Friday, April 9, 2010

SOS ethnic minority Malaysian Indians – letter to President Obama on PM Najib’s visit to Washigton.

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NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245

His Excellency Mr. Barrack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House                                                                           
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW                                                       
Washigton DC 20500
United States of America

Dear Mr. President,
Re : SOS ethnic minority Malaysian Indians.
You have been an inspiration to all the world. You have become the President of the most powerful country in the world against significant odds with your message of change for a system of governance based on the needs of the common people. This message is something the world over needs very badly.
It was in 1965 that the United States of America granted to its citizens impartial and universal suffrage, through the passage of the National Voting Rights Act 1965. At this time Malaysia was already 8 years independent and with a democratic system based on universal suffrage, surprisingly ahead of the United States of America in this fundamental area.
In the ensuing 45 years, the United States of America has gone from that position to an extremely forward position where a first generation son of an immigrant and a member of a minority ethnic community can become its President and Chief Executive. That is tremendous social and political progress, for any nation, in any period of history. And you Sir, have contributed to that with your eloquence and clarity on your message of change.
However the situation here in Malaysia has not shown anywhere near that progress. Au contraire, the situation has regressed steeply from the sound position of universal suffrage and Equal Rights in 1965 to one where several fundamental rights enshrined in the Malaysian Federal Constitution has steadily eroded for the minority communities in particular for the ethnic minority Malaysian Indians who suffer the worst forums of state sponsored violations of human rights but who unfortunately receive the least attention at home and in the international fronts. These ethnic minority Indians have no or very little political or economic power unlike the other minority Chinese community who control the economy and have some political power. That has caused a fractured society in Malaysia – into an ethnocentric Malaysia. This is directly the handiwork of the ruling UMNO party – the leading and also the same majority community political party over the last 52 years.
The following fundamental rights have been violated :
1) Equal rights as citizens as enshrined in Article 8 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution has been replaced with a two tiered rights system – one for the majority Malay-Muslim Native (Bumiputra) community and another for the minority non-Malay, non-Muslim, non native (Bumiputra) communities. This has been facilitated by the distorted interpretation of Article 153 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution.
The non-Malay, non Muslim communities continue to be classified by the UMNO led Malaysian government theoreticians as immigrant communities, even though we have been domiciled in Malaysia for 5 or 6 generations or maybe even more. The result today is an institutionalised ethocentric two tiered socio-political system.
2) Resulting from the above two tiered system, especially the minority Indians populace of the country which number about 8% of the total population has been denied equal opportunities in social development, in land redistribution, in distribution of the country’s wealth in education – from primary level all the way to the tertiary level , in job opportunities in the entire Government apparatus and in all the front end of the socio-economic development efforts of the Government and also in the private sector, to name just a few of the areas of discrimination.
Another associated erosion of rights is in cases where there is a crossover between Islam, the religion of the majority community, and one of the other religions of the minorities, as in cases of forced religious conversions, marriages, divorces, inheritance rights, choice and freedom of religion, statehood, to name the major areas. In many cases the rulings of the Sharia court has been applied in violation of the provisions of the Federal Constitution. The minority non-Muslims are guaranteed that the Federal Constitution is the Supreme law of the land. The Sharia court has steadily encroached upon this right of the minority non-Muslims supported by the state apparatus, resulting in non Muslim citizens being deprived of what the Fedral Constitution has guaranteed.
3) In area of practice of Religion, the Malaysian Federal Constitution guarantees freedom to the practice of religion in Article 11. However in practice we experience a steady erosion of this right. Places of worship of the Hindus and Christians have been destroyed and /or desecrated. Most of these demolitions are state supported. Specifically in the last 5 years in excess of 200 Hindu places of worship is estimated to have been demolished. This is in direct violation of the provisions for equal rights in the practice of religion. There are other associated impediments the minorities of the country face in the practice of their respective religions and associated traditional practices.
4) In the area of citizenship, there are a significant number of Indian minority citizens who have been denied their due right as citizens of this country in direct violation of especially Article 14 the Federal Constitution. It is estimated that there could be anywhere up to 150,000 stateless children and another 300,000 such stateless adults even fifth and sixth generation Malaysian born Indians. This is directly an outcome of the operation of the ethnocentric political system of Malaysia through its state apparatus.
There are many more areas of violations of our Fundamental rights in the ethnocentric system that has developed in Malaysia more particularly as per our “Human Rights Violations Against the Ethnic Minority Malaysian Indians. HRP Briefing for foreign and diplomatic missions in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on 26/3/2010. For your information Sir, on this occasion the United States Ambassador to our country had sent two of their representatives, whose attendance we greatly appreciated.
In the interest of brevity, I shall not delve into them all. I think my point is abundantly made here, that the rights of minorities in particular of the Malaysian Indians in various respects has been and continues to be reduced in Malaysia in direct violation of the guarantees in the Malaysian Federal Constitution.
There is a significant need for the application of modern modes of thinking into the area of governance in our country, so we can turn this rather bleak and retrogressive position around. Significant political will has to be created for the introduction of such modern modes of thought, as inertia is great in all these areas. We seek your help Mr. President in this respect.
We understand our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will be visiting you shortly. We request you Sir, to raise these significant issues of the violation of fundamental rights of minority communities in Malaysia in particular the ethnic minority Malaysian Indians to help us gain some leverage. We are sure that with your reference to these matters on the basis of their fundamental nature, you will be able to contribute to change here in Malaysia. We look forward to the same.
Thank you Mr.President.
Yours faithfully,
Secretary general (pro tem)
c.c His Excellency Mr. James R. Keith
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy Of The United States Of America
376, Jalan Tun Razak, By Fax : 03-21422207
50400 Kuala Lumpur E-mail: