KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 7 — Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar today brought 200 supporters to demonstrate against Pakatan Rakyat outside the PKR headquarters near here, venting is anger against the coalition for allegedly “betraying” the Indian community.
The demonstration signals the final parting of ways between Hindraf and Pakatan — an alliance that had significantly benefitted the opposition coalition when it swept through four states and won 82 seats in the March 8, 2008 general election.
“They made promises and we urged the Indians to vote for Pakatan. Two years later Pakatan is a big zero,” said Uthayakumar, who now leads the yet-to-be-registered Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP).
His former Hindraf colleagues S. Ganabatirau, now with the DAP, and Vasantha Kumar, who were both arrested together with him under the Internal Security Act in December 2007, watched the demonstration and criticised Uthayakumar for helping the ruling Barisan Nasional federal government by splitting the Indian vote and weakening Pakatan.
“We have done more for Indians than Barisan has ever done. Why does he not demonstrate outside the MIC or Umno building? Why come here and tarnish Pakatan name?” asked Vasantha Kumar, who has joined the PKR.
“This is gutter politics...he is taking the poor Indians for a long ride,” he added.
The demonstrators held banners and placards that condemned Pakatan.
PKR= Umno, one placard read. Others condemned Pakatan for failing to give land to Tamil schools and temples.
However Uthayakumar brushed aside the accusation that he is “pro-Umno” in his political choices saying there was no difference between both Pakatan and Barisan.
“Both are racists and Malay-centred and both sees Indians as people to be used and discarded,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
“Two years they have been in power in Penang, Selangor and Kedah and before that in Perak. These are states with lots of Indians but the leaders have not lifted a finger for the Indians,” he said.
In a statement titled “You’re yet to be paid debts to the Malaysian Indians” Uthayakumar said the Pakatan is steadily losing what it gained in Election 2008.
He claimed credit for sparking the Indian revolt on Nov 25, 2007 that he said brought Pakatan all its gains.
“They can with one signature solve 90 per cent of Indian woes by providing land for temples and Tamil Schools but they refuse. Why should we support them?” he asked.
Uthayakumar vowed to go it alone and contest in 15 parliament and 30 state seats in the next general election, focusing on seats that have between 20 to 30 per cent Indian voters.
“We are beefing up these constituencies with new Indian voters and are confident of winning,” he said.
These are seats now held by PKR and DAP Indian leaders such as Penang deputy chief minister Dr P. Ramasamy and DAP assistant secretary general M. Kulasegaran, among other leaders.
He said with these seats HRP will be the real kingmaker between Pakatan and Barisan and will use the clout to demand for benefits for the Indian community.
He also refuted allegations that his strategy will split the Indian voters and benefit Barisan.
“We will stand and it is for the Indian voters to decide. If they want a strong and honest voice they must choose us,” he said.
M. Suresh Kumar, the PKR Indian leader who has been tasked by Anwar to handle the “HRP matter” said Uthayakumar was out of his mind.
“You can’t win any seat on just Indian votes. You have to learn how to cooperate with other races and work in a give and take manner,” he said.
He dismissed Uthayakumar’s “go alone” strategy as foolish, unworkable and dangerous.