Saturday, February 6, 2010

Waythamoorthy: We're not racist - Malaysiakini

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waythamoorthy has denied that he is spearheading a racist movement.

"We just can't understand this racist label pinned on us through no fault of our own," he told Malaysiakini.

"People who say that we are racists should first examine the meaning and definition of the term," added the Hindraf leader who is on self-imposed exile in London.

p waythamoorthyWaythamoorthy was responding to an avalanche of public comments against him.

This followed mostly calls in Sabah and Sarawak that PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim should re-assess his position in the party. Waythamoorthy was quoted in the article as well.

He reiterated his charge that Umno has over the past half-century finally degenerated into a racist organisation.

But he disagreed with the assertion that Hindraf and Umno are similar or that it is a case of "the pot calling the kettle black".

"A racist is one who denies other people their place in the sun and their legitimate rights under the Federal Constitution. That's Umno. That's the truth whether some people like it or not.

"A person fighting for his place in the sun and his rights under the Federal Constitution – read Hindraf – cannot by any stretch of the imagination be labeled racist. That would be defamation," he stressed.

The Hindraf view is that Umno has in fact emerged as the single greatest threat to the security of Malaysia "because of the irresponsible and infantile manner in which they conduct their politics".

He cited the lingering 'Allah' controversy as an example.

Only Indian issues

The Hindraf chair also readily admitted that he only talks about Malaysians of Indian-origin all the time and their issues.

However, Waythamoorthy sees nothing wrong with this approach "since we are in line with the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities adopted as Resolution 47/135 by the UN General Assembly on Dec 18, 1992".

He claimed that if he and his brother Uthayakumar do not speak up on Indian issues as human rights lawyers, "no one else in Malaysia will".

Uthayakumar, the elder brother of Waythamoorthy, is the pro-tem president of the Human Rights Party (HRP).

While dismissing MIC as a party led by a "bunch of self-serving sycophants", Waythamoorthy also claimed that Pakatan's Indian reps have been barred from raising issues concerning the community "for fear that they will show up Pakatan as being ineffective and antagonize the non-Indians".

"I am an Indian. I know only Indian issues and no one is taking up their cause," he reiterated on what "is good enough for him."

"I know that other Malaysians are also being systematically marginalised as well by the system. It's not my business to speak up for them," he said.

'Examine your conscience'

The Hindraf chair again stressed that he has done his part for other Malaysians by arranging a briefing on the Malaysia Agreement at the House of Commons in London on March 9.

The delegation of other Malaysians to the briefing is expected to be led by Jeffrey Kitingan who, among others, heads the Borneo Forum, an NGO.

Elsewhere, Waythamoorthy has also made contacts with the British Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat to bring the plight of Sabah and Sarawak to world attention.

He also hopes to help East Malaysian states at the European Parliament, the US State Department and the United Nations just as he has done for Hindraf.

"We have been reaching out to other Malaysians in our own way although we are very busy pushing our own case worldwide.

"If I am a racist, surely I won't lift even a finger to help others fight for their place in the sun," he said.

Poll-winning Pakatan-Hindraf combo - Hindraf

The best way for the Pakatan Rakyat to win back its lost Indian electoral ground is to team up with the Human Rights Party (HRP) with its socio-political arm Hindu Rights Action Front or Hindraf, suggested a Penang based academic.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)deputy dean from USM's school of social sciences Sivamurugan Pandian said such a combination looked the best bet for Pakatan to reach out to Indian voters across the country, despite Hindraf's self-destructive tendencies.

Given that virtually all Indian-based parties and organisations were linked to Barisan Nasional, he said it was politically crucial for Pakatan to include an Indian face to its fold.

He said Pakatan now had a Muslim face in PAS, Chinese face in DAP and a Malay-led multi racial face in PKR.

"Teaming up with HRP - Hindraf would secure Pakatan the majority Indian votes required to reach Putrajaya in the 13th general election.

"Otherwise Pakatan would not be able to muster the Indian votes," the academician predicted, although Hindraf has been at Pakatan's and the Barisan Nasional's throats whenever an opportunity presented itself.

Sleeping with devil for mutual benefit

sivamurugan pandian saiful bukhari sodomy allegations penang 020708 02Still, Sivamurugan (right) raised the question of whether HRP - Hindraf was willing to team up with Pakatan.

"Currently HRP - Hindraf attacks both the BN and the Pakatan.

"However, both should be able to work out a deal for mutual benefit if they want to," he said.

He told Malaysiakini said it would not be difficult for PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim to forge ties with that group since both had pulled together so well in last general elections.

That move could also fill a gap in the Pakatan -- the lack of leaders charismatic enough to appeal to the Indian masses, pointing out that the present lot have failed miserably to fire the imagination of the community.

He said none of them have emerged thus far, despite being elected representatives for the past 20 months, to stand out as a grassroots leader.

"Indians are dismayed that they didn't get a strong political representation in Pakatan,' said Sivamurugan.

On contrary, he said HRP - Hindraf leaders, especially P Uthayakumar and his London-based brother Waytha Moorthy, have consistently fought for working class Indians over various issues, without elaborating.

Sivamurugan said despite attempts by certain former Hindraf activists to destabilise the movement the HRP - Hindraf leaders have fought consistently for the Indian community.

Police to record Nasir's statement - Malaysiakini

Malacca police will call Nasir Safar, a former aide of the prime minister, to facilitate in the investigation over his remarks which were deemed to be racist.

The state police chief Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof said police would call Nasir to record his statement soon, probably next Monday or Tuesday.

"So far, the investigation is 85 per cent completed and only waiting for his statement to fully complete the probe," he told reporters in Malacca yesterday.

He said the case was being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 and the police had taken statements from 30 witnesses, including state assemblymen and members of the media.

Mohd Rodwan said 45 reports were lodged at police stations nationwide concerning the remarks made by Nasir, 61, who is also the deputy chief of Tanjung Piai Umno.

Nasir in a statement on Thursday, made a public apology to all Malaysians, saying that he had taken cognisance of the various reactions that had arisen following the speech he made during a 1Malaysia seminar held at in Malacca last Tuesday.

- Bernama