Thursday, April 2, 2009

'Hindraf will remain neutral'

Malaysiakini- Apr 2, 09 3:48pm

Hindraf national coordinator RS Thanenthiran today lashed out at his detractors who have accused him of being bought over by MIC president S Samy Vellu.

The accusation gained strength following Samy Vellu's surprise visit earlier this week to see the bed-ridden Thanenthiran who has been hospitalised after suffering a heart attack on Saturday.

Thanenthiran is especially peeved with text messages which alleged that Samy Vellu had paid RM50,000 for his hospital treatment.

"I can never be bought by anyone," he told Malaysiakini today.

The SMSes also alleged that Thanenthiran had betrayed the Indian community by supporting the MIC, adding that he was upset after being overlooked by PKR as the candidate for the Bukit Selambau by-election.

"None of this is true. Hindraf will remain to be very neutral. We don't support Pakatan Rakyat, neither do we support the BN," he said.

He added that his medical treatment was borne by his insurance coverage.

"Please don't believe in these SMSes. They are being sent out by the enemies of Hindraf," he said.

He added that Hindraf would remain true to its struggle to fight for the rights of the Indian community.

On Samy Vellu's visit to see him at the hospital, Thanenthiran said that he was surprised to see the MIC leader even though Hindraf and the BN party were bitter rivals in championing the plight of Indian Malaysians.

MIC's massive electoral defeat in the general election last year was largely attributed to Hindraf's aggressive campaign for the rights of the minority Indian community.

Thanenthiran said that it would have been rude for him to stop Samy Vellu from visiting him.

"Another person who had set fire to my car had come to visit and I entertained him too. How can I ask these people to just leave?" he asked.

He said that the visits did not mean that he had abandoned his principles.

"I hope members of our community would not have such a narrow mind in believing all that have been alleged in the SMSes. They should know Hindraf and its stand by now," he added.

On another matter, Thanenthiran urged incoming Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to release the five Hindraf leaders currently detained under the Internal Security Act as well as to allow Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy to return home from his self-imposed exile in London.

A party for Hindraf?

Meanwhile several grassroots Hindraf leaders are pushing for the movement to be turned into a political party to safeguard the Indian Malaysian interests in the country, reports Athi Veeranggan from Penang.

The movement's Penang deputy coordinator R Sanjeeviramah, commonly known as Sanjay, said the proposal has been sent to Hindraf leaders for consideration.

Sanjay said that several grassroots leaders have also been preparing a set of party constitution based on justice, freedom, equality and democracy for consideration.

"We believe only a separate political entity can safeguard the interests, rights and benefits of the Indian community in the country. We have lost faith in all other parties," he told Malaysiakini.

The idea to form a Hindraf-based party was first mooted after the movement was banned last October.

But the idea did not take off after Hindraf leaders decided to adopt a ‘wait and see' attitude on the political developments in the country.

Sanjay however acknowledged that it would be an uphill task for Hindraf to register a party due to Barisan Nasional political dominance.

"We understand it would take years. But we are determined and dedicated to register it," he said.

He said that the new party was needed as the Indians were continued to being marginalised even under the Pakatan Rakyat states, just as in the BN-controlled states.

"Only in Perak, some Hindraf leaders were appointed as members of village committees and municipal councillors.

"But no Hindraf leaders or supporters were appointed to any position in other Pakatan states," added Sanjay.

Hindraf's top leaders are quiet on the calls from the grassroots leaders for their own party. Earlier, the movement has also decided to stay out of the Bukit Selambau by-election in protest over PKR leadership's decision to overlook Thanenthiran as the candidate.

Waythamoorthy, who is also recovering from heart ailment in London, is expected to issue a statement soon on these matters.