Friday, March 12, 2010

Hindraf joins forces with indigenous group in London - Malaysiakini

By Joe Fernandez & Chen Yi Ling

It was a historic first in London on Tuesday when Hindraf joined forces with an indigenous group from Sabah and Sarawak to lobby legislators on issues still lingering from the British colonial period in Malaysia.

Hindraf chair P Waythamoorthy and advisor N Ganesan made the case for their Hindu Rights Action Force at the House of Commons, while Sabah and Sarawak were represented by Common Interest Group Malaysia (Cigma) activists Daniel John Jambun and Nicholas Bawin Anggat.

Both Cigma and Hindraf reiterated the case that Britain had a lingering historical, legal and moral obligation towards its former subjects in its ex-colonies.

“We are only asking for our rights under the federal constitution,” stressed Hindraf advisor Ganesan in highlighting 15 areas of human rights violations by the Malaysian government. “We want our place in the Malaysian sun.”

hindraf indigenous groups uk 110310Ganesan (right standing) went on to allege that the Indian community, largely the descendants of indentured plantation labour brought in by the British from Tamil Nadu, were being systematically marginalised by the ruling BN government.

“The various issues causing marginalisation are not individual aberrations or decisions gone wrong but are systematic and repeated in many specific instances,” said Ganesan in summing up several case histories and studies.

“The problem with the Indian poor is multiplying and this has been illustrated with clear evidence.”

Ganesan is also advisor to the Human Rights Party, helmed by P Uthayakumar, the elder of the Hindraf brothers.

The special privileges for the Malays and natives, in its original form, covered only four areas - reasonable representation for the Malays and natives in the civil service; intake into government institutions of higher learning; government scholarships; and a share of government-created opportunities to do business.

However, Hindraf alleges that the government had unilaterally extended it to every facet of life in Malaysia.

KL not abiding to Malaysia Agreement

Meanwhile, Cigma senior activists Jambun from Sabah and Nicholas Bawin from Sarawak, made the case for Malaysian Borneo by urging the British government to return to a revived Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) on the Malaysia Agreement.

Other members of the IGC are the governments of Sabah, Sarawak, Malaysia and Singapore.

The IGC, pointed out both activists, was a permanent institution meant to monitor the Malaysian government's compliance with the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.

The Malaysian government, in the absence of the IGC, has been in non-compliance, according to both activists.

“Kuala Lumpur could easily impose proxies, stooges and traitors in Sabah and Sarawak and ignore the legitimate aspirations of the people.”

Jambun said that over the past 50 years “various modifications and adjustments” to the Malaysia Agreement have eroded the rights and privileges of Sabahans.

“Forty-six years after independence, Sabah is now the poorest state despite its abundant natural resources,” he lamented.

nicholas bawin pkr candidate for batang ai state seat 270209 01Bawin (left) gave a brief history of the Abdul Taib Mahmud government in Sarawak which, according to him, has been a proxy for the last 30 years for the ruling elite in Kuala Lumpur.

“Land, timber, oil and gas are all resources which are not benefitting the people of Sarawak,” said Nicholas.

Both Bawin and Jambun pointed out that Brunei stayed out from Malaysia at the 11th hour and Singapore left two years after.

The two countries, it was stressed, are light years ahead of Sabah and Sarawak “who were forced into a bad idea called Malaysia”. The statistics on poverty, it was pointed out, tell the whole story.

Sabah facing new threats

The Sabah activist, in his presentation on behalf of Cigma chair Jeffrey Kitingan, detailed the threats to the security and sovereignty of Sabah since Malaysia in 1963.

The thrust of his case was that the indigenous majority were being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants from neighbouring nations.

“We acknowledge that Sabah has labour needs and especially in an increasingly globalised economy,” said Jambun. “But what we cannot accept is illegal immigrants being issued with Malaysian personal documents via the back door and being placed on the electoral rolls.”

hindraf in london 110310 01The presence of illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls, especially in marginal seats, has been at the expense of the indigenous majority, stressed Jambun, “and compromised the security and sovereignty of Sabah”.

For the first time, a Sabah leader openly alleged that the state was now a safe haven for terrorists on the run, rebels and kidnappers. “JI or Jemaah Islamiyah, a terror network, has been identified as having its presence in Sabah,” disclosed Jambun. “So has Darul Islam Sabah.”

Hence, with the presence of “armed foreigners on our soil”, thundered Jambun, Sabah is no longer a secure state. “Where is the security promised us by the Federation of Malaysia in 1963?” he asked the British.

hindraf in london 110310 waythamoorthyHindraf chair Waythamoorthy in summing up for both his movement and Cigma alleged that Malaysia has been re-colonised by a ruling elite with the departure of the British.

“Independence has brought us a raw deal. The promises have not materialised whether for the indigenous people in Sabah and Sarawak or for the Indian community and others in Peninsular Malaysia,” said Waythamoorthy.

“The New Economic Policy was supposed to eradicate poverty irrespective of race. Instead, the benefits have gone to an elite minority.”

