Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hindraf supporters commemorate rally at KLCC

By G Vinod

KUALA LUMPUR: About 30 supporters of the Hindraf Makkal Sakthi movement gathered at the main entrance of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) this morning to commemorate the third anniversary of the historic Hindraf mass demonstration on Nov 25, 2007.

The crowd consisting of men, women and children arrived at 9.30am, claiming to have fasted since 9pm yesterday. They kicked off the peaceful "demonstration" with a prayer, and sat on a ramp in front of the world acclaimed Petronas Twin Towers to start their hunger strike.

"We are here to remind the Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razak) of our 18-points demand," said Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national information coordinator S Jayathas, the leader of the pack, at a press conference at the sidelines of the protest.

Among the demand in their 18-points calls on the government to end 50 years of abuse of the federal constitution and set up affirmative action to assist all poor Malaysians, especially Indians.

Stressing on his demands, the Hindraf leader claimed the Umno-led government had set up discriminative policies which had led to the marginalisation of the Indian community in many sectors including education and jobs at government agencies.

"During independence there were about 28 percent of Indians studying at universities. Now we have less then one percent studying at varsities.

"As for the government service, we used to have Indians in top positions like director-generals. Now we can't even see an Indian post master," claimed Jayathas.

He also said Indian youth were now turning to the world of crime because they had been denied educational and job opportunities.

"Instead of tackling the rootcause of the problem, the authorities just take the easy way out by arresting the youths involved in crime under Emergency Ordinance. If the government can spend millions to rehabilitate mat rempits, why not the Indian youths?" Jayathas questioned.

When asked why they started fasting since 9pm yesterday , he said it was to commemorate their 18 points demand.

"We are fasting till 3pm today, which means 18 hours of fasting as per our 18 points," he added.

He said the organisation welcomes any dialogue with the premier and that it was important for both parties to iron out the matter for the benefit of the Indian community.

"We are also the nation's children. If left unattended, there might be another tsunami," he said, referring to the massive Hindraf rally in 2007 that saw thousands marching from KLCC to the British Embassy to handover a memorandum.

So far, the group has not been asked by the police to disperse although the men in blue are closely monitoring the situation.