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.

P.Uthayakumar “ethnic cleansing” criminal prosecution on 28/09/09 @ 9.00a.m.

Media Event

Re: P. Uthayakumar’s “ethnic cleansing” criminal prosecution scheduled to begin from 28-30th September 2009 as follows:-

Date : 28th September 2009 onwards.

Time : 9.00a.m.

Venue : KL Criminal Sessions Court (Puan Sabariah’s Court)

Thank you.

Your faithfully,


S. Jayathas

Media liasions officer

Tel No: 6012-636 2287

Note :

1) An application has been filed to transfer this case to the KL High Court (criminal) on public policy grounds.

2) The criminals who committed grevious bodily injury and the murders of five Indians in the Kg. Medan “ethnic cleansing” racial attacks specifically targeted on the Indians in March 2001 are yet to be prosecuted and convicted, no Inquest into the five cold blooded murders in board daylight by the Chief Justice and Attorney General, no Royal Commission of Inquiry by the UMNO controlled Malaysian government, No Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), Inquiry our application to compel Suhakam to hold an Inquiry was dismissed by the KL High Court and no white paper presented to Parliament. This is despite this “ethnic cleansing” case being the worst case of Human Rights violations in the history of Malaysia. But P. Uthayakumar has been swiftly prosecuted, his passport initially impounded by the said Sessions Court and the Attorney General personally appearing and objecting to bail and finally an excessive bail of RM50,000.00 was initially imposed said Sessions Court. Human Rights for the Human Rights Defender!

Kugan's mother to appeal to Agong - Malaysiakini

It has been nine months since 23-year-old Kugan Ananthan died in police custody and despite a post-mortem report revealing that he was severely beaten up resulting in kidney failure and death, no prosecution has taken place.

Kugan case 020709 05Annoyed and weary by the lack of haste on the matter by the authorities, some 200 people will gathering at Istana Negara tomorrow to submit a petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong calling for action to be against his assailants.

Human rights lawyer N Surendran, who is representing Kugan' family told Malaysiakini today that the palace is their last avenue to pressure for prosecution.

Kugan's mother, N Indra, will be submitting the petition to the Agong.

Kugan died on Jan 20 after being detained in connection with several car theft cases for five days at the Taipan police station in USJ.

The first autopsy conducted by the Serdang Hospital concluded that Kugan had died from liquid accumulation in his lungs.

Dissatisfied with the report his family demanded that a second post-mortem to be done, as a video clip taken at the Serdang Hospital mortuary revealed severe bruises on Kugan's body.

Following massive public outcry accusing the police of foul play, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail reclassified the case as murder and a day later 11 officers from the Taipan police station were moved and put on desk duty.

Moreover, in April the police had seized Kugan's blood and tissue samples, documents and even the second pathologist handwritten notes from the University Malaya Medical Centre's Pathology Department.

No probe despite evidence

Currently, the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) is probing Dr. Karim Tajuddin's professional conduct in relation to the cause of Kugan's death in the first post-mortem report.

Kugan case 020709 04"Until now nobody has been arrested and nobody has been charged... on top of that the police have seized the samples," lamented Surendran (left).

"Kugan's mother has got no where else to turn to... in hopes that the Agong is the final frontier of justice, we are going there tomorrow," he said.

The family is currently pursuing for the return of Kugan's seized blood and tissue samples.

Surendran said that the several civil rights groups and opposition members of parliament will also be present at the vicinity.

He added that the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities is taking a toll on Kugan's family.

"His mother may be terminated soon as she has to take off every time we have to go to court, however, she is determined to go on and she is not giving up until the matter is resolved," he said.

Three-cornered debate on Buah Pala mooted - Malaysiakini

The High Chaparral fiasco takes another turn today as the Penang Gerakan Youth challenged Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for an open debate over the demolition of Kampung Buah Pala.

Hindu rights movement Hindraf followed this up with the suggestion to turn the event into a three-cornered debate.

Gerakan Youth chose the village as the venue for the proposed debate, and mooted a date and time - Oct 4 at 8.30pm.

