Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hindraf accuses Umno of abusing Article 153

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has accused top Umno leaders of manipulating Article 153 of the Federal Constitution to amass the country’s wealth and enrich themselves.

London-based Hindraf supremo P Waytha Moorthy said Umno had disseminated misinformation for over 50 years, since independence, on the real contents of Article 153 to hoodwink Malaysians and misappropriate the country’s wealth by deception.

He said Article 153 never mentioned special privileges of Malays.

“It only stated the special position and provision of the Malays, read together with those of natives of Sabah and Sarawak and legitimate interests of all Malaysians.

“Umno invented the phantom privileges to empower and enrich the party elites,” he pointed out.

But, he alleged that Umno leaders over the years have propagated wrong information to deceive and cheat the people into believing that Article 153 was all about such phantom privileges.

He said Umno's top leaders have constantly and consistently spread misinformation on these phantom Malay privileges in order to loot and plunder the country’s wealth to enrich themselves at the expenses of other Malaysians, including the poor Malays and Indians.

“For instance, Umno had taken total control of Petronas money, a nation’s wealth, even evading parliamentary scrutiny,” he noted.

Racist policy

He said Umno leaders manipulated Article 153 to usurp the powers of Rulers to ensure the ruling elites were rich and powerful.

Waytha Moorthy alleged that Umno leaders misrepresented Article 153 to instil fear among non-Malays that “bloodbath would take place if the phantom special privileges of Malays were questioned”.

“Umno leaders have consistently warned non-Malays about the May 13 racial riot,” he told FMT via telephone.

He accused Umno leaders of abusing Article 153 to carry out a racist policy to upgrade a particular race – the Malays.

He said this blatant violation of human rights was systematically executed at the expense of non-Malays, especially poor and underprivileged Indians, Orang Asli (indigenous people) and natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

Waythamoorthy, a lawyer by profession, said Article 153 clearly stated that “it shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities”.

“Malaysians shall note that the article did not mention special privileges. It stresses that the King’s constitutional duty is to safeguard the legitimate interests of all Malaysians.

“Hindraf wants to know what the Yang di-Pertuan has done so far and will do in future to safeguard the interests of all Malaysians, not just Malays,” he said.

Legitimate interests

He added that Hindraf was curious to know what has been the “titah baginda” (ruler’s command) to safeguard the legitimate interests of all Malaysians.

The Hindraf leader had his international Malaysian passport revoked by the Home Ministry in late 2008.

Since then, Waytha Moorthy has been living under British political asylum.

Recently, the Umno-controlled Putrajaya administration announced that Waytha Moorthy would not be allowed back into the country because of his campaign to amend Article 153.

Hindraf considers the government'’s decision a serious violation of its leader’s legitimate citizenry rights.

Waytha Moorthy questioned the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government's fear of amending Article 153 when the same administration had amended the Federal Constitution countless times since 1957.

“The constitution only has 181 articles, but Umno had willfully amended it over 500 times, a world record, to suit its political whims and fancies,” he said.

He said the Umno administration had committed treason when the party embarked on constitutional amendments to clip the royal powers during the constitutional crisis in 1983 and 1989.

He said Hindraf wanted Article 153 to be amended to safeguard and enhance the legitimate interests, rights and benefits of all Malaysians irrespective of their ethnic and religious backgrounds.

“What’s so sacred about Article 153 that it shall not be amended?” he asked.