Friday, January 30, 2009

Makkal Sakthi - Community Service Panthal for Thaipusam in Port Klang


By G.Kanchana (30.01.09)

The criticism on those presumably tarnishing the country’s image has been the focus of some who believe that playing the race card and discrediting the country’s image does not help to find permanent solutions to the problems at hand. Of late this were the views of the Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation (MIYDF) chairperson SA Vigneswaran who also stated that pinpointing the ruling government would not solve the issues and that everyone has a part to play. Previously KK Eswaran, the president of the Indian-based business group, the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Maicci), similarly lashed out at government critics for negative remarks on the country’s leadership. Both Vigneswaran and Eswaran believe these irresponsible acts of some were to push forward their respective agendas and serve their own interest.

The above refers of course to the activities of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader P Waytha Moorthy’s circulation of a booklet titled “Malaysian Indian Minority and the Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2008” during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Chennai. Waytha Moorthy had declared that Malaysian Indians are ill-treated and marginalised and called for the Indian government to impose trade sanctions against Malaysia in importing palm oil from Malaysia.

What both Vigneswaran and Eswaran fail to understand is that it is not Waytha Moorthy who is tarnishing the image of this country rather it is the ruling government and UMNO through its acts of racist and discriminatory policies and practices , injustices, religious extremism and marginalisation of minorities that has put our nation to shame. In the past 50 years the rights given by the Federal Constitution to the citizens of this country was well manipulated and manoeuvred to the advantage of UMNO and the BN Government. Corruption, cronyism and nepotism became so deep rooted into the society that it became part of the Malaysian culture. Basic human rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of press are noticeably deprived.

This is well portrayed in various international surveys and statistics. The dishonesty, lack of transparency and integrity of institutions such as the police, immigration and judiciary and high profile political involvements, have repeatedly brought the focus of the world to Malaysia. The humiliation involving high ranking immigration officers almost denied Malaysians their 6 month visa privileges with Britain. The scandalous Lingam Case, the mystery behind the death of Altantuya, the ambiguity of Anwar’s previous and present sodomy matters, various shoot to kill policies of the police and death in custody, already tainted Malaysia’s name. Not forgetting the use of ISA to suppress dissent and incarcerating human rights activist for indefinite periods.

These are only a few of the examples that tarnished Malaysia’s name internationally. The portrayal of Malaysia on the surface as being a democratic nation, peaceful and harmonious is false and it needn’t take Waytha Moorthy to demonstrate it. Read the US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights in Malaysia and you will see.

On the matter of serving one’s own interest although Eswaran speaks up as the representative of the Indian community his intentions are scrutinised in relation to a company called Multi Vest Resources Berhad (MVest) a company he heads. Would Waytha Moorthy’s call for the Indian government to impose trade sanctions against Malaysia in importing palm oil from Malaysia have any effect on his company that has 4000 hectares of oil palm plantation in Malaysia and a further 75,000 hectares coming up in Kalimantan. It would be right to say than “self interest” here refers to Eswaran’s position as a businessman and that of his Bumiputra Directors. Further Eswaran should be particularly careful when questioning on the virtues of credibility, gratefulness and the sincerity of others especially that of Waytha Moorthy, when so much of his own sordid personal life has been exposed and particular reference made to his “ungratefulness and betrayal of the hands that once fed him.” Both Eswaran and Vigneswaran have clearly spoken not as representatives of the people but that of the BN Government. Or is this all merely to facilitate the government’s recent instructions via the Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam to counter Hindraf’s activities of bringing out the truth.

Please bear in mind that the advocates of human rights in Malaysia including Waytha Moorthy have no interest of their own to serve but that of the community that is undergoing turmoil, discrimination and marginalisation. They are led not by self-interest or egotism but rather by a burning desire to put right the injustices that continue to accur. They are not amateurs (unlike many others) and their actions of fighting for minority rights and the preservation of the Indian race, religion and culture goes back as far as 20 years. They have sacrificed their lives, some unlawfully incarcerated without trial and others having to live in exile away from their beloved home, family, livelihood, dreams and aspirations, all for the sake of the deprived community. Their personal happiness and future is bleak with a question mark. There is no secret agenda here.

Mr Vigneswaran holds the view that we should not blame the ruling government on issues concerning the police force however he fails to recognise that it is the responsibility of the ruling government to take stern, quick, uncompromising and adequate action to safe the reputation of the police force that has currently stooped so low. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that this institution is operated and administered in the most professional and skilled manner. The entire police force is in a state of mockery and ridicule both nationally and internationally not because of those who carry the messages of truth but because of the constant wrongdoing that contravenes the very core of being a dignified and respected institution that serves to protect its people. Instead continued misconduct, corruption, mistreatment and now murder after murder has brought the entire police force into disgrace. Vigneswaran’s ideas and points as to the causes and solutions to police brutality are well received but nothing new to those who have already proposed similar changes time after time. Criticism, analysis and proposals for changes in any good governance would be well accepted as a means of moving forward. Time after time intervention and suggestions by the legal fraternity, NGO’s, human rights groups, political parties, the opposition and individual citizen’s of this country have fallen into deaf ears. P.Uthayakumar now incarcerated under ISA worked rigidly under the Police Watch and Human Rights Committee to highlight the causes and solutions to police brutality. This can be seen in the scores of letters and recommendations he made to the Prime Minister and the Ministries concerned. In July 2002 he forwarded a document entitled ASSAULT AND DEATH OF THARMA RAJEN A/L SUBRAMANIAM (19) AND HUNDREDS OF OTHERS IN POLICE CUSTODY.

ARE WE HEADING TOWARDS A POLICE STATE to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) where reasons were given and safeguards and proposals made to end police brutality? If the contents of this document were even read perhaps Kugan wouldn’t be lying dead in a grave right now. It is then ridiculous and sheer stupidity to even suggest the exhausted terms such as “there is a proper way in approaching the government”. We suggest that Vigneswaran prepares a report under MIYDF on his prescribed solutions, present it to the relevant authorities and then WAIT to see the outcome.
The problem here is not that we are short of ideas, plans or strategies on how to bring about changes but rather implementation of the changes which is the sole responsibility and only within the capability of the government. The Malaysian government has undoubtedly turned a blind eye on the grieviences of its people. It is ignorant and arrogant towards the racism, injustice, discrimination, and marginalization that is taking place in this country. When a much bigger nation can identify its faults and mistakes, acknowledge it, take stern actions and massive steps to rectify it even if it means its precious 200 year history would be changed forever WHY can’t we??????? A government that is willing to change when there is a dire need for changes is a responsible government. The Malaysian government has yet to take even the initial steps to demonstrate to its people how it is going to make right the enormous tribulations that encompass this nation. Perhaps this is unlikely to happen as bringing about any form of change would contradict the “the secret agendas and self-interest of those in governance and UMNO”.

For those who have recently accused Waytha Moorthy of spreading lies on the racism, injustices, discrimination and marginalization of the minority Indians in Malaysia please bear in mind that in the very short time that it took you to prepare your accusatory statement, 22 year old Kugan was severely beaten, abused and murdered while in police custody(INJUSTICE) , the Vallambrosa Tamil Primary School in Kapar was forced to conduct lessons for 69 primary two students at the school canteen(MARGINALISATION), a little girl named Darshini of standard 5 lives with a fear of being thrown out of school because she does not have a birth certificate(DISCRIMINATION), a Hindu woman fell victim to the obnoxious racist abuses of a fellow Malaysian Muslim passenger onboard a Malaysian flight (RACISM) and the government has decided not to pursue the obvious and desperately needed Race Relations Act.

ARE THESE LIES ???????????????