement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE).

'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.

That was when Hindraf supporters took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur in the thousands to press “for the legitimate aspirations of Malaysians of Indian-origin”.

Makkal sakthi also helped unleash the political tsunami on which the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition rode to power in five states and Kuala Lumpur in the general elections last March, added Waythamoorthy.

“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.”

brickfields uthayakumar hindraf 280209 water cannonThe 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.”

hindraf dataran vigil 050909 uthayakumar wifeUthayakumar thinks that the objectives of Hindraf need to be given a political platform, according to Waythamoorthy.

While he has no quarrels with his brother, he begs to differ since “it's not his call to make on Hindraf”.

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 release 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.