The movement chief Oh Tong Keong today handed an invitation letter for the open debate to the chief minister through Lim's special assistant Ong Beng Guat at Komtar.

In an immediate response, Lim rejected the invitation saying that it was inappropriate for him to debate the issue with Gerakan Youth leaders.

He said he preferred to debate Gerakan president and former chief minister Koh Tsu Koon.

Lim and Penang Gerakan chairperson Dr Teng Hock Nan has been involved in an on-going public spat over who was to be blamed in the Kampung Buah Pala fiasco.

Teng accused the DAP government of finalising the land deal and selling off the village land to Koperasi Pegawai Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang without resolving the residents' predicament.

He said the previous Barisan Nasional government had inserted a contractual clause in the land deal compelling the landowner and developer to settle all issues pertaining to compensation, relocation and resettlement of the affected residents.

The Gerakan leader accused Lim of not complying with the clause when he effected the transfer of the village land title to the cooperative society on March 27 last year.

Lim: Koh a 'land robber'

Lim in return has accused that the previous government of being the real culprit behind the fiasco and described Koh as a “land robber”.

In its invitation letter, the Gerakan Youth stated that the debate be conducted in Bahasa Malaysia to allow all parties, including the village's residents committee, former residents, political parties, civil society groups and general public, to fully follow the discussion.

He also dared Lim to reveal his administration's executive council meeting minutes pertaining to the village land deals.

H'ng said the village was chosen as the debate venue was appropriate and ideal given that “Lim has never set foot in Kampung Buah Pala.”

“If Lim is brave enough to accept this challenge, he will be meeting our youth members at the debate. We have sufficient information and qualification to take him on in this matter," he told journalists after handing over the invitation letter.

H'ng said Lim should not be debating Koh as the Gerakan president was no longer active in local politics.

"Let us take Lim on," he said, adding that Lim should accept the challenge to show he had the guts to tackle the party's youth wing.

The developer and landowner have since early this month begun demolishing the houses in Kampung Buah Pala early this month after the villagers agreed to leave in return for compensation.

Lim said he wanted to debate the issue with Koh although he was not an elected representative and had even lost to Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy by some 10,000 votes in Batu Kawan parliamentary contest in the last general election.

'I respect him as the Gerakan president and would like to debate with him over the issue. If Koh dare not debate by himself and sends his assistants instead, I don't think that's the quality of a leader," he said, recalling that it was Koh who debated him on another land matter last year.

Hindraf wants in too

Meanwhile, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) wants to be included should the debate materialise.

Hindraf national advisor N Naragan said it was important that civil movement be given the chance to argue their side of story over the whole Kampung Buah Pala imbroglio.

He said among the questions that Hindraf would seek clarification are:
  • Was the government right in allowing the demolition of Kampung Buah Pala?
  • Was there any heritage lost in the destruction of the village?
  • Did the villagers deserve what they got?
  • Was the demolition of Kampung Buah Pala unavoidable?
  • Were there other social or moral issues - and not just legal and commercial issues - involved in the village demolition?

If first you don’t succeed, whore yourself to the UMNO fatcats

By Haris Ibrahim,

27th September, last year, some of us gathered at Dataran Merdeka to light a candle and wish RPK, who was then being detained under the ISA, ‘Happy Birthday’. You can read about that HERE.

Later, some of us moved on to join the Hindraf folk who were also holding an anti-ISA candle light vigil that culminated in a gathering at the Sri Ganesha temple in Jalan Pudu.

A huge crowd had built up at the temple but one man, all fire and brimstone, had my attention.

Former Hindraf national co-coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran is the man circled in yellow

Former Hindraf national co-coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran is the man circled in yellow

I could not understand most of what Thanenthiran said, but he certainly roused the crowd to constantly break into a chorus of ‘Makkal Sakti’ and ‘Mansuhkan ISA’.

Just eleven days before this vigil, Thanenthiran was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that Hindraf ‘backed Anwar Ibrahim to become the country’s sixth prime minister for it believes that the opposition leader is the only person capable of putting the country back on the right track’.

