Saturday, May 15, 2010

Is Hindraf racist?

By DP Vijandran - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT It is sad that Hindraf is now being castigated as racists by some quarters. It is easy to underestimate now the new thrust verve that was given to Malaysian Indians in this country by the Hindraf movement.
The two brothers P Uthaya Kumar and Waytha Moorthy and the other leaders of the movement courageously and steadfastly espoused the plight of Malaysian Indians. They made huge personal sacrifices and the Indian community gratefully accepted them.

Once hailed as heroes they are now being labeled as racists. It is a fascinating turn of events. Is this charge of being racist well-founded or is it just political labeling to discredit the movement ?

What is a racist? The dictionary definition is:
  1. a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
  2. racial prejudice or discrimination
Neither of these definitions can apply to Hindraf. They have never claimed that the Indians are a superior race. Further they are committed to removing racial prejudice and/or discrimination against the Indians. They have never said that any race should be discriminated against.

So why this label.

Is it because they steadfastly have concentrated on improving the lot of the Indians? That could be so if they argued that only the Indians in this country should be helped. That is far from the truth. Though they have argued the Indian case they have also said that all races which face poverty and deprivation should be helped. They are seeking a fair balance.

However they concentrate on the Indians for two reasons.

State of citizenship
Firstly they know the Indian problem well, being themselves Indians who have struggled to come up in life bereft of public help or aid. Secondly it is a fact acknowledged by all parties in the political spectrum that the Indians do need public help the most.

Hindraf has brought to the Indians a collective consciousness that they have not been given a fair deal.
But this is not racist. Is it racist for Muyiddin to say that he is Malay first and Malaysian second? Is this not the reality of our society. We are Malaysians in a macro sense.

But at the micro level we operate separately. We are separated into different educational streams. We pray and worship differently. We wear different clothes and eat different food. We speak our own mother tongue at home. The majority of us mingle within our own races.

The term Malaysian refers at present to a state of citizenship. In does not as yet signify a oneness. As we move forward whether towards “1Malaysia or “Malaysian Malaysia” , we will hopefully identify more and more common traits, needs, values and wants that will blend us into an unique whole. But until the advent of that Utopia we have to accept and live with the current reality of different races at different stages of development with differing severity of problems to be redressed.

This then is the reason  the Indians generally have embraced Hindraf so warmly. Non-Indians are not rushing to take up the Indian cause apart from some well-placed articles decrying the plight of the Indians. Hindraf rose to fill the niche.

Perhaps the word racist is used to criticize some averments in some documents that were published in the early days of Hindraf. The problem is that these documents used the English language. It must be accepted that in our country, words are used in English with varying degrees of understanding and intent. It is an affliction that affects many writers of English in this country.

Words and phrases are used and misused by the framers of public speeches and documents and understood or misunderstood by others.

But should we be seizing on an inappropriately used word or phrase in Hindraf statements or documents and harp on it or should we look at the broad spectrum of the ideas and essential thrust of these documents.

Analysed properly and allowing for the use of  grandiloquent or over-zealous words, the Hindraf documents by and large attempt to highlight the dire plight of the Indians.

Until a time comes when other races give due and fair priority to the problems of the Indians, Hindraf will be a much honoured and needed force amongst the Indians. Hindraf in turn, in order to meet the expectations it has raised has to concentrate on pressing for solutions to the problems of Malaysian Indians. This is the core area of their enterprise and so far they have done a sterling job.

A splintered movement

There is an attempt to now downplay the influence of Hindraf on the basis that it is now a splintered movement with divergent groups.

They point to a recent by-election where three factions which were formerly together in Hindraf took three different positions. One backed the Barisan Nasional and one backed Pakatan Rakyat. The third asked that the Indians boycott the elections. Sad indeed.

But let us not confuse the essential concept of Hindraf with its physical components.

The term “Hindraf” does not merely refer to a motley collection of organizations that now appear to be split. The larger and more important reference is to the spirit and concept that has now the brand name of “Hindraf”. It is an idea whose time has come. It will not go away because it is labeled “racist”.

It is difficult to keep several Indian organizations together. This has been the traditional bane of Malaysian Indians. Given the crop of leaders now in the field it may not be immediately possible to forge such unity. However this does not mean that the Indians are disunited pushovers. Hindraf has brought to the Indians a collective consciousness that they have not been given a fair deal. That consciousness is a silent force and a powerful one. That force is now being courted by all and sundry.

