Wednesday, April 14, 2010




In the last 30 days Hindraf has been called a racist organisation by none other than Anwar Ibrahim and his erstwhile buddy Raja Petra Kamarudin. This is a very serious and misleading allegation and warrants some clarification to put things in their correct perspective.

It is true that the focus of Hindraf’s struggle is the Indian poor and marginalized. This segment of our population has been badly mauled and flung aside as a result of the workings of the racist system that continued from where the British left off, slow at the beginning and accelerating in the 80s to what it is today. 53 years of racism is the burden of history that the Indian poor carry.

There has been no effective representation for their welfare in this entire period. We had representatives in their names, but who never truly represented their interests and rights. Hindraf has now stepped into that shoe to provide representation for the Indian poor and marginalised. We ask for remedial actions for the past neglect, we ask for equal opportunities for their development, we ask for equal rights as citizens of this country, our motherland.

We do not champion Indian issues out of a blind pride for “the bangsa” as RPK shallowly puts it. We champion these issues, because for far too long, no one has bothered to champion them. The time has come for the educated elite among these poor to stand up and speak up for them. Hindraf is now a seamless group of the Indian educated and the poor. Does that make the Hindraf or its leaders or its supporters Indian racists? We do not bar anyone of any race from partaking in our struggle, as long as they understand the basis for our focus.

On another major consideration which blows the myth that Hindraf is racist, is Hindraf’s unequivocal commitment to article 8 of the constitution which provides for equality for all citizens.

Article of the Federal Constitution reads:


8. (1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

(2) Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.

We are totally committed to this Clause in the Federal Constitution on equality. As we understand, a racist is one who subscribes to the belief that a particular race is superior to all other races. So when we make this claim, how can anyone call Hindraf racists. What is their basis. I challenge RPK or Anwar Ibrahim to quote one incident, just one, where we have said or implied that the Indians are superior to any other ethnic group in the country. I, for my part can recount numerous instances in the past where Anwar has been guilty of blatant racism in the heydays of the racist state in the 80s and the 90s.

RPK equates Hindraf with Perkasa, an organisation that is committed to violating just this Article 8 on equality, with their loud theme of “Ketuanan Melayu”. Their position is the complete reverse of ours. They are by any definition racists and yet, RPK, in all his supreme wisdom, equates Hindraf with Perkasa. I can only see mischief in this.

How about RPK and Anwar, can both of them come out clear in the open and say they are committed to Article 8 and openly declare that they would dismantle any race based policies that benefit any particular race in Malaysia? If they both can say this openly and begin operationalising it in their policies then we will dismantle Hindraf, the raison d’etre for Hindraf as it is, will be no more. I challenge them both to come out in the open and declare their commitment to Article 8.

If they cannot or will not do this, then the facts will speak for themselves. What that will imply is that they cannot and will not unequivocally commit to equality of all the ethnic groups in the country. By definition they then are the ones who are racists, not Hindraf.

And RPK in particular is already a racist not by commission but by omission. What specific issue has he championed of the marginalised Indians per se. The Indian poor are the dreg of our society. He sees them, yet he does not. Four days ago two Indians were shot dead in cold blood by the police – does he know or does he care, where is his outrage? Where man? They are Malaysians shot dead, but where is the outrage for the murder of fellow Malaysians. All we have is a dead silence, only because these deaths are of two lowly Indians, not worth his attention. Yet he is the loudest blogger in the country. The kind of racism that he embodies is the most pernicious form where it has internalized so deeply into the psyche of a people that they do not even know they are committing it. It is quite OK in this most pernicious form of racism, to let things like that just go by. He is a racist of this kind as are so many others like him.

And this is not a lament. Hindraf has gone beyond that point, to a position that invites labels of racism from the likes of these more pernicious racists, who cannot do anything about these serious social problems yet will cast stones on those like Hindraf that dare.

Then there are thousands of religious organisations and race-based organisations in Malaysia, each taking care of their ethnic and religious group interests. Why doesn’t RPK and Anwar complain about them? How about PAS which is a religion based party which champions the concept of an Islamic Malaysian state against the wishes of the majority of the community? What is unique about Hindraf in comparison with all these organisations that Hindraf should be singled out for the label of racism?

The truth is just this. They know full well, Hindraf is not a racist organisation. But Hindraf stands in their way of getting the votes of the Indian poor. Because of that and that alone, they brand Hindraf as a racist organisation, partly out of their frustration, exasperation, whatever, and partly in an attempt to denigrate and isolate Hindraf in the public domain.

Their mischief extends further. RPK and his supremo Anwar claim they do not know which or who is the true Hindraf. In that case we will just all wait until they figure that out. In any case, Anwar has on two occasions, the latest at the Hulu Selangor launch of PR’s by-election campaign, endorsed the Special Branch plant as the true Hindraf leader. So, it looks like he has figured that out already. He should just work on him to get himself the votes he needs and the rest of us in Hindraf, we will find our own way. And by the way, we do not see our own way as a dead end, we see new possibilities ahead. We are not in a hurry. We are set for the long haul.

In summary, Hindraf is not racist. It only stands up for the people who are victims of racism. People like RPK and Anwar Ibrahim who go about labeling others as racists now have a job to do show they are not racists. They should now state their unequivocal stand on Article 8 and commit themselves to the equality of all the ethnic groups in the country.

I challenge them to do that and come clean, otherwise the conclusion is a foregone one..