Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Umno at odds with race-tolerant world, says HRP

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Party (HRP) today congratulated Malaysia-born Penny Wong for her appointment as Australia’s new finance minister and used the occasion to denounce the current Malaysian government as racist and out of tune with the times.
HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar said Wong’s appointment yesterday to the Australian cabinet was part of a global tide against racial and religious prejudice.

“Sadly, though, this will never happen in our 1Malaysia,” he said.

“The whole world is now going against racist and religious supremacy, except our Umno-ruled 1Malaysia.”

Uthayakumar, a former ISA detainee, is also the legal advisor for Hindraf Makkal Sakti.

He also criticised Pakatan Rakyat parties for similarly going against the global trend.

He said Malaysia was not only bucking current trends but also going against its own admirable history of appointing officials without reference to their racial or religious backgrounds.

He recalled that the first minister of education of the yet-to-be-independent Malaya in 1955 was Clough Thuraisangam and that in post-independence Malaya the first two finance ministers were Tan Cheng Lock and Tun Tan Siew Sin, the first navy chief was Rear Admiral K Thanabalasingam, the first chief justice was CS Gill and the first governor of Malacca was Leong Yew Koh.

“And the list goes on if one were to refresh one’s memory on the number non-Malay or non-Muslim CPOs, OCPDs, district officers and council mayors,” he said.

“This cannot happen again in Umno’s 1Malaysia.”

To illustrate his assertion that the rest of the world was moving away from racial and religious prejudice, he mentioned, among other personalities, former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, former US secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, former Tamil Nadu governor Fatima Beevi, former Indian presidents Zakir Hussin and APJ Abdul Kalam and several Singapore presidents and foreign ministers.

“But most intriguing is that the current president of the world’s most powerful nation, the United States, is a black with a Muslim name,” he added.

He alleged that in contemporary Malaysia “even sixth-generation Malaysia-born Indians could only dream” of becoming national school headmasters, postmasters, district officers or “even assistant district officers”.

Turning his ire on Pakatan Rakyat, he said “Pakatan Indian exco mandores in Selangor, Penang, Kedah and previously Perak” all held only the minor portfolios such as welfare, labour and community activities.

“Why don’t Pakatan governments give them more significant local government, finance or land portfolios even when they qualify?”

He blasted Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for not elevating the highly qualified political scientist P Ramasamy to the post of Deputy Chief Minister 1 instead of maintaining him as Deputy Chief Minister 2.

He charged that Lim did not promote Ramasamy when Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin resigned in April last year because “he was merely a politically powerless ethnic minority Indian”.