The future of the Indians will now rest on how well they marshal and focus that force in the advancement of their just rights as loyal citizens of this country. It would be a tragedy if in this attempt they are decried as racist by those who have an imperfect understanding of their cause and struggle.

DP Vijandran is a lawyer and a former MIC secretary-general.

They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth! – My response to Kenny Gan’s Article in MToday recently- Hindraf: Arrogance from Delusions. By Iraiputtiran

The Statements in red are clipped out from Kenny Gan’s article  – so the truth can be laid out for all to see and to see what a contortionist this Kenny Gan is.

1. Micro-analysis of the results shows that the actual swing of Indians to BN was marginal and could be explained by the rampant vote buying. 

The difference of 3.4 % vote swing in the rural Indian settling from 53.2 % to 56.5% to BN in Hulu Selangor in 2008 and 2010 respectively may be marginal, but why has PR lost 57% of the Indian votes two years after coming into power? Rampant vote buying by BN? Hello, which planet are you from? Since when has BN not bought votes? 

By comparison, the Indians there who allegedly voted BN for some cheap saris and money were nobler than many PR lawmakers who breached the trust of the voters by prostituting themselves for millions from BN, one Hee even causing the whole PR state government in Perak to collapse!
Continue losing other by-elections and blame it on BN’s vote buying, PR’s failed politics will be justified! Hey, ask yourself, what have you done to win the Indian votes, two years into power in the state! Stop being a cry baby and blaming others! 

In politics, the party that makes the best impression wins! Your PR coalition is pathetically poor in making impressions! In 2008, Indians in the country, en bloc voted for PR, resisting the goodies from BN, ONLY and ONLY because of HINDRAF! So, what are you ranting and raving here about HRP/ Hindraf? 

2. In the first place, how much influence does Hindraf and its political offshoot HRP still have among Indians? There is evidence that its influence has waned tremendously as they are unable to muster any meaningful crowd size for any event these days…

Check those many videos on the HRP website featuring HRP’s various campaigns. I have never attended any of those campaigns personally, but whose staunch supporter am I, you think? We all see what we want to see, don’t we? 

3. The reason for their declining support is clear. The original movement has split into a few factions which have gone separate ways such that the original spirit has been diluted. 

There was only one Hindraf leader, Waythamoorthy. There is only one Hindraf. The rest are the temporary creations of the enemies to confuse the people and clear attempts to defeat Hindraf. Only those who do not want to see this will keep on parroting like you. You are harping on a tale gone stale!

Tell me, Kenny Gan, talking for a coalition like PR, that has lost nine law makers including 4 MPs and with rumors of more to defect, that PR’s nemesis UMNO had nothing to do with all of these defections and it was all PR’s making. As you are making the case out to be with Hindraf. Don’t use one argument for Paul and then self -righteously another for Peter.

4. Both Hindraf and HRP have also lost touch with the grassroot Indians. While poor Indians are concerned with bread and butter issues the Ponnusamy brothers are still championing emotive We do not know what contacts you have with the grassroots Indians, for you to say that HRP/Hindraf has lost touch with them. What is your source of information other than the MSM or your mandore friends.

Who are the grassroot Indians that you talk about? Not the ones coming to the HRP offices with all sorts of issues, anything from IC-less, BC-less, ailments, police atrocities, acute poverty, legal issues, temple issues, Tamil school issues, house/village demolishment issues, police brutality, etc….on a daily basis? How many such Indians have come to you at your PR offices and told you that HRP has lost touch with them. 

Bread and butter issues? What Indian bread and butter issues are PR leaders dealing with that you accuse Hindraf/HRP of having forgotten. Is housing and land not bread and butter issues.
Then you say Tamil schools, temples and cemeteries are emotive issues? Education is emotive issue? That is what your Chief Mandores Ramasamy keeps saying, Tamil schools are emotive issue? Very self serving arguments, because he cannot do a diddle about these real issues. And he and you know that. Call them emotive issues and take them off your back.

So, by your logic, the Agama schools and the Chinese schools are also emotive issues? Why then PKR, DAP and PAS state government allocated 1,000ha (about 2,500 acres) of land to nine Chinese schools in Perak? 

Hear me, Gan! Hear me loud! You are the only ‘educated man’ in this whole wide world that sees education and schools as emotive issues. Have you ever read the UN Convention? The convention on The Rights of the Child protects children’s rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services. The convention also rules that the States parties to the Convention are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child. Education is critical to our development as individuals and as societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future. And you, Kenny Gan, call that an emotive issue played by HRP/Hindraf! I am lost for words to express my disbelief! 