Statelessness, continued Waythamoorthy in elaborating on a point earlier raised by Ganesan, continues to plague not only the Indians but also the indigenous peoples in Sabah and Sarawak and others.

Labour MP chairs meeting

British Labour MP Virendra Sharma for Ealing Southall, a community known as 'Little India' in London, chaired the meeting.

Speaking on behalf of his peers, he expressed their dismay at the alleged serious violations of human rights by the Malaysian authorities detailed by Hindraf and Cigma.

“I will bring this up to my government,” he assured. “We will also initiate a committee at the parliamentary level to further deliberate on what we have heard here today for follow-up measures and action.

'We can certainly set up a group in Parliament to talk about the plight of marginalised Malaysians.”

He said that overseas Malaysians can lobby their local MPs to exert pressure on the Foreign Office in Malaysia.

Isabel Tay, a Malaysian who attended the briefing, said, “I'm now a lot more aware on how the minority communities view the situation in Malaysia.”


by 1Msia? - 4 hours ago

Hindraf should plan for GE13. Bagan Pinang was a wasted opportunity for Hindraf because Uthaya got disappointed with the Kg. Buah Pala issue. However , we must work to end the UMNO/BN regime in GE13. Pls talk to PR , they are the only hope for us Malaysians.

by Ck Albert - 6 hours ago

BN is going to be uneasy with this new alliance between Hindraf and Bornoe states. Imagine if all minorities in Malaysia joins hand with Hindraf. I think the Borneo community leaders have the right group on their side. Best is to keep in touch with Waytha very often and get him to raise your issues in The UN and European Parliament. Hindraf often frequents these International bodies in their lobby. They have good working relations with the US state Department, Australia government and are making inroads to Japan parliamentarians. Jeffrey Kitingan and other Native leaders in Borneo should hold regular video conference with Waytha and get his help to raise their profile internationally. remember only international pressure would force this government to change their policies.

by kohila - 6 hours ago

Unlike Pakatan mandores Hindraf has proven itself to be the voice of the marginalised community. This is a slap on the face of all those who said Hindraf is a racist organisation. If they can organise this with the sabahans and sarawakians - what else need to be said?? All those who claimed to be marginalised have to follow the steps of the sabahans and sarawakians- get help from Hindraf. Make the first step and see Hindraf comes out to your

by antihoodwinkers - 6 hours ago

"The New Economic Policy was supposed to eradicate poverty irrespective of race. Instead, the benefits have gone to an elite minority.” That is the core of the problem which is HINDRAF's struggle.

by antihoodwinkers - 6 hours ago

HINDRAF is going to the core of the problem viz marginalisation of the Indians and the original promises made during independence REGARDING FAIR TREATMENT ESPECIALLY FOR THE POORER CLASS INDIANS AND OTHERS and the systematic reneging of these promises by BN. They have not wavered from this struggle.

by firewing - 6 hours ago

Indians are indeed gifted to have such leaders who are intelligent to drive their point right up to House of Commons. Its time Pakatan engage this Human Rights group Hindraf. They are proven to be committed to their cause and they have leaders who are capable of a lot more than what is portrayed in the media. I think the are actually a misunderstood movement. I am beginning to feel Pakatan leaders are uncomfortable with Hindraf for their boldness. I can see Pakatan has more to lose than gain if they rule out working with Hind

by thunder_bird - 7 hours ago

Dei Ramasamy. You can pretend to be kgen. but u are a coward and fool. Shame on you. You have such low mentality. DAP is such a desperate party that they even take on board fools like this clown. Waytha is a strategist. the issues Ramasamy has raised is trivial because as a DCM this mandore can never perform and feel jealous of Hindraf's achievements. Let us see how this mandore clown wins the next election. maybe he should engage the services of the SB mole Vasanthakumar to to help him win the next GE.

by kgen - 7 hours ago

HIndraf is suing the British govt and at the same time asking for help. Waytha wants to sue the British Crown but petitions the Queen for a Q.C. to sue her Majesty's own govt. In the meantime he takes shelter in Britain. Waytha sues m'kini but mikini is his strongest platform. I won't waste time with this bunch of clowns who can't see left from right. Putting your hope in Hindraf and HRM is like trusting a bunch of idiots and undermining the parties which can make a difference for Indians while BN laughs at the unpaid mandores, Uthaya & Waytha. If PR doesn't win in next G.E. my consolation will be that Hindraf Indians deserve the govt they get. Don't bother to slam me, I'm not wasting any more time on this.

by matahari - 8 hours ago

Waytha is right when he says that The East Malaysian natives, Indians ( and chinese- my addition) are RECOLONIALIZED. It is time the chinese too join forces with Hindraf. We can never trust politicians, they are all opportunists. Hindraf is a Movement that has proven to have taken the cause of Human Rights without Fear. We Chinese should come out of our shell and be as bold and exert our pressure on the UMNO regime which is racist and have mislead Malaysians. Let there be MERDEKA for MALAYSIA.

by Keturunan Malaysia - 8 hours ago

Augustin, "I SEE YOU" (borrowed from the movie Avatar) and "I SEE HINDRAF" and believe me, there are at least 15 people here with me saying 'WE see you" and WE see Hindraf"...!!!