Thanenthiran was quoted as saying :

“Anwar has assured that he will ensure a free and fair country based on equality, justice and democracy for all, something that Barisan Nasional has not given to Malaysians in its unbroken 51-year rule. He is now the best bet to instill some order to our political uncertainty. Hindraf wants him to become prime minister and safeguard the Indian community from marginalisation”.

Well, Thanenthiran appears to have vindicated the adage we hear again and again that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics.

And the perception amongst many that to get anywhere in the world of politics, one has to whore one’s own soul.

Thanenthiran in his dapper suit, a far cry from his street activism days. Photo courtesy of Malaysianinsider

Thanenthiran in his dapper suit, a far cry from his street activism days. Photo courtesy of Malaysianinsider

In May, this year, Thanenthiran and his merry men moved to register a new political party. The stated objective of the new party, as reported by Malaysiakini, to spearhead “a political struggle for the betterment of the Malaysian Indian community”.

At that time, sources close to Thanenthiran indicated that this new party would not incline to either BN or Pakatan but would steer its own course.

However, the speed with which the new party, Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia, secured registration by the Registrar of Societies was, for many, telling.

Malaysianinsider reported yesterday that Najib has been invited to and has agreed to be the guest of honour at the official launch of this new party this coming October 10th.

According to this report, Thanenthiran made many curious statements.

Whilst insisting that the invite to Najib should not be seen as detracting from the independence of this new party he nonetheless candidly shared that “We are working together with him as partners… we walk together for the benefit of the Indian community”.

This ‘working together’, as Thanenthiran disclosed, includes actively campaigning for the Barisan Nasional in the forthcoming Bagan Pinang by-election.

Why this about-turn?

Thanenthiran explains.

“It is true the BN did not do much for us in the past 52 years but the Pakatan Rakyat has done even less for us in the past two years. BN under Datuk Seri (Najib) is beginning to do for the Indians in major areas and we welcome it. We want to work with him to get a fair share of the nation’s resources”.

Getting a fair share of the nation’s resources is all well and good, but for whom?

The marginalised Indians?

Isn’t that what MIC and Samy Vellu have been saying all these years?

So is Thanenthiran and his new party, as Malaysianinsider suggests, merely filling in the seeming vacuum in BN’s divide and rule scheme brought about by MIC’s increasing irrelevance and inability to reform?

Three days before that vigil last September, Malaysiakini reported that Thanenthiran had challenged Samy to seek the forgiveness of Malaysia Indians.

“Samy Vellu should kneel and beg for (forgiveness) for his wrongdoings (against) the community if he is sincere and honest about seeking freedom for our leaders”.

Samy did better than that.

On 1st April this year, Samy visited a recuperating Thanenthiran in hospital. Thanenthiran was recovering from a heart attack and, quite possibly, the disappointment of being overlooked by PKR as the candidate for the Bukit Selambau by election. Malaysiakini has a report of this HERE.

Was this the turning point for Thanenthiran?

Some two weeks after this visit, Waythamoorthy purged the Hindraf leadership by suspending several who reckoned themselves as the top guns, including Thanenthiran.

Had Waytha got wind of some wheeling and dealing by those within the ranks of Hindraf to further their own agenda?

In a Malaysiakini report dated 21st May, this year, Thanenthiran, speaking on the formation of this new party, admitted to having led a delegation to meet PM Najib a month before.

This would place that meeting with Najib some three weeks after that visit by Samy at the hospital.

Political deals, it would seem, were being made at lightning speed.

And lo and behold, what emerges today is a re-branded and re-cast Thanenthiran, now perfectly kosher for Najib and UMNO.

And the police.

In June, Malaysiakini reported that Thanenthiran said that his new party would not follow in the footsteps of Hindraf in going to the streets to pressure the government to look into the needs of the marginalised Indians in Malaysia.

In rationalising this change of strategy, Thanenthiran, in my view, let the cat out of the bag.

“Going to streets may make one popular, but it will not necessarily resolve the problems at hand”, is what he is reported to have said.

And that, it would seem, was what his street activism was all about.

Profile building.

The question that must now be asked, is whether the Malaysian Indian community will submit itself to another 52 years of marginalisation by being taken in by this poliitical whoring?

Bagan Pinang may provide an early answer come 11th October.