5.  HRP should test its strength by fielding its strongest candidate in a by-election with sizable number of Indian voters. 

HRP/Hindraf will, come the 13th GE! And a third force will emerge to put both PR and BN on track. And in return, can I ask the PR supreme leader whom you are serving so obediently and duly through your write-ups, or your DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang or Lim Guan Eng or even Hadi Awang to stand in Buntong or any other constituencies targeted in HRP/Hindraf’s 15/38 project? 

6. Asking land for Tamil schools is both arrogance and lacking common sense!

Aiyoyoo, thamby, whose common sense, hah? Yours and that of your half-baked PR policy makerskah? To me and many other Indians that makes a lot of sense! Asking land for Tamil school is arrogance and lack common sense! Nevertheless, giving 2,500 acres of land to Chinese schools is applaudable, commendable? Is this the best you can debate, are you the best writer the PR coalition can find to propagate their policies? If so, then, PR has serious problems! 

7. HRP is still clinging on to the foolish delusion that it can be a third force to play kingmaker between BN and PR. This is irrational as there is no way it can win any seat in Malaysia based on the Indian vote alone.

Go on deluding yourself. If the Lib-Dems can do it in the UK with less than 10% of the seats, it just shows open minded people what is possible. Of course, for dummies like you, nothing other than what you think, will be possible.

8. As for HRP, the so-called ‘Human Rights Party’ it is best to rename itself “Hindu Rights Party” so as not to mislead Malaysians.

So, what should DAP call itself. DAP should call itself the Chinese Action Party. I am just extending your logic, so as not to mislead Malaysians.

9. Where is its voice in the human rights violation of Teoh Beng Hock, Norizan Salleh and Aminulrasyid? 

Sigh! Go to HRP website and read all the related articleslah! Human Rights Party signed the Memorandum of Protest to the IGP condemning the police shooting of Norizan! And also please do read many other articles that give HRP/Hindraf’s condolences to the deceased families while questioning PR’s selective reaction of only showing uproar when Chinese and Malays are the victims. Uthayakumar represented  Mohd Anuar bin Sharip another unheralded death in custody case and won it in the courts. Another was of Ho Kwai See, a coconut seller. Go get your facts straight before opening your mouth friend.

Your PR leaders are no match in fighting for Human rights like Uthaya, the human rights lawyer of 18 years of standing. He fights for the downtrodden Indians even upon many arrests by the police in the last 18 years! Anyway, where is PR’s voice in the hundreds of the Indian youths’ deaths in police custody and shootouts? 

Why was there deafening silence in PR on the deaths of two Indian youth in Taiping, the five suspects in Klang, P.Gunasekaran who died on the same day as Teoh Beng Hock, Kampung Medan ethnic cleansing any hundreds more? Why wasn’t there a single motion tabled in parliament to debate the shoot-to-kill policy that has taken the lives of hundreds of Indian youths as for Aminulrasyid? 


You are the biggest hypocrite, Kenny Gan! Being silent on BN’s racism is also racism, passive racism! Mind you!

Before I pen off, Kenny Gan – the Indians have really little reason to support PR, as Anwar in his recent visit to London,  said PKR could not be expected to solve Indian socio-economic problems because other communities too have socio-economic problems, what reasoning PR has. I cannot solve your problem because others have it too. Instead of saying, thank you for raising the problem, let us work on solving it. Keep on giving silly excuses like this and HRP/Hindraf shall meet PR leaders in the Parliament after the 13th GE! 

They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth! – Plato
Thank you!

MIC mandores wayang kulit of “padam” (picture)

Will be given a low cost house as the present house is infested with white ants (SH 11/5/10 at page S8).


Indians ‘ethnically cleansed” from even sports. Malay only sportspersons today by PM’s wife.

url indians (See The Star 10/5/10 at page N 24)
Gone are the Punch Gunalans, Santokh Singh, Dr. Jegathesan, Yamuna Nairs, M. Karathu, etc, from the sports arena in Malaysia. Today it is an almost all Malay affair.
Government sports complexes are mostly built in Malay dominated areas and are excluded to the Indians. In the poor Indian neighbourhoods, sports and recreational activities are not built or are excluded to them.
Even the football fields where the Indian youths used to play football have mostly been wiped out for development.