by Shireen Anne Nah - 8 hours ago

@Paradox: I believe he was asking overseas Malaysians living in the UK to lobby their local British MPs to exert pressure on the UK Foreign Office.


y Rohan Tan - 8 hours ago

I am proud of Hindraf for sharing their platform with our Borneo brothers. Hindraf has from its inception proven itself to be the lead in the new freedom movement in Malaysia. They have pioneered the International lobby and open the eyes of International community. A strategic move and keep up the good work. Many Malaysians including PR live in denial but you guys have the guts, will and strength to fight for the cause of Human Rights

by ND2817 - 8 hours ago

Well done Hindraf.. You are the only hopes for the Malaysian working class Indians..Keep the momentum..

by Mydin Kutty - 8 hours ago

Hindraf has proven to be of a world class Movement though the Government keeps misleading their role. The Government should now realise that there are more people placing their trust and confidence in Hindraf. I suspect the Government is going to be uneasy with this new alliance and so goes with Pakatan.

by Dr.krishna - 10 hours ago

this is the way how to dothing thing, good job hindraf.but please do not separate supporters of hindraf by forming a party for personal agenda.we still support hindraf but not the party which try to give advantage to BN/UMNO.

by Mr.Anandha - 11 hours ago

Simple those who succed come back and put his family to another level. This do not happen among tamilians (we are abunch of crab, we always pull those who is going up down thats what we do best) My question is simple if the govt or the world gives us few billion USD, will it solve the problem????? it will be the same as what have MIC done. and we will be in the same situation and another group call Pindraf may be at UN blameing the same group plus Hindraf. Our community problem is not simple but it can be rectified is genuine group work at grassroot level to make changes. Stop fighting along a narrow root but on a wider persective of indian community. Fight along the Malaysian born Indian community line irrespective of caste, race and religion to make us competitive, a community that will be recognised as inventors, explorers, buiders rather than sanke, gangsters, robbers and lastly child abusers. Sadly the Hindaf group is just being a platform to give excuses by the arm chair critic

by Mr.Anandha - 11 hours ago

i just do not understand why do we have to blame others for the systematic failure of the community due to the blind faith we had on caste, religion, race(among indian born). Vasagar MIC leader during pre independent era was dispossed by the Indian community just because he was a north indian (Tamil language fight which was going on in south india) though he was a leader who had vision and was replace by VTSambanthan who do not have any qualification to be a community leader other than being a millionnaires son and a Tamilian. After that the indian community keep allianating themselve along tamil and tamil culture and 53 years have past and we are still blaming others. Look at the Punjabi's for the readers infor one of MIC presedent was a Punjabi name Barth Singh(am not sure of the spealing) how the community have developed over the same period without any handouts from the government, the telegu community have also done tremendously well. Have we pondered why??

by temenggong - 11 hours ago

I am happy to note that Hindraf has assisted in opening doors to the other marginalised communities like the Ibans and Kadazans and internationalised their long ignored issues. Finally the 18 and 20 Point Agreements is coming into focus at the world stage! No one can now say Hindraf is working for Indians only. It is clear they are world for all marginalised minorities. Now where were our opposition PR leaders? Why were they not at the Commons and highlighting the issues?

by sunshine - 11 hours ago

Hindraf knows the govt achilles heel which is extreme sensitivity to overseas critism bordering on paranoia. Now that Cigma is onboard it will make the greviences too glaring to ignore. Salute the brave

by Maddy - 12 hours ago

This is what i like with you guys in Hindraf, what ever the people outside say, you keep on fighting for the ultimate goal: uphold the minorities rights. Long Live Hindraf!!!

by augustin - 12 hours ago

I am waiting for Kgen and those like minded, the poster child of Malaysiakini to state their comments. Malaysia kini, please don't dissapoint me and those who subscribe to you as you are so preditable these days on your own agenda.

by Putra - 13 hours ago

Viva Hindraf & Cigma, a salute to Waytha who brought to International limelight, the marginalization of minority groups in Malaysia. Umno ruled Msia must change!!!!

by Paradox - 13 hours ago

//He said that overseas Malaysians can lobby their local MPs to exert pressure on the Foreign Office in Malaysia.// Which MP in Malaysia have guts to lobby, oh come on! even Pakatan Mps and Mandores have no guts lah!

by DC - 13 hours ago

You see, it is not so difficult, engage HINDRAF and it will pave the path for human rights. Native Malaysians is a start and many others can join hand and be a force if we seek what is just and fair without infringing the right of another for the will of the Malaysian people as oppose to the political will and the mandorism that is acclimatized under both BN and Pakatan. Let's create the third force solely for the people. If you are interested and genuine to be part of the 3rd Force, email me at This is totally voluntary without any expectation so please email only if you can contribute your time and effort without the typical know how and what it should be. Know how and how it should be has not brought us anywhere, so i wouldn't waste your time nor you should waste my time to justify the cause in your own wonderland. I may sound crude but that is what it is as I am not interested in all the pleasantry but only to enhance the Malaysian agenda.