(Malaysiakini) In the next general election, the Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) is aiming to become the third political platform to uplift the socio-economic status of the Indian community in the country.
The party is planning to go for 15 out of the total of 222 parliamentary seats in the nation and 38 out of the total of 576 state seats in the country.
Party pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar (left) said. "I dreamt of the magical number '1538' while I was in detention under ISA in the Kamunting Detention Camp in Taiping and we hope to realise this dream in the coming general election. This will give us the political power to voice out the concerns of the Indian community both in the state assemblies and in Parliament."
The Indian community had first put their faith in the Umno-BN government but he was disappointed to note that it had denied the Indian community their basic rights to a better socio-economic environment for the past 53 years.
"Then the community opted for the Pakatan Rakyat as a second platform during the last general election, hoping for a change in the political climate of the country.
"They (Pakatan) sailed through the elections by taking four states by politicising our 'Makkal Sakthi' theme and benefiting from our labour and even imprisonment," said the former ISA detainee.
According to him, Pakatan did not measure up to the Indian community's expectations in solving their economic woes and improving their standard of living.
Pakatan Indian politicians who were elected in constituencies with a large Indian presence failed to highlight the plight of the community both in the state assemblies and in Parliament he charged.
Uthayakumar claimed they were not action-oriented but only gave media statements and lip service and did not bother to go the ground to solve the woes of the marginalised community.
"These elected representatives only played second fiddle to their masters and did not want to offend the Chinese and Malay voters by aggressively campaigning for the rights of their community," he alleged.
So, HRP has decided to go on the warpath against Pakatan and BN by forming the third platform and this move may put the spanner in the works of Pakatan's ambition to take over Putrajaya in the next general election.
'BN and Pakatan have forgotten the Indians'
He accused both BN and Pakatan of harping on Malay and Chinese issues and problems but conveniently forgetting the Indian community.
When asked about allegations that he was attacking Pakatan publicly with the aim of getting his party registered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS), an angry Uthyakumar said, "Our enemy is Umno-BN who had taken away our rights as citizens of this country."
As the ROS has not approved the application to register HRP, the party will field its candidates as independents under the banner heading of Uthayakumar.
When asked if HRP would work with Pakatan in the coming general election, he said it was possible but with the condition that Pakatan must surrender some of its state and parliamentary seats for HRP.
"We are not going to give a blank cheque to Pakatan but expect seats in return," said Uthayakumar.
At the moment, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) wants DAP to cede the Jelapang state seat to it or else their candidate will stand as an independent.
Uthayakumar said HRP will also take the same stand if its demand for some of the state and parliamentary seats from Pakatan is unsuccessful.
When told that HRP is seen by some as a racist party, Uthayakumar said the it was formed to help the marginalised Indian community uplift their socio-economic status in the country.
But he quickly added that the spin-off from helping the Indian community would help make all Malaysians equal partners in the economic cake.
Targetting Buntong and Ipoh Barat seats
HRP has started their preparation for the next general election by targeting the Buntong state seat, which has the highest proportion of Indian voters in the country at 46 percent, and next the parliamentary seat of Ipoh Barat which has 22 percent Indian voters.
The party leader hopes to increase the number of Indian voters in Buntong from 46 percent to 54 percent to make possible a win for HRP.
Then it will go into constituencies with a large Indian presence and increase the Indian voter populations to ensure that they win their seats.
HRP is now highlighting several social problems in the Indian community, including conversion cases involving Indian women, Malaysian born Indians being denied birth certificates and identity cards and the increase in Indian youths turning to crime.
The party also wants Tamil schools, Hindu temples and Hindu cemeteries to be given permanent state land titles and gazetted accordingly.
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.