Hindraf stands for principles and HRP is issue based Rejects mandorism

url hindraf Immediately before and after the 8th March 2008 general elections, PKR won in four states. Hindraf leaders did not contest neither did they take up any Director of state government linked companies, Councillor or village head positions. Even after HRP was formed in July 2009, we did not want to lobby or take up any of the P.R states as our independence meant the most to us. HRP is issue based and are not prepared to compromise especially on the BN and PR Federal and state governments excluding the Indian poor from the national mainstream development of Malaysia. We mean business with both BN and PR.
We are far from the likes of the Indian PAS supporters club scrambling for even Village head positions (The Star 12/5/2010 at page N40) or the likes of the PKR, DAP and PAS Indian DCM 2, Exco, MP and ADUN mandores who for personal interests are prepared to compromise the fair just equitable and best interest of the Indians.
Ours is a thousand mile journey and we are in no hurry.
We will only take up real positions with real empowerment.
We are not prepared to assume the mandore roles be it for tuans or towkays in UMNO, PKR, DAP or PAS.
For this reason even PR is apprehensive of us.
Hindraf stands for principles. HRP is issue based. We are activists first and politicians last.
P. Uthayakumar

Hulu Selangor: 43 years wait for 19 Indian families land applications denied by UMNO and PKR.

url Only a mere 0.4 hectres ( about just over one acre ) each was applied to be made into a farm house and a farm by these poor and uneducated Indians in Kerling, Hulu Selangor.
Felda, Felcra, Risda, Fama, Mardi, Agropoliton is 99 % given to malay muslim in the 442,000 ten acre land ownership programmes (BH 25/2/2010 at page 4). But this had been excluded to 99 % of the poor, landless and working class Indians.
But even a Temporary Occupation License (TOL) was denied by even the now Hindraf people power supported and voted PKR led Selangor state government.
A piece of 0.8 hectre land that was divided for 19 individuals suddenly is now given away to one single individual by the PKR led Selangor state government
All what they want is a part of the land that their ancestors had worked on
( SH 14/4/2010 at page S 25 ).

Hulu_Selangor_1 Hulu_Selangor_2

The Constitutional Case for Vernacular Schools

This country, as specified in the constitution, was meant to be multiracial, multilingual and multicultural, and NOT unilingual! This makes us unique among nations of the world. No other nation is like us. National unity comes in recognising that.

Therefore we should have more chinese and tamil schools. And vernacular universities too. Greater national unity comes with that. And kadazan, Iban, japanese, korean, thai, german, french and other schools too to cater for the many small minorities.

It is the Umno attempt to ‘cap and roll back’ vernacular schools, and railroad towards unilingualism, that creates disunity!

People should grasp the idea that at independence ‘we agreed’ to multilingualism, to retain our ethnicities and cultures as it is, and NOT assimilate but integrate as a diverse nation. And that is enshrined in stone!

Education is a parents concern and prerogative, not the state. Choice must always remain with us. I will decide what stream is best for my children and their future! It is for the state to simply provide what we the people choose. The idea is to get more freedoms and not surrender existing choices and freedom.

When you look at the bigger picture, there are many advantages in having different school systems. I had always thought our children are lucky to live in Malaysia with so many different school systems to choose from. We as parents can pick out what is best in each school system for their education.

Most parents prefer vernacular school not because of “roots” or that these schools uses their vernacular language as the medium of instructions. It’s because these schools are generally of higher standard, better equipped and there are less discrimination based on race and religion. Who in their right minds would send their children to a school knowing that the school is of lower standard with teachers frequently discriminating their sons/daughters?

Tamil school students and parents alike have told that tamil teachers are more committed and dedicated compared to national school. To them it is a cause. The market has spoken.

If vernacular education were abolished, the entire vernacular press and media industry, the vernacular music industry, festivals, etc, – all would collapse, in a single generation.

There are some religious cultures for whom diversity is doctrinally anathema, they insist on uniformity, to wean away the people from their own cultures and beliefs. First the language goes, then the culture, then the religion. That would be the final objective in the insistence on linguistic uniformity.

The so called national school had become muslim religious school. What with J-QAF, religious class in the afternoon, islamic lessons in the morning and implemention or force feeding of islamic value down the throat of non muslims and non malays. Any simple survey of a national school on the number of teachers will show that 1/3 of the staff are J-QAF and Islamic studies teachers.

School budgets will most probably be spend on religious reasons compared to secular education. Majlis Tahlil. Majlis Bacaan Yassin, Majlis khatam Al quran, Islamic competition, Islamic motivational course/talks, just to name a few. A mother once said that sending children to national schools is like sending him to be converted to Islam.

We have seen national school text books and it’s disheartening to see the hidden racism in it. We have gone through so many of the books across so many years, and we see the consistency of such subconscious ideas being planted into our children.

The issue of vernacular primary schools has little to do with national integration. The medium of instruction doesn’t matter. The biggest issue of vernacular primary schools is simply that the quality clearly points to the failure of Umno-led BN government, the legitimacy of the very philosophies and policies particularly its hegemonistic malay agenda.

The issue of vernacular schools is not about national integration, it is about hegemonistic malay agenda. The fact it is an issue points to heart of our national problem. Having multi stream education is not a divisive thing, it is an enabler of people in different fields. People should have the option to choose. As long as the syllabus is common and promotes patriotism.

If the vernacular primary schools are allowed to expand, clearly the percentage of malays in these Chinese primary schools would expand striking at the heart of the malay agenda. It would increase integration but not the malay agenda.

The idea of teaching Mandarin and Tamil to attract non-malays to national schools is a non-starter, so long as Islamization of national schools is not stopped in its tracks, non-malays would always avoid it, simply because learning is just harder in a marginalized uncomfortable environment. Vernacular schools are allowed to continue as it is simply because removing it would be perceived and rightly so, as eroding the citizen rights of non-malays, i.e. the very right of education – the only upward mobility tool the non-malays have. Non-malays second class citizenship will become third class with things like further Islamization of this country.

We have not seen unity in unilingual Indonesia but on the contrary there is killing of chinese, ethnic wars between christians and muslims, pogroms against Timorese and Papuans, war in Acheh, etc. Where is the unity when they all speak the same language?

Take a look at the Dutch education system. The schools there have streams for Dutch, German, French and English language, but did it caused the break up of Holland as a nation or disunity of the Dutch people ?

We can never trust any government on POL for all students. Sure they will oblige for one generation to lull us. But after that? We tried that experiment in the 60s and failed.

No parent would want their children in schools where there is peer pressure and condescension from the majority students and teachers alike.

For all of us to effectively communicate with each other, no more than 1,500 words each in Malay and English is required. That is just 3 years of language education in school, or, can be acquired in a 3 month course.

Unity requires a uniting common cause, like a common enemy, but in a diverse country like Malaysia with it’s unique history, that cause can only be freedoms and human rights. What else can be a common cause that unites us?

The first modern schools in Malaya was a Tamil School and the Penang Free School, both established in 1816 in Penang. Malay schools came 50 years later. At independence there were 1,800 chinese schools, 880 tamil schools and only about 130 english and missionary schools. At any given time in the last two centuries only about 5% of school going children attended english or missionary schools, which is erroneously touted as the epitome of racial mingling and unity.

There were no problems in education nor disunity for two centuries until Umno introduced the New Educational Policy in 1971. Therein lies your answer. Ethnic cleansing of vernacular schools had then begun in a staggered way. Today instead of having more vernacular schools to cater for a growing student population, chinese and tamil school have dwindled to 800 and 535 respectively. What shameful affairs and to think people are actually suggesting a continuation of ethnic cleansing policies! And that too by some children of victims.

People still do not seem to understand what our forefathers agreed to, that secularism and multiculturalism in its entirety and forever shall be the basis of Malaysia. To you your way, and to me mine! Much like religion. *That* has been our tradition for 200 years, retaining at all times the prerogative of the parents over their childrens’ education, and as to what exactly are the values that we wish to perpetuate.

Our forefathers are people who witnessed the horrors of the Indian partition, Sri Lanka language pogroms of 1956, the killings of 3,000 chinese in Kalimantan/Sarawak between 1948-1951, the expulsion of one million Indians from Myanmar in 1948, and much more. They knew what was coming. In the Reid Commission there were mention of the fears of ethnic cleansing of cultures and languages down the road in Malaya. Today we are witnessing that with the repeated calls for abolishing of vernacular education. Closure of vernacular schools and its concomitant industries is ethnic cleansing of whole institutions that were painstakingly built up over 200 years.

The fact that so many university graduates nowdays failed to find job must be telling! Our educational system has failed, and yet we are asked to close the successful vernacular system and join in with the the national schools and wallow in their mediocrity.

With such low standards of national education and mediocrity, it would be wiser to discuss the closure of national/malay schools entirely! After all, instead of being parochial in these times of glocalisation, we want *unity* with the rising nations of India and China and its 2.7 billion people, under whose shadow we are geostrategically destined to live for all eternity, is it not?

Malaysian means to open an accept each others unique quality, culture, languages and beliefs. Not to tolerate. Not to assimilate. But to accept and blend in seamlessly.